And so I finally return to my chair, and my blues song, and begin with this quote, after too long of a hiatus.
“One of the things we radiate to the world is the importance of our wonderful, often messy, but free and fair democratic system, and the elections that undergird it. So when there is an effort by a foreign nation-state to mess with that, to destroy that, to corrupt that, it is very, very serious. It threatens what is America. And if any Americans are part of that effort it’s a very serious matter. And so you would expect the F.B.I. to want to want to understand, is that so? And, if so, who did what?”
(James Comey. FBI Director)
The above quote speaks for itself. James Comey, current Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigaton, is stating clearly and without reservation that the electoral process is important, and destruction of it, or corruption of it, must be taken seriously.
One wonders how Comey feels then about the disenfranchisement and continued attempts to disenfranchise African-American voters in election after election. I know voting rights is not necessarily his area to enforce but he is the F.B.I. Director and if someone commits a crime, he can enforce the law.
While the evidence is not yet complete from the election, voter suppresion is real in the U.S. and it was very real in several states. Here is what Ari Berman reported of voter suppresion in Wisconsin immediately following the election:
“For example, 27,000 votes currently separate Trump and Clinton in Wisconsin, where 300,000 registered voters, according to a federal court, lacked strict forms of voter ID. Voter turnout in Wisconsin was at its lowest levels in 20 years and decreased 13 percent in Milwaukee, where 70 percent of the state’s African-American population lives, according to Daniel Nichanian of the University of Chicago.”
The Atlantic reports on similar treachery in North Carolina.
Perspective here is important as well. Voter suppression, and downright stopping African-Americans from voting is American history. The election of George W. Bush in 2000 is tainted by ballots of African-Americans in Florida that were tossed from the election.
Moreover, people were shot and killed so black people in America could vote. It is a real story of madness and evil and the worst of this nation.
Comey knows this history even if he does not respect it.
Yet, Comey is not in position to shape the future of voting rights despite his professed love of our free democratic electoral process. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is in charge of enforcing the Voting Rights Act, has that duty and he has demonstrated he stands with the bigoted suppressors of voting rights. This doesn’t mean what is being done in these states and elections is legal because it isn’t. It is also on some level — evil. Or Lyndon Johnson said over 50 years ago on voting rights for all:
“There is no moral issue. It is wrong — deadly wrong — to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country.”