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Installment Plan

3 min read

Layaway, on-time, and paying-something-down-on-it have been very familiar phrases in black, brown, and poor neighborhoods for generations; credit was for the people who did not need it. Financial freedom because of race, religion, and status was prohibitive for countless numbers of Americans and immigrants. The constant pressure of having to postpone a raise in your standard of living because you are always being told to wait and pick it up later can be stressful, demeaning, and defeating. Not only did one’s economic condition relegate them to layaway, so too was physical freedom for people of color.  

The above description also applies to voting rights. Men and women who endured the daily humiliation of forced labor, torture, rape, and whose equity was finally recognized with the right to vote, during Reconstruction, only saw it quickly stripped away when blacks dared elect people who would represent their interests. Men who served their country like the late Medgar Evers who was gunned down in 1962, for daring to challenge what some saw as ‘stepping out of his place.’ We have gone through periods in this country when racists and bigots violently and vocally shouted their intentions. In response to 56 years of gains since 1965, conservatives have learned to say the loud parts quietly; instead of a rope, it is denying food and water, instead of a literacy test, it is the postal service, and instead of beatings, it is forcing lawmakers to flee to preserve the right the vote.

The opaque reasons for the latest Jim Crow are breathtaking. Supposedly over 70 % of Americans favor voter ID. So let me understand, the methods you would use to get a government ID are not good enough to use at the voting booth. How do you get a ballot in the mail if your local and state government does not already have your ID? The false belief that ballots are sent out like weekly coupon mailers has no element of truth. Anecdotal incidents are not facts, they are anomalies. The laugh-out-loud idea, by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, that a companion, of your choice, in your car, as you drive through the voter line, is there to coerce you into who to vote for is not even worth the breath it is written on. As an aside, Texas is also seeking to deputize citizens as abortion watchers, ‘hands up and put the fetus down.’ Of course, Texas Gov. Abbott also wants to send out private citizens to monitor voters, I wonder what neighborhoods would be most under scrutiny.

So Texas is actively trying to scare off voters of color, young women seeking dominion over their bodies, and left Democratic lawmakers no alternative but to leave the state, or face arrest, to preserve the right to vote for all people. Republicans like to conveniently blame the disgrace of the Trump presidency for their party’s train derailing. Truthfully, even with all the false cultural descriptions surrounding Critical Race Theory and the so-called  ‘woke’ culture, manipulating racial animus for a long time has been the backbone of Republican politics. In 1998, following former  President Clinton’s lukewarm apology for America’s role in the “slave trade,” former disgraced Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) spoke out. DeLay who was a firebrand for GOP politics said it was not right for a president to “attack” his country in such a way. Former Republican House Member Steve King infamously said non-white subgroups have not contributed to civilization. Responding to stunned writer and columnist Charlie Pierce,  King said, “I would ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about. Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?” asked King. This was not the first example of King’s inane racism but the Republicans of Iowa elected and re-elected King, nine times. Republicans need to face the fact, DeLay, Trump, and King are who  Republicans are.

Continue to Vote for Change.

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