I realize you have to be living under a rock in the U.S. to not know that yesterday, was Juneteenth (a portmanteau of “June Nineteenth”). Still, I feel compelled to explain that said date marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. (See, Texas has always been kinda horrible when it comes to basic human decency). The arrival of said troops came ~2.5 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The day honors the end to slavery in the United States.
GreyNoise (my employer) — like an increasing number of organizations in the U.S. — observes Juneteenth as a company-wide holiday, and I’ll be spending part of today pondering that word, “end”, in the last sentence of the previous paragraph.
There are two major political parties in the U.S. and one just decided, this past Juneteenth weekend, we no longer need the Voting Rights Act of 1965. March 7th of that year was a Sunday, known today as “Bloody Sunday” (it turns out there have been far too many of those kinds of Sundays). It was a day when Alabama state troopers beat & whipped voting rights advocates with nightsticks, and also used chemical weapons on them, in an effort to keep in place discriminatory practices that were extensively used to prevent African Americans from exercising their right to vote.
The act banned literacy tests for voting, required federal oversight over voter registration in areas where less than 50 percent of the non-white population had registered to vote, and authorized the U.S. attorney general to investigate the use of poll taxes in state and local elections. (In 1964, the 24th Amendment made poll taxes illegal in federal elections; poll taxes in state elections were banned in 1966 by the U.S. Supreme Court.)
I’m fairly certain (~95%) — regardless of the party in power — we’ll see the current Supreme Court overturn the state poll tax decision within the next 5-10 years (thankfully, constitutional amendments are a bit harder to wipe way). You can definitely say goodbye to the voting rights act if Republicans gain control of Congress and especially if they regain Congress and the POTUS seat.
Both of those events will make it possible for ~21 states to become even more evil than they already are, and set the stage for a few, awful decades.
I know gas is expensive.
I know food is more expensive than ever.
I know some shelves are bare.
I know lines are longer.
I know we’re still in a pandemic.
I also know that I don’t want to see the devolution of America back to when it was so “great” that we cheered on police when they were treating innocent, peaceful citizens like armed, enemy combatants, and ensured the reign of evil men by making it impossible for large swaths of Americans to vote.
In the fall of 2022 and fall of 2024, we’ll know if we, as a nation, care more about convenience than conscience.
Which side of Juneteenth will you be on when the time comes to choose the path forward?