Voting for dollars

Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.
__Booker T. Washington, “Up from Slavery”

The black man who I believe did the most to help his people improve their lives was Booker T. Washington. He counseled them to educate themselves, work hard and become self-reliant—he showed them how to do it and set an example.

Unfortunately, modern black “leaders,” guilt-ridden whites and media eggers’-on overshadow Mr. Washington’s wisdom and valuable advice. They restrict the advancement of “colored people” (including the NAACP and the “Congressional Black Caucus”). These organizations profit from advancing race divisions and resentments rather than helping the people they presume to represent. For them it’s about using government to distribute the wealth of others and to increase their power.

Take prolific commentary on the recent Supreme Court decision (5-4) on Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, for instance. This law imposed federal approval on election laws in mostly southeastern states and certain counties in others (it may surprise readers to learn that the law targeted the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan, presumably bastions of discrimination against blacks).

Columnist Cal Thomas ( wrote about this. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. reacted with violent analogy: This decision plunged “a dagger into the heart of the Voting Rights Act,” he said. Really? Other commentators refer to it as “Gutting the Voting Rights Act”—by what measure do they make these ridiculous claims?

Even New York Times writers believe that this decision finally (after nearly 50 years) has freed states from forever being assumed to overtly discriminate against blacks. Most reasonable people observe that public attitudes have dramatically changed during the past half century.

Conservative black leaders comment that modern racial “fairness” has made the VRA “no longer necessary.” Mr. Thomas cites former counsel to the U. S. Senate Judicial Committee: America has changed, she said; “a law that presupposes guilt must be reformed.” Another commentator called the law a form of “geographical profiling.” Thomas states the obvious: we have plenty of anti-discrimination laws that can be used in actual cases of bias against certain groups of people.

Other people, such as Prof. Gavin Wright author of “Sharing the Prize: The Economics of the Civil Rights Revolution in the South,” suggest a static society ridden with an unruly bias toward blacks.

Prof. Wright, writing for Bloomberg News begins a recent article with studies showing economic benefits brought about by the VRA, including improved infrastructure in black residential areas; increasing black hiring for public sector jobs and increased access to public services.

A North Carolina study (we had 40 of 100 counties targeted by the VRA) found increases in black voting and elected officials; and faster growth in income and occupational status among blacks. Another study showed an “increase in the share of state transfer to counties with higher black populations.” Economists have documented that electing black mayors of cities with large black populations resulted in increasing their employment and incomes.

Since 1965 North Carolina and bordering states “accelerated growth in per-pupil spending.” Every Southern state “enacted funding for kindergarten” (and North Carolina spends huge sums for pre-school programs—some of us think are taxpayer subsidies for actually babysitting services).

After citing all these massive improvements mostly directed to black people, Prof. Wright tells us that “biracial political cooperation and economic progress in the South has lost steam.” “Most ominously,” he writes, “Republican control of the state legislature in places such as Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina ended the advance of black legislators to positions of leadership.”

(Could it be that the majority of citizens in these states have had enough of personal attacks and divisive, never-ending demands by black leadership against people who have shown generous good will toward them?)

To further fan the dying embers of racism, Wright says, “Southern states have taken the lead in enacting measures designed to discourage registration and make voting more difficult.”

I assume he refers to such measures as requiring voters to identify themselves at the polls to be allowed to vote so as to limit voter fraud. Apparently, Wright believes that this requirement is too difficult for blacks—a demeaning and wrong assumption.

Prof. Wright cites a comment by Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C. in 2006. He admitted that “successes of the Voting Rights Act have been substantial,” but he wanted them to be “fast and furious.”

That describes the kind of government demanded by those who promote the race industry; rather than a deliberative, fair to all, constitutional one crafted by our Founders.

It’s painfully obvious that our political electoral process has become a factional fight between those who seek to benefit based on greed and grievances, against those who support our rights to personal liberty and property.


About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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