July 15, 2013 9:53:08 AM
Everything Mr. Lloyd Gray said in his (Wednesday) article on voting rights in Mississippi and several mostly-southern states was true. The Voting Rights Act also applied to some Northern locales as well, where blacks had been denied the right to vote. As an aside, I'd like to see those areas compared to each of the southern states by demographics, total population, land area, population density, economics and any other relevant data.
However, my main point is that it was unconstitutional for Congress to enact a law that applied to certain states but not to all states. (Lincoln set a precedence with the Emancipation Proclamation, which was just as unconstitutional.) True, the rest of the country had not oppressed the black vote but so what? There was no guarantee that they wouldn't at some time in the future. If Mississippi needed federal permission to move a polling booth across the street, why wouldn't New York?
The law has served its purpose well and is no longer necessary. In fact, its most recent use, to my knowledge, was against a black Democrat Party Chairman in Noxubee County for violating the rights of white voters and of black voters who supported white candidates or republican candidates. Should it become necessary to reinstate that law in the future, I do hope that Congress makes it applicable to the entire country.
Basically what we need is two constitutional amendments. First we need to modify Amendment XIV, Section 1., where it says "All persons born or naturalized in the United States... are citizens of the United States." The purpose of this was to ensure that all freed slaves were citizens of the United States. We haven't had a living ex-slave in this country for over a hundred years. Scrap at least this part of that Amendment and put an end to "anchor babies." The other would be a true "equal protection" amendment. Congress shall make no law that applies to one section of the United States or its properties that does not apply to the entire country, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens but not to members of government, and Congress shall make no laws that apply to members of government but not to the citizens.
Fat chance on seeing any of that even get proposed, let alone get voted on in Congress. When members of Congress can legally violate laws that would send private citizens to prison, it just ain't right.
1. Possumhaw: Corncobs, critters and Catalpa Creek LOCAL COLUMNS
2. Tim Kalich: Open government is good government NATIONAL COLUMNS
3. Editorial Cartoon for 1-26-15 NATIONAL COLUMNS