OXFORD — Joe Biden is yet to match Donald Trump on hyperbole, half-truths and outright lies, but he seems to be working on it.
Likening recent voting rights legislation in the state of Georgia to Jim Crow laws that made racial segregation legal in the South from post-Reconstruction days to the middle of the 20th century is an example.
The term “Jim Crow” refers to repressive laws and customs used to restrict the rights of Blacks. It derives from an 1800s minstrel show.
Say what you will about the Georgia voting law restrictions, here is one indisputable fact: The same rules apply to everyone.
It may be argued that they will discourage more Blacks than whites or more Democrats than Republicans from voting. But the fact is no one will be denied the right to vote because of skin color, which was the case under real Jim Crow customs in much of the South prior to 1960.
People too young to recall those days should read the book “Right to Revolt,” by Patricia Michelle Boyett, which chronicles “The Crusade for Racial Justice in Mississippi’s Central Piney Woods,” primarily Forrest and Jones counties.
The book points out what people as old as I can recall. When I first registered to vote in Forrest County, all I had to do to pass a literacy test was copy a couple of lines from the state constitution to demonstrate I could write. At the same time, Blacks with doctorate degrees were being failed on the literacy test because they couldn’t interpret the constitution to the satisfaction of a circuit clerk whose goal was never to register a Black voter.
The politicians aren’t the only ones being hypocritical over the Georgia voting laws.
Major League Baseball relocated this year’s All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in protest of the Georgia legislation, a move backed by Biden.
Atlanta has a Black population of slightly more than 50%, while Denver’s Black population is under 10%. Wonder how that move is benefiting Black people, especially vendors, restaurant and hotel workers and others who might have profited from the All- Star game?
The 2019 game was played in Cleveland, Ohio, where one writer opined, “absentee voters must have ID to vote by mail, where votes cast in the wrong precinct aren’t counted, and where there are limits on ballot drop-box locations.” What seemed to be OK in Ohio isn’t in Georgia.
An opinion piece in Fortune magazine by Mary-Hunter McDonnell, associate professor of management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, is highly critical of the new voting regulations in Georgia.
But she also notes how corporate executives are caught in the cross-fire between the progressive culture and capitalism.
McDonnell wrote: “Unsurprisingly, the (Georgia) law has inspired loud protests, particularly from progressives and the members of Black and low-income communities whose rights the law has, by design, most restricted. Perhaps more surprisingly, some of the loudest champions of this progressive backlash are the state’s largest public companies, including Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, whose leaders have issued strongly worded rebukes of the legislation, calling it disappointing, ‘unacceptable,’ and inconsistent with their core corporate values.”
She adds that “in crafting their social strategy, firms attempt to attract and appeal to the next generation of stakeholders. These are millennials who are largely progressive and who, more so than prior generations, value companies that share their values. As customers, millennials are more likely to buy a company’s products when its CEO advocates policy positions they agree with.”
But, she adds in another paragraph, “in crafting their political strategy, however, companies have historically prioritized preferential tax treatment and loose corporate regulation. For this reason, most of firms’ considerable political expenditures have gone to support conservative politicians and organizations that advance conservative fiscal policy goals.”
In other words, the corporations helped fund the campaigns of the Georgia politicians who enacted the new voting regulations the corporations now condemn.
- Charles M. Dunagin is the retired editor and publisher of the Enterprise-Journal in McComb. He lives in Oxford.