June 27, 2013

Mixed feelings

Don't get me wrong; I'm thrilled that the Supreme Court saw fit to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. It was right and proper and foward-thinking, despite the incoherent vitriol of Antonin Scalia's dissent.
My mixed feelings stem from the fear that this judgment completely overshadowed the previous day's decision declaring the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Not only was the VRA deemed unconstitutional (although which part of the Constitution it violated was left conspicuously unsaid), it was deemed obsolete.
Most of us recognize that the reason there is not a widespread disenfranchisement of minority and poor voters in this country as a whole and specifically in the South is due to the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. To say, in effect, "Hey, this law worked so well that there aren't any issues any longer so we can remove it from the books" is lunacy. "Hey! all these window screens kept the flies out of the house so well that we don't need them any more."
Just wait. By the time Election Day 2014 rolls around, at least six States will have prohibitive "voter ID" laws on the books.
Voter ID laws that do NOTHING to prevent election fraud and EVERYTHING to prevent poor people from voting.
So while I'm celebrating a victory in civil rights and marriage equality, I'm mourning what will certainly be a serious setback to democracy and enfranchisement. 

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