Ronald Reagan’s Legacy Continues to Hurt Middle Class and Minorities

Ronald Reagan's Legacy Continues to Hurt Middle Class and Minorities

It took 189 years for our country to live up to one of its greatest precepts, that “all men are created equal.”  I know, the Emancipation Proclamation was passed in 1863.  With the exception of making it illegal to own slaves, it changed little in 16 states.

In 1965 The “Voting Rights Act” was passed.  No longer could African-Americans be denied the right to vote.  It was necessary to pass the VRA into law because in those 16 states, Black men and women were turned away from the polls.

In 2006 the VRA was reauthorized by a huge Congressional majority, adding provisions for Hispanics and other minorities.  Arguments are continuing in the Supreme Court this week to overturn this crucial and important law.  Conservative Justices, the majority 5-4, are suggesting it may be unconstitutional, and has outlived its necessity.

But the biggest criminal in all this is Antonin Scalia.  His proven racism and bigotry are infamous, and now he is once again openly displaying his ignorance.  The favorite of the far right, he uttered these words from the bench.  He called the Voting Rights Act “a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

We have Ronald Reagan to thank for appointing him in 1986.  It seems implausible to me that Scalia has read one single word of the Constitution he has sworn to protect.  All of his written opinions are overly emotional and reflect his own personal beliefs, not the intent of the Constitution.

Although the Supreme Court is supposed to be “non-partisan,” it is far from it.  Scalia joins all other extreme right wingers in attitude, conviction, and opinion concerning matters of women’s rights, primarily abortion, minority rights, gun control, and the death penalty.  He was influential when the Court decided the outcome of the 2000 Presidential election by ending Florida’s recount.  In 2007, he said of the case, “I and my court owe no apology whatever for Bush v. Gore. We did the right thing. So there! … get over it. It’s so old by now.”

Jimmy Williams of MSNBC wrote:  “Justice Scalia’s comments from the bench of “racial entitlement” were code to white Americans. Let’s be clear: he sent a strong message to the entire nation that the Voting Rights Act isn’t constitutional because it gave black America an entitlement that’s found nowhere in his view of our Constitution. This interpretation of our Constitution should scare every American regardless of political party.”

The extreme right wing is attempting to create a time machine that will only take us into the past.  They have every reason to fear the future:  they won’t be in it.  In less than two decades, our country’s power will be in the hands of those whom today we label minorities, and women.

Unless God strikes down one of the right wing judges in the very near future, I believe the VRA is doomed.

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express