October 30, 2004

The Real Minority Report

With the reappearance of disgusting tactics to supress the minority vote, in an election year which promises a high turnout among their communities, I thought I'd go see what the Black Commentator had to say about the elections. There's plenty:

BC on why the Electoral College is a racial issue:

“I am convinced… that the black vote is going to be not only a bigger vote than ever before, it is the swing vote.” Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., speaking on CNN

Rev. Jackson is right about the raw numbers of African Americans who are expected to go to the polls on November 2. However, most of the national Black voting population will “swing” neither their home states nor the presidential election. Fifty-five percent of the Black population resides in the South, and every four years their votes are drowned in a sea of Republican red. For presidential election purposes, except for the besieged Black citizens of Florida, the southern African American franchise is negated by the Electoral College – a true 21st century vestige of slavery. ...

The article goes on to talk about the new amendment on the Colorado ballot, touted as a model initiative to push in other states. I agree with the general points made, but worry that a patchwork of such initiatives might end up giving Republicans an even more solid hold on the Electoral College. On the other hand, there's a fair case to be made to the public of any state that a proportional system would keep the parties from assuming 'safety' in any state, and that it would encourage more voters to think that their vote mattered.

Also, an article on the different moral universes of black and white citizens:

...“Opposed universes” may be a better term to describe the perceptions of Blacks and whites as revealed in a four-year study of racial divisions under President George W. Bush. Harvard Professors Michael C. Dawson and Lawrence Bobo report that 63% of whites believe that efforts to disenfranchise Blacks in Florida in 2000 were either “not a big problem” (20%), “no problem at all” (18.5%), or a “complete fabrication” of the Democrats (24.5%). This, in answer to questions posed in 2004, as evidence mounted that the election nightmare was about to revisit the state.

Speaking from the real world, 76% of African Americans described the events of 2000 as a “big problem,” 15% as “not a big problem,” and 5% as “no problem at all.” Just 3.7% believe the Democrats made the whole thing up...

...As reported in February, 2002, Zogby pollsters elicited damning evidence of white disregard for Iraqi lives in the final weeks before the invasion:

”Zogby pollsters asked: Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if it meant thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties? A solid majority of white men answered in the affirmative, as did more than a third of white women. Only seven percent of African Americans favored a war that would kill thousands.”

Black people watch even more television than whites, but feel no great compulsion to kill thousands of civilians. ...

And finally, the real vote fraud. The denial of franchise to black and Democratic voters and supression of free speech. The opening, emphasis mine:

Political scientist Lawrence Britt identified fourteen characteristics common to fascist regimes around the world. The United States has the dubious distinction of exhibiting all of them. The promotion of nationalism, disdain for human rights, scapegoating of “enemies,” military supremacy, sexist public policy, media control by the powerful, obsessions with national security, use of religion to manipulate public opinion, protection of corporate power, suppression of labor power, disdain for intellectuals, obsession with crime, and rampant cronyism have all come to full fruition in the last four years.

Britt’s fourteenth characteristic, last but certainly not least, is the prevalence of election fraud. Their man is in trouble, so the 2004 vote theft has begun in earnest. The use of faulty voting machinery, the destruction of Democrat’s voter registration forms, and rulings that suppress voter participation have already taken place. Republican officials across the country are doing everything they can to prevent as many Democratic voters as possible from casting their ballots. ...

The funny thing about this, if there is a funny thing, is how the conservative fascination with crime manifests. Crime, to them, isn't the breaking of laws that apply to everyone the same. For all the wailing about cultural relativism, the only crime recognized in the modern conservative movement is to hinder their ascent to power. They don't recognize corporate fraud, looted pension funds, the theft of elections, leaking classified information to foreign governments, blowing the cover of CIA agents, torturing detainees, lying about matters of life and death, or a mass attempt to disenfranchise their fellow citizens as crimes.

To them, crime is the NAACP disagreeing with policies that poorly serve their members. It's gay people getting the same rights as everyone else, union organizing in Iraq, using tax money to bring up the standard of living in working and middle class neighborhoods, or getting to decide when you want to become a parent.

This country needs a new definition of crime that serves the public good more than the will to power, and that definition can only come from an engaged public. The black community sounds like it's ahead of the general population on that score, so there's a lot of education to be done in the next four years no matter who wins on Tuesday. We can elect whoever we want, but lasting change that can't be pushed back on a whim will only come when a commitment to justice becomes more deeply rooted in the electorate.

Posted by natasha at October 30, 2004 06:36 PM | Elections | Technorati links |