There is a nostalgic yearning among the left to harken us back to the 1960s, where noble liberals battled injustices perpetrated by racist, misogynist stalwarts of the establishment. Of course, they don’t want to resurrect the Jim Crow laws; rather, it’s the glorification of the struggle itself they wish to rekindle. It’s almost as if there’s a sadness amongst many within this generation of the Left that they were denied the conditions that would propel them into becoming today’s Freedom Riders.
The radical left sees a world of two classes: the exploiters, and those they exploit. Leftists envision themselves as the champions of the latter and measure their own self-worth by the degree to which they fight against this injustice, be it real or manufactured.
It’s analogous to the trained warrior pining for an armed conflict so that he may ride in with the Calvary to save the day. Nothing can be more frustrating to this militant than to live in a time of peace.
This phenomenon helps explain why so many on the left simply refuse to concede that things have actually gotten better in our nation for minorities, women, and gays.
I saw something similar as a county executive on Long Island in the early part of the decade. Well intentioned environmental groups waged a commendable effort in educating the public on the need to preserve open spaces. And the public responded by allowing itself to be taxed to the tune of $1 billion for the cause.
But it never seem to be enough for the most ardent advocates. In time, I realized it was because many of these advocates simply wanted to stay relevant. A concession on their part that the programs accomplished their intended goal would destroy their fundraising abilities and leave them unemployed.
Which interestingly brings us to the issue of voting rights in America. The ability for a citizen to cast a vote in America today, regardless of race or class, has never been easier. Yet, listening to the Left, one would think that millions of Americans wanting to cast a ballot have been denied by racist state legislators seeking electoral advantage.
The liberal establishment has bought into this nonsense. Take, for instance, the screaming headline from The Washington Post editorial: “Voter suppression is the civil rights issue of this era.” This wasn’t an article from 1967; it was from 2017. The civil rights issue of this era? Really? In the Jim Crow era, Blacks were subjected to literacy tests and poll taxes. Today, citizens in most states can vote not just in one place or time, but by mail weeks prior to Election Day.
One of the more outlandish talking points of the left revolves around a 2013 Supreme Court decision on the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Listening to MSNBC, one would think that the Roberts’ Court invalidated protections against the aforementioned poll tax. All the court did was state that specific jurisdictions, previously subject to federal oversight dating back to the 60s, had evolved to the point where they would no longer have to first get approval from the feds before implementing election law. This did not mean that they could implement unconstitutional measures. Any law enacted that was opposed by advocacy groups could still be challenged in court, as they could in any other locality.
Ironically, many southern states have voting procedures far more liberal than in progressive New York. As a white guy from the Empire State, I never had an opportunity other than the first Tuesday in November to cast my vote in a general election. Yet, in the state of North Carolina, liberal advocates were charging racism when officials sought to allow for early voting on 10 days, rather than 17. If you can’t employ the effort to vote in a ten day period or to mail in an absentee ballot, then the fault lies not with the government.
I recently glanced upon another alarming headline which purported to illustrate various examples of how votes were being suppressed in America. What was the liberal Brennan Center’s idea of voter suppression? One was the concept of voter identification laws. The desire of Americans to ensure that only fellow citizens vote in elections is somehow being made analogous to a literacy test. And don’t tell me poor folks can’t afford ID. They are supplied free of charge and are necessary to be eligible for social services.
Another was the purging of dead and inactive voters from the registration list. This has been the practice for ages, yet is suddenly being portrayed as a guised attempt to disenfranchise minorities.
The one legitimate concern emerging is whether there are enough polling places to prevent unnecessarily long lines. If the Feds want to get involved with that issue, so be it. But let’s please stop the nonsense suggesting that any citizen in this country who wants to vote can’t. Despite the hysteria from the left and the media, it’s never been easier for Americans to vote than it is in the here and now.
Steve Levy, former New York state assemblyman, Suffolk County executive, and candidate for governor, is now a distinguished political pundit. Levy’s commentary has been published in such media outlets as Washington Times, Washington Examiner, New York Post, Albany Times, Long Island Business News, and City & State Magazine. He hosted “The Steve Levy Radio Show” on Long Island News Radio, and is a frequent guest on high profile television and radio outlets. Few on the political scene possess Levy’s diverse background. He’s been both a legislator and executive, and served on both the state and local levels — as both a Democrat and Republican. Levy published Bias in the Media, an analysis of his own experience, after switching parties, with the media’s leftward slant. Levy is currently Executive Director of the Center for Cost Effective Government, a fiscally conservative think tank. He is also President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. To learn more about his past work and upcoming appearances, visit www.stevelevy.info. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now