Race Relations Regress under Obama

Television networks broadcasting President Obama’s brief speech last week about events in Ferguson, Missouri employed a split screen to juxtapose the president to rioters in Ferguson. At one level, that juxtaposition unfairly highlighted the president’s impotence.

But at another level, it captured one of the many disappointments of Obama’s presidency. Much of the euphoria that greeted the election of the first black president – Obama’s approval ratings were well above 70% at the outset of his presidency – lay in the hope that the United States could finally place the legacy of slavery and racism behind it. Yet race relations have taken a turn for the worst since he came into office.

Slate writer Jacob Weisberg wrote in February 2008 that only if Barack Obama were elected president would children in America be able to “grow up thinking of prejudice as a nonfactor in their lives.” Well, America elected Obama, with the largest percentage of white votes of any Democratic candidate in forty years. But black children are more likely today to think of prejudice as a factor in their lives than they were six years ago.

The unknown state legislator who first came to national prominence with a stirring speech at the 2004 Democratic convention proclaiming “there is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America – there’s the United States of America,” presides over a far more bitterly divided country than in 2008.

FOR THE REGRESSION in race relations the president, and even more so his minions in the media, must bear much of the blame. The habit of defenders of the president’s policies of dismissing opposition to those polices as racially motivated has poisoned political dialogue. Thus various Tea Party groups, for instance, are inevitably charged with “thinly veiled racism” and described as older white folks resentful of what they perceive as the takeover of their country.

Tea Party activists do fear the loss of the constitutional principle of limited government and of their individual liberty. But had a president of pallor advanced the same unabashed big government, progressive agenda as President Obama, they would have opposed him or her just as strongly.

The media’s ultra-sensitive racism detectors find it everywhere. Thus Mitt Romney’s reference to his “five boys (i.e., sons) was deconstructed as a circuitous way to refer to his opponent as “boy.” And CNN’s Chris Matthews declared the word “apartment” racist because most blacks live in apartments.

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION too has done much to fan the flames of racial division. Katherine Sebelius, the cabinet member responsible for the disastrous Obamacare rollout, once compared, at an NAACP convention, the defense of Obamacare to the fight against lynching and segregation.

In part, such comments are part of a shrewd political strategy. High rates of black turnout were the key to the president’s successful re-election strategy in 2012, and fanning black anger the best way to maintain that turnout in the 2014 midterms.

Within the administration, outgoing Attorney-General Eric Holder has been by far the worst offender. He came into office accusing white Americans of “cowardice” for avoiding a serious discussion of race. Shortly thereafter, he dropped the prosecution of a particularly egregious and well-documented case of voter intimidation by Black Panthers at a Philadelphia polling place. He has consistently portrayed all voter identification statutes as a barely disguised return to the days of poll taxes and white only primaries in the South rather than as legitimate efforts to curb voter fraud. Unexplained is why it is racist to require the same identification to vote that one would need to purchase a beer. The Department of Justice (DOJ), under Holder, has treated all differentials between blacks and whites – e.g., in rates of school suspension – as clear-cut cases of racial discrimination.

Holder has not been shy about offering his own racial slant on events. He dispatched fifty DOJ attorneys and investigators to Ferguson in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown, and announced, before the completion of any investigation, “I think it’s pretty clear that the need for wholesale change in that [Ferguson] department is appropriate.”

President Obama has been far more reticent than Holder to talk about race. But he too has developed a habit of too hastily offering a racial narrative to any high-profile confrontation involving a black and non-black. He was quick to describe the Cambridge police of “acting stupidly” in arresting black Harvard law professor Henry Louis Gates after it was already clear that he was in his own home. That would have been true had Gates been arrested for breaking and entry into his own home. But Gates was arrested for haranguing the white Cambridge policemen who responded to a neighbor’s report of two men trying to forcibly break in and had the effrontery to ask Gates for identification. About that the president knew nothing.

He again interjected himself into an ongoing investigation when he commented that Trayvon Martin, a black youth shot by a volunteer on a neighborhood patrol, reminded him of a younger version of himself. He then went on to talk of how every African-American man has felt himself to be the subject of suspicion and fear, even as he acknowledged those suspicions are not entirely unfounded.

The violence and dysfunction of poor black neighborhoods, he offered, can be traced to America’s “very difficult history [of slavery].” The sad truth, however, is that those rates of violence and dysfunction have increased dramatically since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society legislation and as slavery has receded into the past.

