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Voting Rights Act is a sad necessity

by Jim Longworth

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed in order to guarantee that people of color would not be obstructed from exercising their right to vote or from having equitable representation in Congress.

It was a necessary step to insure that white-trash Southerners would no longer impede the voting process with KKK-like intimidations, or that less violent but crafty racists could no longer administer rigged tests in order to disqualify blacks from voting.

Now, after 40 years, Congress has once again renewed the act because they still don’t trust Southern whites, and because as Democrat John Lewis said, ‘“We must not go back to the dark past.’”

But just how long must the South be on probation? And are grossly gerrymandered districts a real testament to progress? We shouldn’t have to rely on a law to make us elect the most qualified candidates, and we shouldn’t have to be monitored by Washington as if we were prisoners on work release. Even worse, the act has been expanded to require that we Southern Americans print ballots in Spanish so that people who don’t speak the national language won’t be discouraged from voting.

It’s true that a few districts in other states are also under watch, but every time the Voting Rights Act is renewed, all Southerners are suspect and shackled so that we won’t break bad again.

I resent any law that stereotypes me for something somebody else did 40 years ago.

That, my friends, is racial profiling. But I also recognize that we must be ever vigilant in the war on racism. I just hope for all our sakes that this will be the last time we need to renew the Voting Rights Act.

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