In a past national election, a uniformed hate group stood outside a polling place with a two-foot-long police nightstick in hand, screaming racial epithets and threats in a successful effort to prevent citizens from voting and poll watchers from doing their jobs. The Department of Justice investigated, the career counsel approved the institution of a civil complaint, and one was brought.
The defendants offered up no defense. They failed even to appear in court. The federal district court judge entered default judgments against the defendants. Later he ordered the Justice Department to file motions for the entry of default judgments, formally acknowledging they had won.
At this time, over the objections of career counsel, Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli ordered the case dropped.
Is this an historic case illustrating life under the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow?
No, it occurred in the 2008 election and the group involved was the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (NBPP).
Was there some dispute about the facts? No. Here’s a YouTube of the incident so you can see some of what occurred yourself.
The U.S. Civil Rights Commission, charged with overseeing such matters, examined the evidence. In a letter to the Justice Department, they said that this act caused “great confusion, since the NBPP members were caught on video blocking access to the polls, and physically threatening and verbally harassing voters during the Nov. 4, 2008, general election. ”
The attorney general who engaged in this inexplicable act was appointed by President Barack Obama, who was sold to the voters as a post-racial figure and a constitutional law scholar.
In 2004, the misnamed left-wing outfit People for the American Way (PFAW) put forth a report entitled “The Shadow of Jim Crow,” which risibly confused efforts to prevent obvious voter fraud with intimidation and suppression. It concluded on this pot-banging note:
Robbing voters of their right to vote and to have their vote counted undermines the very foundations of our democratic society. Politicians, political strategists, and party officials who may consider voter intimidation and suppression efforts as part of their tactical arsenal should prepare to be exposed and prosecuted. State and federal officials, including Justice Department and national political party officials, should publicly repudiate such tactics and make clear that those who engage in them will face severe punishment.
Maybe PFAW missed the story, so I checked the NAACP website. I didn’t see a single thing criticizing the politicization of the Department of Justice in a way which undermines every citizen’s right to fair and free elections without intimidation.
Lest you suppose that only whites were intimidated and that might explain the NAACP’s decision not to get involved in this matter, the Washington Times account observes that blacks were also intimidated by the conduct at the polling place:
A Justice Department memo also says that a black couple, Larry and Angela Counts, both Republican poll watchers, told authorities they were scared, worried about their safety and concerned about leaving the polling place at the end of the day because of the actions of the NBPP members. Mrs. Counts said the NBPP members called him a “race traitor,” the memo said.
I even checked the ACLU site, since surely the right to vote free of fear is a fundamental civil liberty. No mention of this matter, though they express strong concern and disagreement with the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing Indiana to require voter identification at the polls.
Surely, the Department’s action — ordered by an Obama appointee and major fundraiser — which broke in the same week that the president blundered by coming down on the side of Henry Louis Gates and his racial profiling charge, destroys the claim that this is a post-racial president.
He and his appointees are turning out to be motivated by a benighted view of America which has not changed since 1960, even though American society — in a way unseen in the history of the world — has indeed fundamentally changed. The regressive views of those who style themselves “progressive” are patently absurd and surely will contribute to the president’s falling popularity. He is not what voters were led to believe.
But his post-racial claim is not the only thing being discredited this week. The high-minded civic posture of PFAW, the ACLU, and the NAACP also are undercut by their inaction in the face of this politically motivated failure to punish a clear violation of the Voting Rights Act — an act that will surely lead to more such conduct by similar groups in Democratic controlled areas of the country.
If PFAW, the ACLU, and the NAACP are copacetic with the inexplicable conduct of Obama’s Justice Department, they deserve to have all their claims about voter rights treated with derision as the quite obvious Democratic party propaganda that it is. They care no more for the fair treatment of voters than Obama cared about fair treatment for the Cambridge policeman.
Perhaps in honor of the cop Obama unfairly maligned we ought to call this kind of racial discrimination “Jim Crowley.”