You asked for it, you Teabaggers, and you got it.
I've been listening for months to all these Tea Party members who don't like big government, want government out of health care, think Obama is a non-native-born-African-Socialist-terrorist, and I've been saying all along, that their only real issue is that Obama is a black man. And they don't like a black man telling white men what to do.
So, I was not surprised, though I was disgusted, by the opening night speaker at the Tea Party convention, Republican fucktard Tom Tancredo, who suggested a return to the good old days when people [read black people and Latinos] had to take a "literacy test" in order to vote. He said if that policy were in place today we would have never elected a president like Obama.
Like Obama? You mean from Illinois? You mean the father of two girls? Oh, you mean Black.
In his speech last Thursday to Teabaggers, Tancredo invoked the "literacy test," a pre-civil rights era buzzword, saying that Barack Obama--Tancredo made sure to call him Barack Hussein Obama--was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country."
Well, civics is good to know, and, for me, literacy is fun, but what does Tancredo mean by giving people a civics literacy test before they can vote? To find out, let's hop into my handy-dandy time machine, and travel back to America in the good old days, when women were subservient and blacks had their own drinking fountains.
Southern states, and some Western ones, used literacy tests in an effort to deny the right to vote to African Americans. According to a website for civil rights [HERE]: "Prior to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965, Southern states maintained elaborate voter registration procedures whose primary purpose was to deny the vote to those who were not white. In the South, this process was often called the 'literacy test.' In fact, it was much more than a simple test, it was an entire complex system devoted to denying African-Americans [and in some regions, Latinos] the right to vote."
The Freedom Movement, trying to change the laws so African-Americans could vote, began running what they called 'Citizenship Schools' to help people learn how to fill out the forms and pass the test.
So, the state of Alabama, for example, changed the test 4 times in less than two years. In addition, they used over a 100 different tests that voter applicants were supposed to be given at random; some people got easier tests than others, and the registrar of voters made sure that Black applicants got the hardest ones. White applicants could be approved even if they didn't pass the test.
Now, what kinds of questions would be on this "civics literacy" test? And how many could you, or I, answer?
- "If a person charged with treason denies his guilt, how many persons must testify against him before he can be convicted?"
- "If a president does not wish to sign a bill, how many days is he allowed in which to return it to Congress for consideration?"
- "If the United States wishes to purchase land for an arsenal and have exclusive legislative authority over it, consent is required from [fill in the blank]."
The answers are: two, ten and the legislature. With just these three questions, how many of us would be denied the right to vote?
This is the America Tom Tancredo wants.
This is the America of the Tea Party movement.
Tom Tancredo is also decidedly anti-immigrant; in his speech he attacked what he called the United States' "cult of multiculturalism." See, Tancredo believes that if you aren't from here, and god forbid, if you're here illegally, you should instantly be deported. He don't want no stinking immigrants in the US of Whites-Only America. For years I was taught that America was a "melting pot" of different people and different cultures, and that all were welcome here, but Tom Tancredo wants to make sure that we become an America of White people who speak English, and worship like Good white people.
This is the America Tom Tancredo wants. "This is our country, let's take it back."
I say we have no need to take it back. America isn't perfect. I mean, as a gay man who would know that better than I? I don't count. I don't have the same rights as everybody else, and I'm one of those White guys to whom Tom Tancredo is speaking. In his America, I could be king, but not if I was a queen.
America isn't perfect. We are all sorts of people, in all sorts of colors, and genders and orientations and faiths and non-faiths. We aren't white; we are all, going back, immigrants, unless we are Native American. But America isn't closed doors, and deportation, either; it isn't racist, or it shouldn't be.
We don't have to take back America, we just need to keep it out of the hands of people like Tom Tancredo and his Teabaggers.