By Lafe Tolliver, Esq
A time traveler returning from viewing the celebrations of the newly freed slaves in Texas in June of 1865 and which joyous occasions morphed into the Texas holiday of Juneteenth, would probably crash their time machine if they were to now monitor the recent Republican political knifings of voting rights in America.
True enough, the passed and the yet to be passed voter suppression bills in overwhelmingly Republican legislatures will apply to white voters as well. But you are sorely deluded if you believe that the passages of such “earmarked” legislation was without a sordid racial component.
A current undertaking of voter suppression laws that are being concocted and widely promulgated by white GOP politicos whose intentions are to hamstring minority voters for the upcoming and all-important 2022 midterms, is in full bloom.
At the outset, our time traveler would have read and studied the morning after election charts and surveys which have strongly evidenced that there was no voter fraud in the recent national election which turned out to pasture the originator of the BIG LIE, Donald Trump.
Our astute time traveler would have marveled at reading news events which show a divided nation in an uproar over a crafted lie that Donald Trump was the victim of a stolen election.
And when the flummoxed time traveler dug deeper into the news, he would have been aghast to learn that the former president was using the race card as his means to gin up his rabid base to hoodwink them into thinking that, they too, were victims of a political crime.
If Juneteenth meant the arrival of good news of freedom to slaves in Texas, the time traveler would have noticed that in present day America, the political freedom of the descendants of those former slaves was again in imminent jeopardy.
White America’s preoccupation with the voting rights of African Americans was unabated both then after 1865 and now insofar as this intense assault has a disproportionate impact upon people of color.
Juneteenth was the final freedom declaration to the Texas slaves who were initially prevented from hearing about the Emancipation Proclamation two and half years earlier and the fall of the confederacy and the subsequent end of their tyranny.
Yet, elements of that same confederacy, now cloaked in and under different names, is manifesting its racial vitriolic dogma via the cultural wars of the GOP.
The GOP, now home to discontented groups of white nationalists, white supremacists and other discordant and alienated white people, has become the ideological battering bullhorn to repeat the falsehood that former President Donald Trump was a victim of a political hijacking.
Our astute time traveler, being a voracious reader of American history, would have discovered that throughout the history of this country, lies about people of color regarding their intellect, sexual appetites and supposed inability to form viable communities were constantly propagated in the news media.
The current historical beneficiaries of Juneteenth are suffering the same fates of their forebears at the hands of defeated Southerners who used the Jim Crow laws to try to recapture black people and place them back in their place, to wit: chronic and debilitating servitude.
The practitioners of Jim Crow laws employed every device known to man to portray the newly freed slave as an imminent danger to the economy of the South, to the purity of the white race and a demonized sexual predator of white women.
The time traveler, reading the newspapers and watching entertainment programming of that time, would have been led to believe that black people were the sole impediments to progress for the South and, as such, they needed to be corralled and politically neutered for their own good.
As it was then, so it is now being attempted by the GOP and their core base, to devise schemes by which the minority voter will be disengaged from the political process and in that vacuum, white politicos with their race-based agendas can step in and rule the roost.
Jerrymandering and “packing the courts” with marginally qualified white judges does the bidding of the GOP; and if any GOP leader should stray from the provided talking points, that deviator is termed a traitor or a distraction and thus is banned from the party or is pilloried for any statements that question the wisdom of the GOP leadership.
In exasperation, our time traveler would possibly wonder when America, if ever, would live by its lofty words of freedom and liberty for all, or was such jargon, simply sparkling words that tickled the fancy of the uber rich who initially drafted that lofty preamble to the US Constitution?
When last seen, our time traveler was heading into the Capitol to watch the craftiness of GOP senate leaders bob and weave at their attempts to show their frail allegiance to the flag while still holding out pieces of political cheese for the former president to continue to nibble on and find support for his egregious conduct.
Contact Lafe Tolliver at email@example.com
1979 June 07; Texas Passes Bill Becoming the First State to Make Juneteenth a Holiday
National Network of Black Museums to Release Their Second Virtual Juneteenth: Lift Every Voice and Sing
What Is Juneteenth? How Did It Start? What Is Its Legacy?
On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed