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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Independence Day ... For Some

NAACP Presidents Dan Basket (Allentown), Esther Lee (Bethlehem) & Verna Howard (Easton)
It may have been Independence Eve, but the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton NAACPs planned no celebrations. "Enjoy yourselves tomorrow, as they celebrate their holiday," Bethlehem NAACP President Esther Lee told a group of fifteen civil rights leaders. They met at Bethlehem's Payrow Plaza to protest a recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision that gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Designed to ensure ballot access and combat racial gerrymandering, the Voting Rights Act requires mostly Southern states to get clearance from the Justice Department before making even minor changes, like moving a polling place. But Chief Justice John Roberts complained that the latest version of the Act, adopted in 2006, is "based on 40-year-old facts having no logical relationship to the present day.”

Contending that the Voting Rights Act is designed to protect the rights of all people, Lee claimed, "This is not a partisan issue, it is an American issue." Allentown NAACP President Dan Basket and his Easton counterpart, Verna Howard, echoed Lee.

There was some mild disagreement over the Voter ID Law. Basket called it a disenfranchisement of the minority vote, while Howard has no issue with producing an ID.

One onlooker, on his way out of the nearby library, told these leaders, "If you want to vote, please get an ID."

"Identify yourself!", demanded Lee. He did, but left immediately.

"It's almost like they don't consider us human beings," lamented Lee. "We're still slaves in their eyes."


cry me a river said...

they're just pissed because the gays are out playing them. how's that Obama thing working out for you? He already got all black suckers now he's going after Hispanics and gays. doesn't need you anymore

Anonymous said...

Gays late week, Jews yesterday and today its the Blacks, tomorrow?

Lighthouse said...

When PA's Voter ID law initially came out, I thought "what is the big deal, just show your ID". However, it didn't take long to see the connection between the new Congressional districts gerrymandered to help the GOP, the GOP proposal to peg PA's electoral votes to those gerrymandered districts rather than the current "winner take all" rules, and the Voter ID law which would by the GOP's own admission (Turzai) "allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania". Some of those battles were lost, but the war is not necessarily over.

Yet, under the Voting Rights Act, PA and other states are free act as they please, and the burden is upon voters to challenge. Meanwhile, Alabama, etc would need pre-clearance to govern similarly. PA and the majority of other states can subtly attempt to suppress Democratic leaning votes, the old South can't. Local NAACP leaders are defending this inequality?

Roberts had it right: "despite the tradition of equal sovereignty, the Act applies to only nine States (and several additional counties). While one State waits months or years and expends funds to implement a validly enacted law, its neighbor can typically put the same law into effect immediately, through the normal legislative process" ... "Our decision in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in §2. We issue no holding on §5 itself, only on the coverage formula. Congress may draft another formula based on current conditions." (re-read that).

Even in Ginsburg's dissent, she states "The stated purpose of the Civil War Amendments was to arm Congress with the power and authority to protect all persons within the Nation from violations of their rights by the States." So, how is it "equal protection" to keep some states under thumb, while others are not?

Rather than bemoaning the tired cliche that "we're still slaves in their eyes", the logic of the disparity of the Voting Rights Act nearly a half century later should be acknowledged, and contemporary issues should be addressed with contemporary legislation. As Roberts wrote, "The Fifteenth Amendment commands that the right to vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of race or color, and it gives Congress the power to enforce that command. The Amendment is not designed to punish for the past; its purpose is to ensure a better future."

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lighthouse, Of the 15 people present, I'd say that only one was under 50. That might explain the "we're still slaves" feeling. Also, Esther Lee likes to mix things up.

Harry O'Bern said...

I didn't know Tyler Perry was in town playing Medea!

Anonymous said...

The NAACP is a racist scar on our history. What started as a legitimate organization is now the mirror image of the KKK. Racism comes in all colors. Esther Lee makes me vomit. She's a vicious hater and her kind (the hating kind) need to perish from this Earth. Old racists can't croak fast enough. Time is on the side of good people as long as we marginalize pieces of shit like the KKK and NAACP.

Anonymous said...

Old race hucksters like Esther need to keep up. We gave her a free education and she refuses to read the papers. A brief refresher for those who refuse to learn:

1) The president is black

2) He supports voter ID for lots of blacks, as stated in this braggadocios ditty from a White House press release this week:

"In Kenya, the $53 million Yes Youth Can program empowers nearly one million Kenyan youth to use their voices for advocacy in national and local policy-making, while also creating economic opportunities. In advance of Kenya’s March 2013 general elections, Yes Youth Can’s “My ID My Life” campaign helped 500,000 youth obtain National identification cards, a prerequisite to voter registration..."

Mark Baker said...

quite a crowd ester has there. - the queen of lost causes

Anonymous said...


While clearly far from perfect the American Revolution is very clearly the most liberating event for all mankind in human history.
Its significance is spelled out in the book "The Radicalism of the American Revolution" by Gordon S. Wood.Check it out.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

You need an ID for at least forty different transactions in our culture today. This bullshit spewed by black leaders that VOTER ID disenfrnachises the vote is racism in reverse.
Blacks need to show an ID when they get their government handouts.So whats the big deal?

Anonymous said...

Lee is a relic of the past. Still playing the race card as an excuse for her own community's failings. She is a non-productive despotic voice who does not represent those of color who enjoy our nation's freedoms and opportunities. Just look at the hard-working Jamaican and native African communities. They feel blessed to have left their countries where there is wide-spread corruption, tribal wars, and abject poverty. They truly appreciate America and will be celebrating our Independence today. Esther can just wallow in her own self-pity and failures and blame a "racist" country.

God Bless America!!!

Anonymous said...

The issue with the Voter ID is the same with abortion or other issues the GOP is fixated on. They are quite like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, entirely focused on control of society instead of governance. The problems people really care about such as affordable healthcare, a sustainable economy that pays living wages, education so that children can advance past their parents are not cares of the modern GOP. Instead they are fixated on persecuting the LGBT community and making arcane laws surrounding abortion, all based on their "Holy Book" which has had thousands of interpretations by political forces since it was scribed. People possibly should have an ID to vote and there may need to be some regulation on abortion clinics...these are not big issues. These are small issues brought forward by a religious fundamentalist political party akin to the party that was just deposed by the military in Egypt.

Anonymous said...

Bring back the literacy tests.

Peter J. Cochran said...

Ms.Lee,I am one of your fans. I want to take you for lunch someday because I think you are one hell of a lady. My NAACP card number for membership is 108116861, please contact me -610-248-0212.Will take Bernie too if acceptable to my guest.

Anonymous said...

Ester - 3 words Physicians Weight Lose

Anonymous said...

Racist pigs are sickening. Go awat, Esther. Roll on your floor and slop in your bitter hatred. What a waste of skin - lots of it. Fuck all racists in all colors.

Anonymous said...

I have great respect for Mrs. Lee. She for 50 or more years has been true to her cause but I cannot help but wonder why the region's African American leaders do not decry the
Popeye's Chicken commercials being blasted this 4th of July.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 11:10.

Voter ID Laws are needed to thwart the scum bags of your Democratic party from stealing elections.
Look no further than the shennigans that occured in Philadelphia over the last 20 years.
You Liberals want to Kill your own yet compare the GOP to Muslim terroists?
Muslims terroist dont even kill their own.
I were in your presence my foot would be up your Liberal ass you piece of shit.

Anonymous said...

Esther should add Antonia Griffo's glasses to complete the Mrs. Potato Head look.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:13 , couldn't understand you through the white sheet over your head.