AGAIN LAST WEEK, after the grand jury declined to indict policeman Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown, the president could not help giving credence to the narrative of a system stacked against young black men. After a perfunctory acknowledgment that the grand jury’s decision should be respected and violence eschewed, the president called “anger” at the decision “an understandable reaction.” He went on to address police at the scene, in anticipation of the rioting that followed, as if their malfeasance was a given: “I call on law enforcement officials in Ferguson and the region to show care and restraint, . . . to work with the community and not against the community.” He then spoke of the “deep distrust . . . between law enforcement and communities of color” and admonished that communities of color “aren’t just making these things up. . . The law too often feels like it’s being applied in a discriminatory fashion.”

By linking the grand jury’s findings to discriminatory law enforcement and labeling an angry response “understandable,” the president implicitly undermined the grand jury’s findings. The rioting that followed, destroying mostly black-owned businesses, became, in his telling, something expected, almost justifiable.

Of course, the anger is only understandable if one accepts the media narrative nurtured since August of Michael Brown, as an unarmed, “gentle giant,” executed for no reason by a white officer. And indeed the grand jury’s refusal to indict was widely denounced by the liberal media.

But the curious thing about those denunciations is how studiously they avoided dealing with the evidence and testimony before the grand jury, which were made fully available. One notable exception was Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post, who admitted that it would have been almost impossible to obtain a conviction of Darren Wilson on any grounds based on the known facts, including six black eyewitnesses who buttressed Wilson’s account. Her Post colleague Dana Milbank, however, criticized prosecutor Bob McCulloch, for not having cherry-picked the witnesses and evidence to be presented to the grand jury to secure an indictment on some lesser count. He did not explain why a prosecutor who knows he cannot win at trial should nevertheless wish to indict.

From the beginning, the media treated Ferguson as a simple morality tale of an innocent black teenager versus a racist, white cop, in which the only information needed was Brown’s dead body lying in the street. It reacted with furor to any facts that might undermine that narrative. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, for instance, labeled a video of the “gentle” Brown robbing a convenience store ten minutes before his death and tossing a much smaller store clerk aside like a ragdoll, an irrelevant “smear.” The information that Brown was high on marijuana at the time of his death was deemed similarly irrelevant.

Harder (but apparently still possible) to dismiss was the autopsy, which made short-shrift of the claim that Brown had been shot in the back or in a posture of surrender with his hands up. Further forensic evidence confirmed Wilson’s testimony that Brown had initiated the confrontation, when he responded to Wilson’s instruction to walk on the sidewalk and not in the middle of the street, by attacking Wilson in his squad car.

The question is: Why does the black community and liberal media consistently choose “poetic truth that America is still a reflexively racist society,” to quote the eminent black intellectual Shelby Steele, over truth itself? For one thing, tales of good and evil are more satisfying than contemplating the carnage of black on black crime in America’s ghettos. As Steele points out, a black is nine times more likely to be murdered by another black person than by a white person. And who are you going to blame for that?

It’s more comfortable to believe that racist law enforcement explains the fact that blacks constitute nearly forty percent of violent crime arrests than to confront repeated studies showing that black arrest rates for different crimes are virtually identical to rates of the rates at which victims identify the perpetrator as black. In other words, black arrest rates are high because black criminality is high.

Mr. Steele writes of the “stubborn nostalgia for America’s racist past.” The chance “to ennoble oneself through a courageous moral stand is what so many blacks and white liberals miss today – now that white racism is such a defeated idea.”

But in the process of placing themselves back into a time of a glorious moral struggle, the nostalgics have transformed the 1960s black understanding of race as an artificial and exploitive division between individuals sharing a common humanity – the very thing that makes anti-miscegenation laws so repugnant – into “a group identity based on historical victimization.”

The white liberal need for reassurance of their own moral virtue and the black need for absolution from any personal responsibility come at a high price. And the ones paying the highest price are black children raised to believe that the deck is stacked against them from the start, and for no reason other than that whites hate them and want to see them back on the plantation.

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17 Responses

  1. Bob Miller says:

    I object to the phrase “black need for absolution from any personal responsibility”—This pertains to an underclass and its cynical political/academic/media patrons of any race, but not to black Americans in general.

