As I watched Rachel Maddow explain the history of the Voting Rights Act, put everything into context so beautifully as she always does, as I watched and listened to her narrative, as it unfolded, as I watched her interview with the amazing John Lewis, I dissolved into tears. I couldn’t stop.
I couldn’t fathom that we have a sitting judge on the Supreme Court who comes out with as many biased opinions as he does, who politicizes when he should be dispassionately offering legal arguments, who consistently spouts Fox News [sic] talking points.
“Racial entitlement” Justice Scalia? Really?
I’m sorry, did I just write the words “Justice” and “Scalia” in the same sentence? That’s an oxymoron, my bad.
Rep. John Lewis:
“On bloody Sunday, nearly 50 years ago, Hosea Williams from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Organization, and I, led 600 peaceful nonviolent protesters attempting to march from Selma to Montgomery to dramatize the need for voting rights protection in the state of Alabama throughout the south and our nation.
“As we crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, we were met by state troopers who shot us with tear gas, beat us with nightsticks and trampled us with horses. I was hit on the head and suffered a concussion on the bridge. Seventeen of us went to the hospital on that day, the Good Samaritan Hospital in downtown Selma.
“Just eight days later, President Lyndon Johnson introduced the Voting Rights Act, and later, on August 6th, 1965, he signed that act into law.“
“That was congressman John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia who led the march on the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma that day in 1965. He was speaking about that experience today on the steps of the Supreme Court as the conservative majority on the court seemed to indicate a willingness to at least considering dismantling the pillars the Voting Rights Act first passed in 1965 in the aftermath of that violent day in Selma.”
Rep. John Lewis:
“I grew up in the South. I lived in the South. I tasted the bitter fruits of racism. I saw discrimination with my own eyes. I felt it. We made progress, but we’re not there yet. There are still methods and means, devices that have been used to make it hard, to make it difficult for people to participate in a democratic process.
“And it’s not just African-Americans, but it’s seniors, students, Asian Americans, Latinos, and the movement was saying in effect, open up the system and let all of the people come in. Let everyone participate.
“My fear, if we get rid of Section 5, we will go farther and farther back. We made progress, but I say over and over again, we’re not there yet. So you can argue oh we have an African- American president. we elected some African-American, Latino officials, some Asian American officials. But I tell you, in some of these towns and communities in the South still represent the Old South.“
“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that a member of the United States Supreme Court… it was just nonsense. It was almost the verge of some racist feeling of another period. And it pained me to hear a member of the Supreme Court saying something like this. That to protect the right to vote, to participate in the democratic process, you’re going to suggest that it’s some racial entitlement?
“We all have a right to vote. We all have a right to participate in a democratic process. One person, one vote.
“The congress spoke, we represent the American people, the House and the Senate. We work hard in a bipartisan coalition to extend the voting rights act in 2006.”