White optimism wins again.
If you've been keeping up with America's politics, you know the Republican Party nationally have been on a tear to make Black folks pay for voting their White messiah out of office. White Republican men and their female handmaids are working overtime to repeal voting rights for Blacks at the state level nationally in states where Trump lost and in even in some Republican strongholds like Florida. Racist White people have lost their shit about the possibility of losing power and about the fact there is another Blackitty Black Black person up in their good ole boy White House. Racists are working overtime to make sure we don't erase White rule.
Yesterday, the State of Georgia passed laws making it illegal to pass out water and food in places they historically make it harder to vote. Georgia State legislators have added new requirements to vote absentee, reduced the reasons we can vote absentee, required copies of photo IDs when returning ballots and all sorts of idiotic obstacles making it difficult for poor folks to vote. For folks unfamiliar with the challenges poor people face in the South, especially in rural places, let me share some quick facts with you.
- Many places in Georgia and across the South don't have public transportation or cars, let alone computers, printers, or money for ink. Absentee ballots are the only way for many of these folks to vote.
- Lots of older Black people born in rural places throughout the South during times when there weren't colored hospitals in their areas don't have official state records affirming their births. These people have historically had issues in when identification is required. There are lots of older people who use bibles as records of births. Some older people really aren't able to get IDs.
- They shuffle our polling places like a deck of playing cards when they are interested in discouraging us Black folks from voting. If you don't have transportation, how do you move around to find polling places at the last minute?
- Many Black people in Georgia are hourly employees, meaning every hour these folks don't work as they attempt to vote, they don't earn income. Nobody has 4,6, or 10 hours to stand in line to exercise their right to vote just because they are Black. If Republicans start messing with polling places in Black communities, decreasing absentee voting opportunities, and/or limiting the number of voting machines they'll have access to, fewer Black hourly workers will go vote. Fewer Black voters means closer margins in state elections.
This is why I consistently say America doesn't have a democracy. I'm not sure why we keep peddling the lie. It's not coming true.
The Federal Government Should Be Doing Something
Well, the federal government should be doing something to protect the rights of Black people, but as usual, they are playing White politics with Black lives. No one has any urgency to do anything about the Voting Rights Act because it was originally meant to protect Black voters.
Right now Congress is debating over the filibuster, a political strategy that allows senators to speaks (or threatens to speak) for hours to delay a vote for a bill. But like White folks in America do, they'll find a way to exploit an opportunity meant for good and turn it into something evil. While the filibuster has been used mostly to oppose civil rights legislation and protections for Black and Brown folks, it has been used for some good efforts too.