  2. DF says:

    It’s not just the media – there are regular commenters on this website, and at least one columnist, who have also bought into the narrative that criticism of Obama = racism. For some people, it is forever Selma, Alabama. As Thomas Kuhn wrote in his landmark book on scientific revolutions, it is next to impossible for some to see beyond their preconceived paradigms. You can put up all the evidence in the world for them to see – doesn’t matter. The white man will forever be racist, and the black man will always be the victim of racism. Never mind statistics showing that even blacks raised in affluent homes are statistically more likely to score lower on blind, standardized tests, than whites. Doesn’t matter. It’s all racism, all the time.

    Not everyone was naïve enough to think that electing a black president would make things better. To the contrary, a great many commentators on the right accurately predicted it would make things worse, for all the reasons that have come to pass as Rosenblum described. And if one goes back further into time, one can see the same predictions were made after Title VII was passed in 1964. That law [and I practice in it as an attorney, every day] has been an unmitigated disaster for this country. The market forces, and black buying power, would have done everything the law did for them, without the need for intrusive white-against-black legal backdrop it created. There’s not a single employer in this country not faced with charges of racism or sexism every time they fire or discipline a black or a woman, simply because the law actually encourages one to file such complaints. (And its free to file, but not free to defend.) All of those costs, as well as the scores of billions of dollars in bureaucratic costs it created, have all been passed down to the public. And who on Earth ever thought affirmative action – racism the other direction, after all – would do anything but exacerbate the divisions? Only people who themselves never lost a contract or job because of it, that’s who.

    In sum, the problem has gotten worse under Obama, but replacing him will not make it any better. The cancer has already spread too far.

  3. Toby Bulman Katz says:

    Liberals are the biggest racists because they believe that it is normal and expected for blacks to loot and riot whenever they are disappointed or upset. They really do believe that. The media are the worst because not only do they expect rioting, they actively egg blacks on and try to get them to riot.

    The media circus in Ferguson was reprehensible, just disgusting. There were hundreds of cameras and microphones and self-righteous, self-important reporters and reporterettes practically giddy with excitement at the knowledge that they were about to start a riot and then show it on TV all over the country. Go, black people, go! Riot, loot, burn! Show us how angry you are! Yeah, yeah, more, more, good, that’s great, more scowls, more raised fists, break some shop windows, let’s have some cursing and shouting now, yeah, way to go! That’s it, that’s it, show us how angry you are at evil racist America, OK, got it, great stuff, that’s a wrap!

    Tune in at 11 for the latest, greatest race riots!

    OK now over to our network affiliate in Staten Island!

  4. Isaac Moses says:

    Thank you for not including any Jewish content in this post, so that people will be less likely to make the mistake of thinking that it’s Judaism talking when you suggest:

    – That the right to buy beer is of greater importance than the right to vote.

    – That racism in the US and the structural disadvantages that greet the average black American at birth somehow disappeared in the Lyndon Johnson era.

    – That there’s no such thing in the US as selective enforcement of the law in a way that’s disadvantageous to black Americans.

    – That the “black community,” as a body, is somehow “to blame” for black-on-black violence.

    – That there is a generically “black need” for anything, and in particular, “for absolution from any personal responsibility.”

    Please don’t say that I’m putting words into your mouth. Each of these is either stated or clearly implied.

    I’m not sure what you were intending to accomplish with this post, but if it had anything to do with improving the race relations whose regress you are bemoaning, I fear that it will have the opposite effect.

  5. Reb Yid says:

    It’s not too hard to chronicle the trajectory from slavery to segregation to redlining to subprime loans. When even the POTUS admits that there have been times where he can’t get a taxi to stop for him. Or why this country leads the world in the incarcerations–it’s a joke. Not that folks like Jaime Dimon who commit multibillion dollar crimes are among those in prison. Or why there seems to be one set of rules in our criminal justice system for police officers and quite another for those who are victimized by the police.

  6. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Criticism of Obama does not in and of itself equal racism. However, the vehemence, tone, and level of the criticism of Obama is far greater than anything that was directed at Bill Clinton. I don’t remember anyone suggesting about Clinton that we read Psalm 109 to pray for Obama (Verses 8&9 “May his days be few, may another take his place. May his children be orphans and his wife a widow) as the speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives did. We never heard insults similar to “Barak Hussein Yomama” from Republican politicians directed at Clinton. Within our own community, I have heard Obama referred to in the most vile terms, by people who would never direct such comments at another president, Democratic or Republican. I’m sorry, but what should I conclude about the level of the attacks on Obama? That we are prejudiced against the first Harvard Law School graduate to serve in the White House? (Previous lawyer-presidents were Bill Clinton, who went to Yale Law School, Gerald Ford who went to University of Michigan, Richard Nixon who went to Duke law school, FDR who went to Columbia, I think you get the point).

