The Voting Rights Act

After reading the cheering for OC congressional representatives who voted to let the Voting Rights Act expire by our friends over at, I am reminded that people died for this particular piece of legislation.

I found this wonderful quote from LBJ that I wanted to share.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, speech at Howard University (4th June, 1965) At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama. There, long-suffering men and women peacefully protested the denial of their rights as Americans. Many were brutally assaulted. One good man – a man of God – was killed. This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South: “All men are created equal” – “Government by consent of the governed” – “Give me liberty or give me death”. And those are not just clever words and not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries. Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. No law that we now have on the books can ensure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it. Wednesday I will send to Congress a law designed to eliminate illegal barriers to the right to vote. This bill will strike down restrictions to voting in all elections – federal, state, and local – which have been used to deny Negroes the right to vote.

A reminder that without Republican support, LBJ never would have passed Civil Rights legislation in 1964. He went to the GOP leadership and asked for help; they agreed by giving him a list of judges they wanted appointed to the federal bench and Johnson did it. Give and take. Compromise. Notions that don’t really exist anymore in today’s highly partisan government. Johnson also acknowledged that by passing Civil Rights legislation that the Democrats have “lost the South for a generation.”

For our Republican Congressional delegation in OC to insist on English only ballots harkens to the days of literacy tests. And for the conservatives at to cheer the effort clearly shows how out of step they are with mainstream America.

  1 comment for “The Voting Rights Act

  1. Alex Miller
    July 19, 2006 at 8:53 pm

    There are plenty of issues over at the OC Blog…

    The post you are talking about was written by Lurk. Jubal tends to be closer to logical, but still pretty Republican.

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