Common Sense: Your Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds, Mr. President
By Bob Eschliman
So, like all of the rest of you, I watched the live coverage of the Nebraska primary election with baited breath.
What?! You didn’t watch?
Well, then, I suppose you don’t know about the latest move by the U.S. Travesty of Justice Department. Attorney General Eric Holder has sent “observers” to monitor the election in Douglas County, because of a “controversial” plan that closed about half of the precinct polling places there.
According to a report from The Omaha World-Herald, the observers will “monitor the primary election in Douglas County… to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other federal voting rights statutes [which prohibit] discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group… the observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations… and Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.”
If you ask me, it all sounds a tad Third World-ish, like when they send in United Nations “observers” to make sure the voters in a country that barely has running water aren’t disenfranchised by an evil dictator. Perhaps it’s a bit heavy-handed for a primary election here in the U.S.
But, what do I know?
Well, for starters, I know this isn’t the first time the Obama/Holder Justice Department has flexed its muscles with regard to elections — especially for folks in Nebraska. You see, the Justice Department has “observers” in Colfax County, as well, but for entirely different reasons.
As the result of a consent decree from a federal judge this past February, the “observers” in Colfax County are in place to ensure voters’ civil rights aren’t violated. What civil rights might I be talking about? Well, their right to not know a lick of English.
[screeching record needle sound inserted here]
That is correct, my friends, you read those words correctly. In Colfax County — or anywhere in the United States for that matter — you don’t have to know any English in order to vote. If the Census Bureau detects your county has a large “minority language population,” the taxpayers there must pay to ensure the non-English-speaking voters are able to read the election materials in whatever their native language might be.
Never mind what Federal law says about the requirements for citizenship.
In the case of Colfax County, there is a very large Spanish-speaking population, many members of which apparently are U.S. citizens. But, because speaking English is such a huge imposition to them, a civil rights attorney with the U.S. Justice Department sued the county to ensure it will be in compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In addition to the presence of “observers,” the consent decree requires the presence of trained bilingual election officials in all polling places in the City of Schuyler on Election Day. Colfax County has already hired a bilingual elections coordinator — another requirement of the consent decree — to assist the county clerk in implementing the Spanish language elections program.
Colfax County must also establish an advisory group of interested community members and organizations to assist the county in determining how to most effectively provide election materials, information, and assistance to Spanish-speaking voters.
To me, it all just seems a bit hypocritical. This is the same Injustice Department that refused to review evidence of voter intimidation in Philadelphia during the 2008 General Election.
For those who don’t remember, there was verifiable video evidence — still available on YouTube right now — of a group of New Black Panthers standing at the entrance to a polling station. But, of course, they were just there to defend poor black people who were being intimidated by “angry white people” from voting for the inevitable President Obama.
Nah, you’re right. There’s absolutely nothing hypocritical going on. In one case, you have black men keeping angry white guys from intimidating poor black folk at the polls. In the other, you have the government keeping angry white guys from preventing non-English-speaking folk from voting.
If you’re reading this, thank a teacher. If you’re reading it in English, thank a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine.
Bob Eschliman is an Iowa journalist who has been covering government and politics for nearly 14 years. He also is founder of The Ben Franklin Journalism Blog, which seeks greater citizen interaction and involvement with the media.