  7. Rafael Araujo says:

    Actually Mr. Moses, Jewish-black relations have declined precipitously in the last few decades and I can tell you, it ain’t because of commentary like Yonason’s. Exhibit A: Al Sharpton and Crown Heights; Exhibit B spread of Islam or pseudo-Islam among the African American population. While I believe that Jews and blacks still support each other, you have to be concerned when protestors in Ferguson liken themselves to Palestinians under the Israel heel and feel that both are in the same position, or that Israel is actually part of the effort to put down the African American population and is directing events in Ferguson and other hot spot…or maybe you do?

  8. Raymond says:

    What the Black rioters are engaging in, is a classic case of projection. It is they who hate White people, they who are the real racists, but instead of acknowledging this disturbing fact, they instead project their own racism onto White people. I know that in my own life, I have observed far far more racism against Whites by Blacks, then the other way around.

    Another, related factor playing itself out here, is just how difficult it is to accept personal responsibility for how one’s life has turned out. Those Blacks who are living in conditions that are at a lower level than White people, have nobody to blame but themselves. It is their own poor choices in life that have caused their squalor. This, however, is not easy to admit, and so instead, they take the easy way out by blaming the White man for all of their problems. Until Black people look at themselves honestly in their own mirrors, their lower standard of living will continue.

  9. Wolfman says:

    I admire Mr. Rosenblum for his amazing ability to remain silent and not react to a comment containing five falsified statements totally pulled out of thin air attacking his well written and important article. Clearly the writer of the comment did “put words” in Mr. Rosenblum’s mouth.

    -The beer vs. voting issue was comparing identification requirements. The fact is that liberals wish to water down voter identification requirements specifically to encourage voter fraud. How on earth this implies the importance of beer is anyone’s guess.
    -The next two points are more or less the same. Official racism ended. There currently are no laws on the books discriminating between members of races and no party advocates reinstating any. Individual people may have personal feelings toward others. Mr. Rosenblum referenced the Johnson era because Johnson’s “Great Society” was supposed to end inequality. It failed miserably.
    -The black community is absolutely responsible for black on black crime. Currently almost three quarters of black children are born out of wedlock. Educational achievement is scorned. Formerly proud black churches are now political centers. The mobs of Ferguson are a warning shot of what can be expected if the trend continues. Please don’t bury your head in the sand.
    -Listen to any Ferguson apologist. The desire for absolution of responsibility is absolute. The “white man” is to blame for everything. Just like every criticism of the President is inherently “racist”.

    There is hope for the black community. There are brave leaders like Ben Carson, JC Watts, and Herman Cain who articulate an American vision that is the key to success for all races. Unfortunately, because they are not on the liberal plantation, they are mocked as “Uncle Toms” and dismissed and enemies of their race. This only proves that liberals do not want to help blacks. They wish to keep them right where they are for their own selfish political purposes.

    Over and over again, evidence points to the reality that conservatives and libertarians are the true friends of the black community while the liberals are the racists.

  10. Yaakov Menken says:

    Lawrence Reisman, so was the entirely new level of criticism directed at George W. Bush, from “Hail to the Thief” after he won the election in 2000, to the slanderous “Bush lied” when every intelligence agency in the civilized world agreed that Hussein possessed WMDs (which, of course, the Army eventually and quietly found), evidence of bias against Texans? Is praying for Obama’s death somehow worse than advocacy for the murder of his predecessor (“Save Mother Earth, Kill Bush”)?

    Or is it perhaps possible that Obama was elected because of what he represented — as in, he was elected for racist reasons, by blacks and whites overeager to elect a President of a dark skin color — and not his qualifications, and quickly proved himself not up to the job? Are people perhaps justifiably upset that after running against the Bush deficits, Obama presented an economic “stimulus” that wasted $1.5 trillion on a “jobless recovery?” How many previous presidents have quite deliberately lied to us (“you can keep your plan”), and then strong-armed Congress to bypass his plan’s rejection by the American people (and specifically the voters of Massachusetts, who put a Republican in Ted Kennedy’s seat), much less any bipartisan negotiation, to force through a massive overhaul of healthcare that, besides being impossible to implement on time, has proven incredibly expensive, unwieldy, and a strong contributor to unemployment — and, in fact, depended upon the “stupidity of the American voter” to be palatable at all? Might people find it angers them that such a president, when delivered an unmitigated, thunderous repudiation at the polls to an extent we haven’t seen in a half century, would respond by declaring a series of executive actions that even his most ardent supporters admit he has spent years declaring he has no authority to do?

