In 1963, when the vilest of structural systems denied blacks the right to vote in the South, groups like the NAACP devoted enormous resources to enfranchise the disenfranchised. Civil Rights groups like the NAACP focused on voter registration drives during the Freedom Summer of 1964. They took people to register to vote. They fought to overcome the most entrenched, most racist, most violent barriers to the ballot box by real tangible action with real voters.
Fast forward to 2012.
Today, the NAACP complains that voter ID laws are the modern version of Jim Crow. Set aside this laughable and disproportionate analogy for a moment and ask more important questions:
How much effort is the NAACP devoting to getting people these free photo IDs? How many dollars, or even pennies, is the NAACP expending to give people free rides to get their free IDs? How active is the NAACP in overcoming the “new” Jim Crow as they were the old, real, Jim Crow?
Is the NAACP picking people up who don’t have cars to drive them to get their photo IDs? Is there any courage to be found, nay, any on-the-ground action to be found on the part of the civil rights groups complaining about the “new” Jim Crow like the action they displayed in July 1964?
Perhaps there is. Perhaps not. Perhaps, instead, we have very different civil rights organizations than the ones that existed in 1964. Then, they were about accomplishment, action, and achievement. Today, it seems they are about something else.
Or maybe the NAACP 2012 really knows that photo voter ID isn’t worth spending real money, real energy on the ground to combat. Maybe rides to get those free IDs aren’t the best use of NAACP resources like the rides to the registration offices were in 1964.
If someone sends me the link to any NAACP, Advancement Project, or Project Vote effort to drive people to get their free state-issued photo ID, I will post it. If there is a hotline to call to get a free ride, or a free birth certificate offered by the civil rights groups, I will post it. If someone sends me the link to any effort by these groups to overcome the “new Jim Crow” of photo-voter ID by offering real tangible assistance to its “victims” (rather than rhetoric and complaints about legislative policies) I will post it.
Until that happens, it seems we have more evidence that the civil rights “movement” is not what it once was. In 1964, it was about overcoming barriers by any legal means necessary. In 2012, it just might be more about donations.