Thursday, July 13, 2006

Liberals gave us the weekend

House Republicans almost killed renewal of the Voting Rights Act.

One of the 33 holdouts was Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.). "Some politicians in Washington wouldn't dare vote against this bill because they'd be lambasted by the media and liberal interest groups," McHenry said. "I will not go along with bad public policy in the name of political correctness .... This bill is a 1960s solution for a 21st century world."

Oh yeah -- and the Bill of Rights was a solution for an 18th century world. In the 21st century, we have torture, no due process, government-sanctioned threats against members of the press, a minimum-wage standard that guarantees poverty, record deficits being passed on to our children, and the sale of our security to a totalitarian communist nation.

Let's see ... liberals gave us eight-hour work days and the weekend. Liberals gave us workplace safety. Liberals gave women the right to vote. Liberals gave us Social Security at a time when as soon as you couldn't work anymore, you faced poverty until death. Liberals gave us anti-child labor laws. Liberals gave us the GI Bill. Liberals ended legal discrimination, often at the cost of their own lives. Oh ... yes ... we can even say that liberals gave us -- not just a balanced budget -- but a projected budget surplus, until a certain "compassionate conservative" turned that surplus into a multi-trillion-dollar burden on our children.

Which one of those liberal achievements should we get rid of?

Let's not forget that classic liberals gave us free market capitalism, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and an end to the unchecked power of monarchs -- ahh, but those were the good old days.

With George W. Bush, we have a gravy train for friends in war-profiteering corporations, a radical right-wing theocracy that intimidates and prosecutes the press, and rigged elections courtesy of Diebold electronic voting machines and Republican Secretaries of State.

And speaking of voting irregularities, liberals also gave us the Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 ended literacy tests, poll taxes, and all other means of disenfranchising people of the most fundamental right in a democracy by requiring voting procedural changes in targeted states to be submitted to the Department of Justice for review.

Literacy tests, ey ... hmmm ... come to think of it, if we repealed the Voting Rights Act, more liberals would probably win ....

Actually, given the election irregularities and precinct tampering in places like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas, maybe we need an expansion of enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.

If you want to save New Orleans, read this ...


At 7/14/2006 06:48:00 AM, Blogger Tara said...

Beautifully expressed, Schroeder. As always, you tell it how it is. I hope you are coping well as you fight the good fight for New Orleans.

This posting makes me proud to be a liberal! Thanks-

At 7/14/2006 08:08:00 AM, Anonymous Lenny Zimmermann said...

I would argue with several of those "liberal" things that we should get rid of because I think your listing of the reasones/backroiund on some of them isn't correct.

The problem I have with this act, however, is that it is discriminatory. At the very least all of the provisions should apply to ALL of the seperate states. Instead they only apply to southern states. They don't have discrimination up north?

At 7/14/2006 08:35:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Hi Tara. Nice to hear from you again. Yes, hanging in there.

Lenny, you'll have to elaborate on the first point. As for the second point, I *did* make that very argument I think, although on different grounds. Racism *is* distinctly different in the North -- I believe. Institutional enforcement of civil law is much stronger there, but interpersonal relations are lagging. In the South, whites and blacks live on top of each other, and learn to find agreeable ways to live together, but institutions to enforce equality aren't as strong, and a quiet racism operates just as it does in the North. That's not universal, of course, but I think speaking broadly there's some truth in there. Anyway, it wasn't northern states making people take tests and pay poll taxes -- it was southern states. From the sounds of some of those House Republicans, they'd like the freedom to go back to those days.

At 7/14/2006 10:17:00 AM, Anonymous Lenny Zimmermann said...

Elaborating on the first part would mean I'd have to explain why I think Social Security isn't necessarily a good thing, even when it was implemented, and that's just too much to eleaborate on in one post! :)

And yes, I noticed the statement you mentioned about expanding enforcement. Primarily, though, I have a problem with an act that have a 4 years sunset provision, initially, lasting for 10 times that long and then hainvg a 25 years sunset on top of it! Yowsa!

The real question is not what bad things some states may have done in the past, but rather would they still do those things even today? It's one thing to burden on specific states with massive and costly regulations (discriminatory actions) and instead pushing fror accountability and transparency in government to ensure bad practices aren't instigated again. I don't think VRA serves its initial purpose anymore, certainly not enough to vehemently try to defend it (as more than a few House Dems have been doing.)

It's not enough to justify a law because the intentions of the law are good or honorable. If it were up to me the Senate would let it sunset, then we can see if sourther states still try to pull the cdrap they did before.

In a way this, to me, is like Equal Opportunity legislation. We have legislated that a business cannot, fore example, deny service to someone because of race. An honorable idea forced into law in order to, effecitvely, repeal government mandated racial seperation. Seems to me we'd be far better off just forcing the repeal of the laws. Then if a business wanted to discriminate, fine. Their loss! I mean, really, it's not economically acceptable for a business to discriminate, at least not for any business that wants to remains successful (in a truly free market, that is.)

In effect I believe we've over-regulated the crap out of ourselves. It's one thing to consider regulation to address an injustice, but another to allow such regulations to outlive its actual usefullness. Suggesting that repeal of the VRA would "turn back the clock" is as ludicrous a statement as saying repeal of prohibition will somehow make everyone go out and get stoned.

At 7/14/2006 11:08:00 AM, Anonymous Lenny Zimmermann said...

I should add, of course, that I also just happen to like being contrarian. ;)

At 7/14/2006 01:34:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

What alternative to Social Security? I know -- don't go into it. I don't really want to have that lengthy discussion right now either. Suffice it to say that the largest demographic of impoverished people in 1930 was the elderly. Something had to be done, and all things considered, it's worked pretty well.

On that last point Lenny, we are positively in agreement.

Nothing wrong with mental calistenics.

At 7/14/2006 03:37:00 PM, Anonymous Editor B said...

Not to quibble, but "liberals" didn't give us the eight hour work day. Anarchists did.

But, well, maybe anarchists are the true liberals.


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