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Friday, July 14, 2006

The ghosts are back

Boys, at least ya'll stood up against the negroes

House OKs renewing 1965 Voting Rights Act

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer Thu Jul 13, 7:24 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The House voted Thursday to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act, rejecting efforts by Southern conservatives to relax federal oversight of their states in a debate haunted by the ghosts of the civil rights movement.

The 390-33 vote sent to the Senate a bill that represented a Republican appeal to minority voters who doubt the GOP's "big-tent" image.

All of the "no" votes came from Republicans, in defiance of their own leaders.

"The liberties and freedom embedded in the right to vote must remain sacred," House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said in a statement. "Principles like these cannot wait for discrimination to rear its ugly head."

Southern conservatives complained that the act punishes their states for racist voting histories they say they've overcome.

"By passing this rewrite of the Voting Rights Act, Congress is declaring from on high that states with voting problems 40 years ago can simply never be forgiven," said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., one of several lawmakers pressing for changes to the law to ease its requirements on Southern states.

"I sincerely hope the U.S. Senate corrects these problems so when the bill returns to the House for final passage I can vote for it," said Rep. John Shadegg (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., whose state is one of those under federal scrutiny.

The House overwhelmingly rejected amendments that would have shortened the renewal from 25 years to a decade and would have struck its requirement that ballots in some states be printed in several languages.

Supporters of the law as written called the amendments "poison pills" designed to kill the renewal because if any were adopted by the full House, the underlying renewal might have failed.

Supporters used stark images and emotional language to make clear that the pain of racial struggle — and racist voting practices — still stings.

Rep. John Lewis (news, bio, voting record), D-Ga., displayed photos of civil rights activists, including himself, who were beaten by Alabama state troopers in 1965 as they marched from Selma to Montgomery in support of voting rights.

"I have a concussion. I almost died. I gave blood; some of my colleagues gave their very lives," Lewis shouted from the House floor, while the Rev.
Jesse Jackson, another veteran of the civil rights movement, looked on from the gallery.

"Yes, we've made some progress; we have come a distance," Lewis added. "The sad truth is, discrimination still exists. That's why we still need the Voting Rights Act and we must not go back to the dark past."

The very debate over changes to the act is testament to the influence of Southern conservatives, even over their own GOP leaders who had hoped to pass the renewal as a fresh appeal for support from minorities on Election Day.

With rare bipartisan support among leaders of the House and Senate, the renewal was widely expected to sail through Congress and on to the White House for President Bush's signature.

Republican leaders, however, were forced to postpone a House vote last month when conservatives rebelled during a closed meeting.

Unable to satisfy the dissenters and eager to pass the bill this week, Republican leaders announced late Wednesday they would allow the House to consider amendments, none of which passed.

Sensenbrenner saved the GOP from itself. Because the redneck coalition was trying to kill the Voting Rights Act, unaware of what kind of tool it would hand the Dems.

Sensenbrenner shot down every one of their arguments and tossed their bullshit in their face.

The fact is that Georgia is in federal court over their new voter ID poll tax law. It was slapped down twice so far. And these racist pigs had the nerve to say there was no problem? Why all they needed was a Stars and Bars and some butternut uniforms to show where their hearts were.

These guys just don't care about a fair and just America, where everyone can vote, and even the GOP called them on it.

posted by Steve @ 1:20:00 AM

1:20:00 AM

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