Feathered Bastard

Voting Rights Under Siege by Republicans in The Third Reconstruction

A brilliant little gem from the makers of 9500 Liberty

Believe it or not, once upon a time, Republicans were the ones fighting for the expansion of voting rights.

Okay, so that was more than a century ago, following the Civil War. Still, it's interesting to watch this short video by Annabel Park and Eric Byler, the filmmakers behind the gripping documentary 9500 Liberty, and compare the actions of Lincoln Republicans in the post-Civil War South to GOPers today, who seem hell-bent on suppressing the vote in every way imaginable.

In The Third Reconstruction, part of an ongoing project by Park and Byers at the website StoryofAmerica.org, the Reverend Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, gives viewers a lesson in what life was like prior to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

During what Barber refers to as the "First Reconstruction," Republican politicians worked with African Americans in the states of the former Confederacy to draft state constitutions and enfranchise people who previously had no way to participate in democracy.

But a white backlash killed the First Reconstruction. It wasn't till the 1960s that segregation and Jim Crow voting laws began to be rolled back by a broad coalition of activists.

Barber labels those who do not understand why people are upset by these 21st century versions of the poll tax as "ahistorical," which is a nice way of saying "ignorant."

If I thought it would do any good, I'd like to see Republican pols here in Sand Land who're on a voter-suppression kick, people like state Senator Michele Reagan and Attorney General Tom Horne, strapped to chairs with their eyelids held open a la A Clockwork Orange while they watch The Third Reconstruction over and over again.

Sigh. Poor Abe Lincoln. The guy's probably rolled over so many times in his grave that his stovepipe hat looks like a giant corkscrew.

There are more recent Rs who have been on the right side of this issue, more recent than the Lincoln Republicans mentioned here. Mitt Romney's father George comes to mind.

Try finding one today, however. That species of Republican seems extinct.