Expanding the war on terror to Iran and Syria
Poland's legal ostracization of former spies

Voting Rights Act: Forty years of American Freedom

Onemanonevote This morning I watched President Bush's presentation to the NAACP. Now it is not an exaggeration to say that Bush's policies in the last 5.5 years has exacerbated many of the "problems" that affect the African American community, which stem from the lack of economic justice in the US.

Bush's writer took him through the 500 years or so of oppression of black people, starting with the Founding Fathers not being the only one who built America, but also the slaves. It is harrowing to hear your history being told by someone you know does not empathize with that history. Its like he was saying all the right things you are supposed to say about African American history, mentioning Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King Jr, but leaving out Malcolm X or Marcus Garvey, but it had no meaning.

What was fascinating to hear is the audience response to Bush's messages. While his claims about the persistent existence of racism received lots of applause and a couple of "amens," his outlining of his policies for No Child Left Behind, AIDS in the Africana community, and unemployment met with few polite claps to dead silence. He was being heckled during the last 5 minutes of his speech. He even seemed to be given a nudge to return to the discussion of the extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Mohammed, my husband, said that one of the things he loves about African Americans is they are the only group in America who could tell the President to hurry up. This is because we have heard it all before, only the Native Americans have a longer string of broken promises.

What I love about African Americans is that we are the one people who, given a history of soul-crushing oppression, survived with our humanity in tact, and more importantly we took that history and hope to advocate for a better world for all regardless of race, ethnicity religion, gender, creed, and national origin.

I always say that I am one of the first generations of African Americans to really be born free. It is a constant vigil to maintain that freedom, in which the extention of the Voting Rights Act is a fine step.


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