Commentary: Word to the Wise, Don’t Mess With Black America

Voting Rights Act of 1965

Commentary: Word to the Wise, Don’t Mess With Black America

The Texas GOP's move to repeal the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is misguided and will backfire.

Published July 3, 2012

By all indications, Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Republicans want to return to “the good old days” when minorities like Blacks and Latinos were politically powerless. If they are successful in their new political plan, they will ensure that the voting strength of people of color is permanently destroyed.

You see, last week Texas Republicans and Perry unveiled their 2012 platform, which calls for the repeal of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965. Perry & Co. object to section five of the Act, which they feel places an unfair burden on some states. The law requires that states with a history of voter discrimination -- like Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina and Texas  -- obtain consent from the federal government before they change their voting regulations.

This throws a big damper on those Southern states that have recently passed voter ID laws without federal permission, which is why Attorney General Eric Holder blocked voter ID laws in Texas and North Carolina.

However, this minor legal detail hasn’t stopped Texas from trying to implement their voter ID policy. In fact, Perry already has promised to fight Holder’s decision all the way to the Supreme Court.

By placing the repeal of the Voting Rights Act on their state platform, Texas Republicans hope to get this issue placed on the GOP’s national platform. If they are successful and Mitt Romney wins the presidential election, then Romney and his GOP cronies will likely start implementing repeal actions. If not, they will try the Supreme Court route.

While I personally believe that there is no way that Perry and his party can have the Voting Rights Act repealed outright, there is a real possibility, given the partisan mood of the Supreme Court, that Section Five or other parts of the Act could be struck down, rendering the law severely weakened and ineffective. As African-Americans whose ancestors fought and died for our right to vote, we can’t allow this to happen. We must use our votes to send Romney, Perry and the Republican Party a loud and clear message come November: Don’t mess with Black America.


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(Photo: J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)

Written by Charlie Braxton


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