It was almost like a scene from the Jim Crow days of the old South. Two intimidating men in military-style dress standing outside a polling place, one of them carrying a bludgeon, tapping
it in his palm or lightly on the side of his leg in a menacing manner. The U.S. Justice Department later filed charges against the two, accusing them of intimidating voters with racial slurs, insults and, of course, the nightstick. A third man was charged, accused of managing the intimidation.
Suddenly, though, and without explanation, the Justice Department dropped the charges. Congressmen asked for the reason, and basically received none. The U.S. Civil Rights Commission also inquired, but also got stiffed by the department. The commission now has fired off another letter, complaining the the department is ignoring one of its chief responsibilities.
For generations, such scenes were repeated throughout the South, as racists attempted to keep black voters away from the polls. Intimidation was just one of the many tools used to achieve the goal; literacy tests and poll taxes were among the others. Not until a combination of the Supreme Court and Congress acted, with passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, did this kind of outrage end.
Except in Philadelphia, where this incident occurred. And this time the intimidaters weren't white; they were black.
And this time, those turning a deaf ear to the complaints of voter
intimidation were the "progressives" running the Justice Department,
not some redneck oppressors of blacks.
This incident was captured on tape. (Check it out here and here.)
Now, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission is tired of waiting for a
substantive response from President Obama's Justice Department. Its
second and stronger letter criticizing the department was disclosed here on Friday.
the letter, the commission told U.S. Attorney Eric H. Holder Jr. that
its unresponsiveness is impairing the commission's "duty to investigate
potential voter fraud deprivations and federal enforcement policies."
The letter said department's responses to date have not only been
non-responsive, but also contained "factual errors...and questionable
legal claims." The letter reminded Holder that the commission is
responsible to the president, Congress and the public to investigate
such charges, and has been granted the power to "issue subpoenas and
documents" to enforce its charge. It's a not-to-subtle nudge to Holder
that he could be dragged before the commission and forced to testify
And, so he should if his conduct continues. These
two men were wearing black berets, black combat boots, black shirts and
black jackets--hardly a welcoming wardrobe. Surely someone will insist
that those who see intimidation in this are racists, because they are
exhibiting a racist's fear black men. Or, you can argue, as a witness
to the incident told a reporter, that a nightstick is a weapon,
something that no one should be carrying, especially outside a polling
place. You don't need to be white to be intimidated.
Democrats will accuse the commission of "politics" because four of the
members who sent the letter are Republicans. Yet, the commission's two
independents joined them in signing the letter. The two Democratic
commissioners abstained, apparently not wanting to be on record as
being soft on voter intimidation.
Look for Obama to appoint
new, Democratic commissioners as soon as legally possible. Can't have a
color-blind commission, ya know.