Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Political Opinion: Martin, Zimmerman, Deen, SCOTUS and POTUS.

Here we are, six months into the New Year, with the reelection of the first African American president and seemingly the rights and civil liberties of African Americans are looking even more bleak.
Explanation forthcoming.

As the trial of George Zimmerman continues in Florida, Americans are waiting with bated breath to see if 16 year old Trayvon Martin will receive justice after being viciously assassinated, almost one year ago, by the self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman. 
Food Network’s television cook, Paula Deen was ousted last week over years of her use of the ‘N word ‘ to her staff employees.
African American youth around the country, especially in New York City, are still being profiled and singled out by police for “being in the wrong neighborhood” under the state’s Stop-and-Frisk policies.
And yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States, with its only African American judge, decided  that Section IV of the Voting Rights bill, would best serve Americans, predominantly in African American states, by excluding it altogether.

With the court’s decision, many believe the ruling has taken the legal right to vote to an all new low.
During the 1960s civil rights activists fought and died to ensure that the basic principle - having the right to vote - would be extended to all people, not just a benefit whites.
African Americans were subjected to tricks at the polls by pollsters that included guessing how many jelly beans were in a jar, and other unscrupulously, racist tactics. 
What will happen, going forward, with voting rights after yesterday’s decision?  Will voters have to guess how many ‘likes’ an individual has on his Facebook page before being able to vote?
These recent acts suggest that the rights of every group in America are being protected but those of African Americans.  It’s tantamount to an era of the past 60 years.
Seemingly, the only groups being protected by government ‘leaders’, are those of gays and Latinos.
Today, the Supreme court sided with gays, announcing that the federal ban on benefits to same-sex couples is unconstitutional.

Gay rights, and gay marriage, have been increasingly accepted in several US states, without objection, and the fight to reform current immigration laws has gained even moremomentum.
Do those two groups, alone, have more rights and more support in America than the rights of African Americans? 
When will the concerns, specific to African Americans, be acknowledged, addressed, and resolved and why are said concerns always seemingly last in the minds of the powers that be?
Americans know that Congress (i.e. Republicans) is not working in the best interest of the so-called American people because of their dislike of the first African American president, and their inability to have such a president suggest to them what is best for the country.  We know that their racist attitudes have done more to hurt the country than to help.
While the president is promoting climate change, clean energy, immigration reform, Syria, China, and manufacturing, African Americans must again wait for Superman to have their concerns advanced.
Even members of the media question the president's commitment to Africa and African Americans, even as he depart to Africa.  
A reporter in last week's White House press briefing asked the following question about the president's planned trip to the continent:
"In talking to folks both here in Washington and in Africa who are sort of policy analysts and others, they say it's not only just that the President hasn't traveled there, but that the U.S. just hasn't been investing enough -- as much as they thought that President Obama would because of his personal connections, and that if anything stands out on the continent, it's the U.S. increasing military engagement with the drone bases and so on, and that's what his legacy has become at least in the first four years.  And I'm curious what your thoughts -- how you would respond to that, concerns from Africans that have said -- and explain maybe why the President did choose to go to Asia, South Asia, Latin America before Africa, despite the fact that in the Ghana speech he said this would be a new moment of promise and really pledged at that time to do the same things you’re talking about now."
In support of the Supreme Court's ruling on DOMA, the president called Edie Windsor.  Who is Edie Windsor?
Edie is the plaintiff in United States v. Windsor in the Defense of Marriage Act.  And the President congratulated her on this victory, which was a long time in the making, said he was heartened by the Court's decision to strike down Section 3 of DOMA so that loving, committed couples could enjoy full equality under the law.  And, he said, that it is fitting that this historic ruling should come today, just 10 years after the Court struck down laws making same-sex relationships illegal in Lawrence v. Texas.
Now, here is the president's comment on the Supreme Court’s voting rights decision: 
"I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today.  For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act – enacted and repeatedly renewed by wide bipartisan majorities in Congress – has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans.  Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent.
As a nation, we’ve made a great deal of progress towards guaranteeing every American the right to vote.  But, as the Supreme Court recognized, voting discrimination still exists.    And while today’s decision is a setback, it doesn’t represent the end of our efforts to end voting discrimination.  I am calling on Congress to pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls.  My Administration will continue to do everything in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process."

Not even a single mention of African Americans anywhere in that statement, even though they are the most likely victims of said Supreme Court decision.
In closing, let me say that neither Congress, nor the current administration, can ill afford to ignore issues relevant to Americans, let alone those of African Americans.
To do so would breathe life into the words of the late Michael Jackson, gone from us just four years ago yesterday, June 25th  that suggests “they don’t really care about us”.
We can ill afford, any longer, to let those words become a perpetual reality.

Quotes from a Republican (you might not expect to make)

"Part of our problem, is that people in Congress look at this as a job. It's not a job....Serving in Congress is not earning a living. Largely what it is today is getting in the way of people trying to earn a living."
"Republicans have a profound opportunity here...Mr. Speaker, pull together a small task force of folks to get started on a bill now. Lay out the argument for the reestablishment of a 21st Century version of the Voting Rights Act, recognizing yes, progress has been made, but more needs to be done....(The Voting Rights Act) is fundamental to who we are as a nation. How do you have a debate on immigration when you're disenfranchising US citizens who are already here?"
MSNBC Political Analyst and Former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele. 

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