Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Does Voting Belong to Ceasar?

  photo 71296-004-0B8CB497_zps9ceff46a.jpg

New York Times, 

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.
The court divided along ideological lines, and the two sides drew sharply different lessons from the history of the civil rights movement and the nation’s progress in rooting out racial discrimination in voting. At the core of the disagreement was whether racial minorities continued to face barriers to voting in states with a history of discrimination.
“Our country has changed,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”
The decision will have immediate practical consequences. Texas announced shortly after the decision that a voter identification law that had been blocked would go into effect immediately, and that redistricting maps there would no longer need federal approval. Changes in voting procedures in the places that had been covered by the law, including ones concerning restrictions on early voting, will now be subject only to after-the-fact litigation. 

 So the question is, is this just more political hot air, or is this a time to take a stand? To answer that question I ask "what is the relationship between this questoin and the Gospel?" Is doing away with the voting rights act a matter of not living up to the truth of the Gospel? What Jesus say about politics? His statement "render unto Cesar the things that are Cesar's, and unto God that which is God's" (Mark 12:17, Mat 22:15-22) should be a clue. Funny thing about that, he didn't seem to be ready to start a tax revolt. He seemed to think they the Romans do some stuff for us, (ever see the Life of Brion?) so springing for some Taxes to pay for it shouldn't be that big a deal. Yet, what belongs to God? Human life belongs to God, so things that destroy life, or that make it impossible to preach the Gospel or keep it from being heard, one would think do not belong to Cesar. But surely the voting rights act has nothing to do with that stuff, it's just a little voting. We might think voting belongs to Caesar because it's politics, and Cesar is king of politics, politics is of the world. Is that the answer right wing fundamentalists use when they field armies for the Republicans? Caesar is not a democratic figure. He's a symbol of power, becuase the real Cesar was a dictator. Cesar is a symbol of the power elite, the temporal realm. We have to decide weather or not democracy is more than just a silly little game of politically minded pundits, or is it a sacred right and duty to allow people the dignity that goes with being made in God's image?

Paul tells us there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female in Christ Jesus." (Gal 3:28). We might infer from this that class divisions and race divisions are wrong. Discrimination is wrong. We might infer that "love your neighbor as yourself" means don't take away her civil rights? We have forgotten the horrible price that was paid, the struggle, how long it took, it bitter and divisive it was for whites who watched it on tv, and for blacks and the few whites who dared who lived it and died for it in real life. The dogs the fire hoses all things of the past no one thinks about that the young of tv of today never new. I actually watched live as cops in Alabama sicked dogs on defenseless women and sprayed them with fire hoses to keep them from sharing the same rights that white men enjoy.

Of course the court denies that we will have to do this again. The court's logic is based upon a sham argument about how we have changed:

 “Our country has changed,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”(see NYT Link above)
 The redistricting plan that Texas is putting into effect means that the Replicans will never be out of office in Texas. It will change the balance of power in congress. Texas is notorious for Gerrymandering (we call it "Perrymandering."--that's really how Rick Perry got in office). They re-draw the distinctions every time the Democrats do better in an election.

As for the argument that the country has changed, I have a black friend who was denied a hair cut in barbershop in Farmer's Branch Texas in 1992. That is the same community that tried to start it's own immigration service to kick out Spanish speakers and tried to make English the official language. How long before decisions regarding those things get reversed? This is a right wing coup d'etat. The same kind of mentality I talked about before, perhaps a bit more rational. But the same refusal to admit the people want the other guys. We don't care what the people, we are the country not the people. We the rulers, the elite, "the good Chrsitains," the right wing, we are the real people, the poor don't count.

It's going to take a long time to build up to the point where we can have another civil rights movement. We had a election stolen from us in 2000. They did everything they could to stop blacks form voting in Floria so they could steal the election and put Bush in. 

Independent investigations in that state revealed serious irregularities directed mostly against ethnic minorities and low-income residents who usually voted heavily Democratic. Some 36,000 newly registered voters were turned away because their names had never been added to the voter rolls by Florida’s secretary of state Kathleen Harris. By virtue of the office she held, Harris presided over the state’s election process while herself being an active member of the Bush Jr. state-wide campaign committee. Other voters were turned away because they were declared--almost always incorrectly--“convicted felons.” In several Democratic precincts, state officials closed the polls early, leaving lines of would-be voters stranded.
Under orders from Governor Jeb Bush (Bush Jr.’s brother), state troopers near polling sites delayed people for hours while searching their cars. Some precincts required two photo IDs which many citizens do not have. The requirement under Florida law was only one photo ID. Passed just before the election, this law itself posed a special difficulty for low-income or elderly voters who did not have drivers licenses or other photo IDs. Uncounted ballot boxes went missing or were found in unexplained places or were never collected from certain African-American precincts. During the recount, GOP agitators shipped in from Washington D.C. by the Republican national leadership stormed the Dale County Canvassing Board, punched and kicked one of the officials, shouted and banged on their office doors, and generally created a climate of intimidation that caused the board to abandon its recount and accept the dubious pro-Bush tally.[1]

In the next election, 2004, there were irregularities that help up blacks form voting in states like Ohio and  Missouri. But as injustice mounts it will take time to prove it, time to prove the extent of it, time for the next court to conclude "ma bye things aren't that different after all." In the mean time a lot of "eschatology" is going hit the fan.

