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Monday, February 06, 2006


Unbelievable. I'm speechless. You know that the benefit from this stance must really help the GOP because the political cost could be sky high. In a remarkable move of hubris, leaders in the Republican Party are calling for the termination of a key part of the Voting Rights Act.

Here's the rule at issue: when more than 5% of the voting age population in a given jurisdiction belongs to a language minority, the Voting Rights Act requires ballots to be made available to that language minority. This is a completely reasonable rule: without the provision of multilingual ballots, these citizens will be disenfranchised and unable to vote.

Why do the Republicans want to fight this? Because they know that the vast majority of non-English speakers are poor and vote Democrat. Further, they don't care about the interests of poor non-whites because the GOP is the party of rich whites. It may not be intentionally racist (at least not for all), but it certainly perpetuates institutionalized racism.

The purported reasons the Republicans give are the same old tired arguments they've used for years to justify their racism: "We believe these ballot provisions encourage the linguistic division of our nation and contradict the 'Melting Pot' ideal that has made us the most successful multi-ethnic nation on earth." The "Melting Pot" ideal is just the modern-day code word for assimilation. The message: act like mainstream white society or we'll steal your right to vote. 56 House of Representative members signed a petition to destroy this part of the Voting Rights Act; 55 of them were Republicans.

America has never been, and should never be, a melting pot. Melting pot implies that you come to this country with a rich culture and you lose it once you arrive. A more appropriate metaphor is that America should become a nice Chef's salad -- all the cultures are still in there and exist, unlike in the whites-only "melting pot" analogy.

If you aren't a rich, white, Christian male, it's time to get this in your head: the Republican Party hates you and will do anything it can to take away your rights. Opposing the Voting Rights Act is a disgraceful, ugly, evil thing that shows just how extreme the current Republican Party has become. I'm sick to my stomach.

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