Friday, June 8, 2012

Schoolhouse doors, and now voting booths

Florida Gov. Rick Scott's grandstanding defiance of a Department of Justice demand that he end his voter purge recalls another dark moment in  the nation's history.  It happened on June 11, 1963. when another southern governor, George Wallace, chose to "stand his ground' at the door of the University of Alabama's Foster Auditorium to block two black students from entering to enroll. (History has recorded it as the notorious "stand in the schoolhouse door") This, after all,  was the guy who had promised  at his inauguration "segregation now, segregation  tomorrow, segregation forever."

Inasmuch as Wallace figured that he had the majority of voters on his side, it didn't take as much courage as, say, that of the man who stood in the path of tanks in Tianamen Square to block their passage to an uprising. (He was pulled away from probable death by onlookers.)

In Wallace's case, he finally stepped aside so that the students could enter after he was confronted by federal marshals.  But he managed to create his self-absorbed moment of his choosing.  He even ran for president four times.

Today, Wallace isn't around to look at the faces of the University of Alabama's basketball coach and players.  They would have been barred  before the Feds moved  in a half-century ago.    

Like Wallace, Rick' Scott's 15 minutes of defiance will eventually be exhausted for all but the historians. His elections supervisors in all 67 counties have now  pulled out of the game.  Just one more example of how Tea Party Republicans are creating havoc wherever they go.  For Scott, it all depends on how he wants to be remembered when his politician days are behind him.  

1 comment:

David Hess said...

Scott's GOP allies in Congress, of course, dragged the U.S. Attorney General before a Judiciary committee this week and assailed his efforts to enforce citizens' rights to vote in the several states that are trying to suppress those rights, most notably the states of Texas, Florida and South Carolina. In Wallace's case, he at least had the gumption to describe what he did as "segregation." This crowd tries to describe its devious motive as a move to protect the sanctity of the ballot box from impostors, despite ample evidence that voter fraud is practically non-existent in U.S. elections. The real fraud is being perpetrated by the advocates of suppression.