As Phil Ochs said "let it never be again." Now it will be.

 [1] For these various irregularities, see New York Times, 30 November 2000 and 15 July 2001; Boston Globe, 30 November 2000 and 10 March 2001. A relevant documentary is Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election, L.A. Independent Media Center Film, 2004. (the author's fn form his site).


Kristen said...

As Christians we have a dual citizenship - in the Kingdom of God and in our own particular countries. We are not meant to withdraw from our earthly citizenship, but to work to see justice done there. I'm sure you agree-- as did MLK, Jr., who died a martyr for justice on earth. But he did it for the sake of the kingdom of God as well-- because part of being in the kingdom of God means doing whatever is in our power for "least of these."

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Well said Kristen.

dave b said...

If there is going to be something like the Voting Rights Act it should apply equally to ALL states. Nitpicking certain states is unconstitutional.

And you should be required to show a photo id to vote. Nobody is so poor they can't get one. After all, you need one when you go to the welfare office. Do you think the social security administration doesn't ask for a photo id? Then all the welfare brats have them already, so why the fuss? Oh, because illegal aliens can't get them? Well, actually, they seems to all have driver's licenses!!!! A photo id will not stop anyone from voting once, but it will stop people from voting TWICE or THREE times in the same election. And there's the rub. Democrat homosexual abortionist scumwad atheist animals can't win without voting multiple times, as they say "early and often." Their motto for voting is the same as their motto for sexual depravity. And anyone who says anything against what I just wrote, damn them to hell. Amen.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

MB: "If there is going to be something like the Voting Rights Act it should apply equally to ALL states. Nitpicking certain states is unconstitutional."

Voting rights act does apply to all states. The focus is on states where we know there are problems and vote has been restricted.

your thing about photo ides. how deeply you hate the children of poor hu? Poor need to be killed hu? their children are vermin that need to die hu?

Photo id is thin end of wedge. btw I doubt that you know all the practices of every stat vis vi getting welfare.

those evil poor people if it wasn't for them you would be a billion air right? they take billions of Dollars right out of your pocket.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

"Democrat homosexual abortionist scumwad atheist animals can't win without voting multiple times, as they say "early and often." Their motto for voting is the same as their motto for sexual depravity. And anyone who says anything against what I just wrote, damn them to hell. Amen. on Does Voting Belon"

He who loves knows God, for God is love. 1 John. you only care about the bible verses help you hu?

dave b said...

1. Anyone who thinks that the voting right act applies equally to all states is completely brain-dead. It simply says that the Federal Government gets veto power over any voting laws passed by certain states. Ergo, New York can pass any voting laws they want without interference from the Feds. No equal.

2. Children of the poor? Since when are children allowed to vote? Rich or poor, you have to be 18 to vote, which is another good reason for having voter id laws!!!!!

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Voting rights act applies to all states: section five is specially designed for southern states that were discriminating heavily at the time (1965) but the provisions of the full act are for all states. The section five provides for judicial review so they could employ those in any state.


"The Voting Rights Act of 1965 protects every American against racial discrimination in voting. This law also protects the voting rights of many people who have limited English skills. It stands for the principle that everyone's vote is equal, and that neither race nor language should shut any of us out of the political process. You can find the Voting Rights Act in the United States Code at 42 U.S.C. 1973 to 1973aa-6. "

"No. The Voting Rights Act is a permanent federal law. Moreover, the equal right to vote regardless of race or color is protected by the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which has been part of our law since the end of the Civil War. And in case after case, our courts have held that the right to vote is fundamental. Voting rights will not expire.

However, some sections of the Voting Rights Act needed to be renewed to remain in effect. When Congress amended and strengthened the Voting Rights Act in 1982, it extended the preclearance requirement of Section 5, the authority to use federal observers, and some of the statute's language minority requirements. In 2006, Congress passed the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights and Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006 which renews nearly all of the temporary provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The rest of the Voting Rights Act also will continue to prohibit discrimination in voting. "

"What is Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act?

Section 5 is a special provision of the statute (42 U.S.C. 1973c) that requires state and local governments in certain parts of the country to get federal approval (known as"preclearance") before implementing any changes they want to make in their voting procedures: anything from moving a polling place to changing district lines in the county.

Under Section 5, a covered state, county or local government entity must demonstrate to federal authorities that the voting change in question (1) does not have a racially discriminatory purpose; and (2) will not make minority voters worse off than they were prior to the change (i.e. the change will not be "retrogressive").

Section 5 applies to all or parts of the following states:


you got your sheet out of moth balls didn't you?

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

what's Michigan doing there? that's not in the south. they can't persecute yankees too can they?