    To claim that the level of animosity against Obama boils down to his race is a classic case of blaming the victim — in this case, the citizens of the United States.

  11. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Yaakov Menkin: “Bush lied” was not slanderous. There were no WMDs, and the intelligence agencies told him so. And was “Save mother earth kill Bush” uttered by a liberal politician of the same stature as the speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives? And did it ever occur to you that people didn’t vote for skin color, but against a party that ran up deficits during an economic recovery, relaxed the regulation of the financial system to such a degree that the bank bailout became a necessity, that dragged us into a useless war in Iraq while allowing Osama Bin Laden to remain alive and free? I could go on rebutting your points, but it would be useless.k You are set in your version of facts and I am set in mine. The only thing I can do is thank you for your strident, hysterical tone. It only proves my point. The opposition to Obama is not purely racial, but the stridency, the scorched-earth tactics, the language used, is unique to Obama. and that can have only one reason.

  12. Reb Yid says:

    Thank goodness that Obama provided some stimulus to dig us out of the horrendous mess created, aided and abetted by Bush’s economic stances (and multibillion invasion of Iraq) and subsequent economic panic and inaction in the face of looming economic disaster.

    The stimulus wasn’t nearly enough, but it did provide a much needed corrective. Under this Democratic President, the stock market is now at an all time high (after being at an over 10 year low at the end of Bush’s term) and the market’s value has in fact, more than doubled since Bush left office.

    Thanks to said disastrous economic policy and inaction by Bush, the unemployment rate skyrocketed from 4.4% midway through his last term to 10% early in Obama’s first term. Obama’s stimulus package has gone a long way to its current rate of 5.8%.

    Contrary to YM’s contention, it’s hardly a “jobless” recovery; in fact, the current year is on pace for the sharpest labor market expansion in nearly 15 years.

    More importantly, there’s the not so small matter of those who don’t see any institutional racism (or sexism) in society. It would be interesting to have them dress up as a woman or a minority for a day and report back to us about their experiences.

  13. New Yorker says:

    Now that Cross-Currents has discovered the WMDs in Iraq, this discussion has officially jumped the shark. Hopefully next week’s entries can return to matters of particular relevance to the Jewish community, or to discussions whose contributors have some particular knowledge or insight. Frum people are obviously just an entitled as any other to pontificate, fulminate and scream about politics, but what has generally distinguished this forum is the absence of vitriol and a brand of thoughtfulness missing elsewhere.
    Let others host the political version of Yankees v. Red Sox debate.

  14. MJ says:

    Does Jonathan Rosenblum interact with any black Americans on a regular basis? Has he read any of the recent reporting on the daily lives of poor blacks? What does someone living in Israel for the past decades really have to say about race relations in America? Answers: no, nope, nothing.

    Not surprisingly, this article is merely a recycling of shopworn conservative talking points, most of them a symptom of the hyperbolic, hyperventilating media environment in America in which everything a politician utters is distorted and refracted through lens of the the least charitable interpretation of what was said. None of it says anything of substance about the actual lives of blacks or whether having a black President has caused race relations to improve or regress. [Nor for that matter is the state of “race relations” (how well we’re all gettin’ along) a reflection of the level of racial bias in the country. I’ve heard more than one old time southerner waxing nostalgic for how good relations between the races were back when Negros knew their place.]

    For something more substantive I suggest reading http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/03/how-st-louis-county-missouri-profits-from-poverty/ which should give one a better sense of what life is like for poor blacks in some parts of the land of the free.

    After reading said article, I was amazed that this systematic abuse of government power– the kind that actually ruins people’s lives– has not come up as a major issue for the Tea Party. These patriots, who, according to Rosenblum simply “fear the loss of the constitutional principle of limited government and of their individual liberty,” aren’t surprisingly not at the forefront combating this government infringement on individual liberty.

    And I would think that such free-market liberty loving conservatives would be the first to condemn laws against selling loose cigarettes, let alone wasting public resources enforcing these laws and giving police free rein to use violent means to enforce them. But I guess that Eric Garner simply didn’t take enough personal responsibility, and only has himself to blame for being suffocated by police.

