“A Blast From the Jim Crow Past”: Hillary Clinton and Voting Rights in Alabama

Today, the nation will be treated to wall-to-wall coverage of Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the House panel to grandstand about her email to investigate her role in the wake of the 2012 Benghazi, Libya attack that killed four people, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

I associate myself with Senator Bernie Sanders’ sentiments: I’m tired of hearing about her emails, too.

So before today’s media frenzy, I offer a part of a speech made by Secretary Clinton on an issue that doesn’t garner nearly the airtime it should: the assault on voting rights–this time, in Alabama.

Courtesy ABC 33/40

Voting is a sacred part of any democracy. SACRED. Barriers to voting are barriers to democracy. You can’t have a democracy without the freedom to choose one’s elected representatives.

I thought the Secretary did a good job here by personalizing the issue and using passion to deliver her message.

And I am glad she used the speech to spotlight this issue. The shameful closing of 31 driver’s license offices in 31 counties–ones where African-Americans are the majority of registered voters–should raise alarm bells. Indeed, it seems to be quite a “blast from the Jim Crow past.”

I’d love to believe this idea, ostensibly a cost-cutting move, had no discriminatory intent. It surely has a discriminatory effect. And history is full of examples that Alabama is a leopard that will not change its spots unless compelled to do so.

The House should hold hearings to expose the weakening of voting rights in so many states and explore ways to strengthen voting rights nationwide.

But I won’t hold my breath. Instead, I will watch her speech.

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