Voting Rights

The civil rights movement of the 1960s marked one of the very very few major shifts in the politics of this country.  I.e. the racist southern whites switched from the Democratic to the Republican party.  Those southern Democrats had some redeeming value, i.e. politically their loyalties lay with the little guy.  So at the time the Democrats were pro-little guy v.s. the Republicans tended to like big institutions (particularly commercial ones) more.  From today’s perspective it’s hard to see how civil rights and your preferences for large vs. small economic entities would be orthogonal.

kouns_63_selma1aBoth parties, at the time, were split internally on the issue of civil rights, and battles. The national battle civil rights resorted things.  Don’t gloss over how vicious these battles were.  We are talking riots, murders, etc.  Nothing in modern American politics comes close; even if it ought to.

Civil rights won.  But, the Republican party came infected with a severe case of racism.  An ugly hybrid emerged from this. The pro-little-guy attitudes was driven out of the new southern Republican party was driven  out of the party.  Later the entire party went in insane.

The insanity is principally about the big/little guy debate, but it’s always flavored with a large dose of spiteful prejudice.   That used to be focused on black people, but these days it’s has a broad spectrum.  In part because if as you become more committed to the big guys in the big/little debate you trend toward demonizing all the little guys.

Yesterday’s destruction of the Voting Rights Act by the supreme court is a direct decedent of those battles, and of the civl war before them.  It will disenfranchise a tremendous number of people.  It political consequences will be very ugly, we know because we ran voting with a large dose of voter suppression in the century following the civil war.   It is a tragic development.

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