    One might also have wondered why tea party activists weren’t outraged that Henry Louis Gates was accosted by police while entering his own personal residence! (I suppose getting angry at the police in such a circumstance is ok only if you’ve never been unjustifiably questioned by police before — if you have, you ought to take it stride, smile, spread your hands on the wall and tell them nicely which pocket they can find your wallet in)

    And why aren’t the Tea party champions of the constitution against requiring people to pay the government for IDs to exercise a constitutional right to vote, when it is almost exclusively the poor who don’t have such IDs and there have been no documented cases of widespread voter fraud that these laws would supposedly prevent.

    And I would expect the Tea Party to oppose the way that blacks are disproportionally arrested and incarcerated for petty drug possession violations? After all, What is the meaning of personal responsibility in a society where whites are far more likely to get a light slap on the wrist?

    And of course Eric holder is overacting to rigorous studies using decades of data from the State of Texas that show that black and brown kids have been given far harsher punishments for the same violations of school rules; but still, shouldn’t the Tea Party object to the way that this distorts the ability for white kids to “take responsibility” for their misdeeds when they are being systematically held to such a lower standard?

    Here’s a suggestion: perhaps Rosenblum can turn his gaze to his own fair country and let us in the US know how its universal health care, socialist values, and nanny-state legislation are ruining the lives of the personally responsible, freedom loving Jews there?

  15. Bob Miller says:

    The poor in America need IDs just to get public benefits for the poor! Saying they can’t manage to get voting-worthy IDs, which states or localities often provide for free, is insulting to them and to us.

    The police ineptly arrested Garner. Their clumsy actions (a black police sergeant on the scene poorly supervised the process) and the inactions of nearby EMTs accidentally caused his death. Asthmatics, etc., that ill should refrain from resisting arrest or committing even petty crimes!

  16. Reb Yid says:

    To Bob Miller:

    The current voter ID laws in many states are a modern form of a poll tax. This is especially the case with more states requiring government issued photo ID.

    For the most part, states and localities and the federal government do NOT provide these forms of ID for free. To suggest otherwise, and to blame the poor and minorities, is insulting to them and to the voting process. This is especially insensitive given the many ways African Americans have been historically disenfranchised at the ballot box over the years.

    In almost all cases, it is Republican legislatures that have enacted these laws, which disproportionally affect those who tend to vote Democratic (college students, the poor and minorities). The key here is PHOTO ID.

    In the case of a drivers license, those without this form of ID tend to be disproportionately found in cities. As it is, going to the DMV is a real hassle for those who do drive. It’s certainly not realistic to expect someone to give up a good portion of a day in a DMV (let alone the fees) just to use this form of ID to vote.

    Of course, passports are another valid form of photo ID. Rather expensive and time consuming process, as those of us with families who have recently traveled to Israel can attest.

    Of course, in many of these same states it’s kosher to provide a gun license or permit, but not college ID or Social Security ID. So I guess it’s not just that the right to drink beer is more sacred than the right to vote, but that it’s easier to buy a gun (as long as you have the money) than it is to vote at the polls or drive a car, where you must buy insurance, go through testing, etc.

    Contrary to your assertion, while photo ID may be one way to receive government benefits, there are a variety of other valid options that do not require PHOTO ID.

    The larger picture is that in some countries around the world voting day is a either national holiday where everyone is off from work or where voting occurs on a weekend. In our country, it is on a weekday which places a special burden on those who must juggle jobs, may be single parents, with no child care, etc.

    It is no wonder that we see an overrepresentation of minorities during every election lined up with a long wait at a very late hour, at understaffed polling places. This has been made worse in some of these states controlled by Republican legislatures, which have restricted early voting allowances on other days close to the election, including on the weekend. Oregon has one creative solution, which is that they vote by mail.

    Republicans know all too well that if anywhere close to all eligible voters actually voted, that their political fortunes would be doomed. They have done an excellent job of making sure that the social construction of elections in this country favors certain voters over others.

  17. Bob Miller says:

    Democrats are so enthusiastic about voting that they often do it multiple times in one day, or while dead. They resolutely oppose updating voter rolls or ensuring that the would-be voter is indeed a citizen and resident of the election district who has not already voted elsewhere the same day. They are very content to keep minority voters under their thumb while doing nothing that actually improves minority lives.

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