If we don’t do something real soon, I think you’ll have to agree that we’re going to be forced either to use the ballot or the bullet.?Malcolm X
Give us the ballot and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights … –
Give us the ballot and we will quietly and nonviolently, without rancor or bitterness, implement the Supreme Court’s decision of May 17, 1954.” ?MLK
June 26 2013, a large part of our nation is celebrating the Supreme Court for almost?making it’s GLBTQ citizens equal under the law. The day before however will go down in history as a much bigger event in our national story. On ?June 25th, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down section four of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Section four is basically the formula for how to calculate where and how to apply the law. The Court struck ?down the law as Unconstitutional because they said the law had not been reviewed. This in spite of the fact that in 2006 Congress heard testimony, compiled over twenty thousand pages of evidence and then re-authorized the act, as is, for another twenty-five years. The Supreme Court followed these decisions on the 27th of June with a decision making Voter ID’s and white gerrymandered districts the norm in Texas. ?I’m not entirely sure why so much of the media was celebrating the “historic” events of this week. ?What is historic is that the entrenched power simply waited out the civil rights movement and has now pushed it back into the dustbin of history.
The final decision means that it is open season on the voting rights of the poor and people of color. Yet MSNBC, CNN, GMA, etc all tell us how wonderful it is to be an American! As an All-American gay I can tell you I’m not buying it.
Couple these decision with Salinas v. Texas?which effectively removes our right to remain silent and you see a troubling picture emerging. ?A picture where the “other” (people of color, poor, disabled, etc) find it increasingly difficult to vote and those who are arrested, legitimately or not, find themselves deprived of basic rights. Miranda?was and is a very easy to understand decision. It is based on the fundamental idea that we, as Americans, have decided that our rights as individuals are equal, and in most cases, surpass the right of the state. Salinas creates a, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” presumption of guilt which turns our system completely on its head.
How can you thank a man for giving you what’s already yours? How then can you thank him for giving you only part of what’s already yours? You haven’t even made progress, if what’s being given to you, you should have had already.
Whenever you’re going after something that belongs to you, anyone who’s depriving you of the right to have it is a criminal. Understand that. Whenever you are going after something that is yours, you are within your legal rights to lay claim to it. And anyone who puts forth any effort to deprive you of that which is yours, is breaking the law, is a criminal.
Even the decision on gay marriage in California, was a punt, ?thereby making it legal almost by accident, AND overturning DOMA isn’t really honest. The Court did NOT uphold the “fundamental right” to marriage. They simply made it so that more cases will have to come in the future. A future that may have a more conservative court. A future where now you have citizens in states who have federal rights that citizens in other states do not have. ?Setting the grounds for a gay Scott v. Sanford type case.
Today is not a day to celebrate. It is a momentary fragile illusory victory from a week of losses that our nation may not recover from.
Dr. King believed that if voting was fair that the people would elect fair leaders. X knew better.
It is time to begin the conversation that if our government will not be responsive to the people, that if government will try to assert itself as the grantor of our rights, then what should we, the people, do? Is violence our last option? Was Lincoln correct that people have the right to rebel against an oppressive government?
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. Abraham Lincoln
We have tried the courts and get no relief. We have tried the ballot and gotten no relief. We have tried laws and gotten no relief. When will we be forced to choose the bullet?
Whenever you’re going after something that belongs to you, anyone who’s depriving you of the right to have it is a criminal. Understand that. Whenever you are going after something that is yours, you are within your legal rights to lay claim to it. And anyone who puts forth any effort to deprive you of that which is yours, is breaking the law, is a criminal. Malcolm X
Dr. King was wrong and X was right. Not holding the guilty accountable for their crimes only makes it easy for them to watch our protests from their palaces and wait for the “rabble” to move on. ?Peacefully. Doing no damage. Respecting property. Nothing changes. Dr. King was wrong and X was right. It ?is?“the ballot or the bullet” and time is running out. I abhor violent change because there is no way of knowing where that river will run. But at what point is the river better than the suffocation and indignity of slavery?
Edited/Published by: SB