My Worst Nightmare

Many things bother me at the moment:  Those who are actively rejecting the COVID vaccine; the determined obstruction by the Republican Party in Congress; climate change and those who refuse to so much as lift a finger to help reverse decades of man-made damage; wealthy people not paying their fair share in taxes; the ignorance of those who still believe in the former guy’s Big Lie, and the list goes on … and on.  However, the one thing that is keeping me awake nights, is bothering me more than any other single issue in this nation, that has made me contemplate seeking a new country to call home, is the current push for voter suppression and the fact that Congress and the Courts are doing NOTHING to stop states from attempting to move this nation back to the days of Jim Crow.

If you share my concerns, I hope you’ll take a minute to read Charles Blow’s latest column regarding voting rights … or should I say lack thereof …


Welcome to Jim Crow 2.0

By Charles M. Blow

Opinion Columnist

In the wake of the Civil War, liberals in the North went about establishing Reconstruction, passing the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, greatly expanding the rights of Black people in America, and putting severe restrictions on Southern states before they could be readmitted to the Union.

But of course, the Northern liberals soon grew impatient with and tired of dealing with Reconstruction and the racial issues in the South. At the same time, racial terror was regaining strength in the region.

After Reconstruction was allowed to fail, the last remaining federal troops — who had helped protect Black people from the terrorists — were withdrawn from the South. Even though there was a large percentage of Black voters in many of these states — and Black voters were the majority in some — the terrorists were able to significantly reduce that voter participation through intimidation and violence.

In Mississippi, where Black voters were the overwhelming majority, this suppression succeeded well enough that in 1890 the state called a constitutional convention to write white supremacy into the DNA of the state and to restrict the Black vote.

Only one Black delegate was invited to the convention.

When Mississippi established its Jim Crow Constitution, it didn’t submit it to the public for a vote. Instead, it simply declared that “This Constitution, adopted by the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, shall be in force and effect from and after this the first day of November, A.D. 1890.”

If it had gone before the people, Black voters would have surely voted it down.

Because the Constitution was not put before the voters, there was some question about its validity, but that was put to rest in 1892, when, as The New York Times reported, “The Supreme Court today settled the point, which was made in a contested election case, holding that the Constitutional Convention was the embodiment of the sovereignty of the people, and that it was competent for it to put into effect the new Constitution without submission to be voted on.”

Without the courts or Congress stepping in to protect voter rights, Mississippi served as the shining beacon of a way forward, and state after state in the South followed, copying the Mississippi example and calling state constitutional conventions of their own, establishing Jim Crow in the South.

The racist South may have fallen in defeat in the Civil War, but it rose in victory in the ballot war.

Once Jim Crow was established, Washington was in no hurry to dismantle it. Liberals simply worked around it. For decades, they simply accommodated Southern racists so as not to offend them and to retain the possibility of earning their votes.

Black voters in the region, disenfranchised and therefore disempowered, were essentially written out of the political calculus.

It would take more than seven decades before Congress would fully restore voting rights for Black people in the South. So, a 30-year-old Black voter in Mississippi who was disenfranchised in 1890 very likely died never having cast another ballot.

These voter suppression efforts were so effective and so emboldening that they even led to a movement — though unsuccessful — to repeal the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed Black men the right to vote.

In 1903, Representative John S. Williams of Mississippi, a proponent of the repeal, called the 15th Amendment “one of the greatest crimes in political history.”

Fast forward to the present, when Donald Trump is calling his election loss “the greatest fraud in the history of our country from an electoral standpoint,” in part because it was made possible by the votes of Black and brown people.

Most of Trump history was a failure and embarrassment, but one of its great ignoble successes is that it is ushering in Jim Crow 2.0.

Just as in the 1890s, the courts and Congress are not doing much to stop the march of voter suppression. In 1890, Benjamin Harrison, a business-minded liberal who believed in Black people’s right to vote, was in office. He endorsed the federal elections bill that would protect Black people from raging voter suppression in the South.

The bill passed in the House but languished and died in the Senate — even though liberals controlled both chambers — in part because those liberals were more focused on other issues.

Then, as The Washington Post reported, around the time of the Mississippi constitutional convention, “African Americans from 40 counties in Mississippi had protested to President Benjamin Harrison, but he declined to intervene.”

President Biden hasn’t declined to intervene, but he has dragged his feet and not used the full force of the bully pulpit and still hasn’t given a full-throated endorsement of ending the filibuster to protect voting rights.

America is having a déjà vu moment, reliving in real time a horrendous history of more than a century ago, and it is impossible to understand how Democrats in Washington don’t see that.

There is no reason to believe that this round of voter suppression is the end of those efforts, and every reason to dread that any successful implementation of them would serve as an accelerant of further suppressive efforts.

Voter suppression is like an invasive weed. Either snatch it up by the root at the first sign of a sprig or it will spread, unchecked, and consume the whole garden.


I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a country that robs half of its people of the right to participate in government, the right to make their voices heard.

37 thoughts on “My Worst Nightmare

  1. Pingback: A View From North Of The Border by Jill Dennison – DEEZ – News about Art, Books & more

  2. Pingback: A View From North Of The Border | Filosofa's Word

  3. Pingback: My Worst Nightmare by Jill Dennison – DEEZ – News about Art, Books & more

    • I think too many people in this country haven’t paid enough attention to the lessons of history, or else they are so arrogant as to think, “It can’t happen here.” But oh yes, it CAN happen here … altogether too easily if we don’t remember history, if we don’t pay attention to what is happening under our very noses. Sigh. xx

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Jill, between the voting suppression efforts, the violent put downs and the incarcerated labor camps, economic slavery continued well beyond the end of the Civil War. Jim Crow was its means, the KKK its army. We read about what happened in Tulsa, but what happened in Wilmington, NC in 1898 was a coup to remove elected black leaders. Yet, the worse part is what happened every day, not only in the south, but elsewhere. For this, I must recommend listening to Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” or googling Emmitt Till. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have only a basic knowledge of Wilmington, but have listened to Billie Holiday’s song and have read a couple of books about Emmett Till. I don’t like the direction we’re heading in, my friend … don’t like it at all.

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      • Jill, we have so many real problems in this country, but because of a divisive wedge effort by the former president and his sycophants in the Republican party to garner white votes, we have to re-litigate the positive steps achieved. Rather than talk about our woefully behind infrastructure or the climate change worsened droughts that have put farm lands and people’s water needs at grave risk as well as exposing them to wildfires, we have to discuss issues invented to scare people. I am not perfect, but I do pay attention to bettering racial relations. I had not heard the term “Critical Race Theory” until only the last few years as it has been weaponized as a term to scare whites into not wanting to know our imperfect history. I put this squarely on the shoulders of the former president and his enablers and sycophants as that his modus operandi. To be frank, if we don’t know our history, we are destined to repeat our mistakes. The former president and his enablers are counting on that. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are spot-on in this, my friend. The divisiveness in this country is a huge distraction from addressing the critical things, such as climate change, education, etc. One of the cartoons on TokyoSand’s post yesterday said, regarding the teaching of events such as slavery & Jim Crow in the schools, “If we don’t let them teach it in the schools, then it never happened.” As you say, if we fail to learn the lessons of history, if we allow future generations to forget or whitewash the past, then we are destined to repeat them.

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  5. Pingback: THE HISTORY OF SYSTEMIC RACISM — WHAT WE ARE NOT TAUGHT IN CANADIAN SCHOOLS – Ideas From Outside the Boxes

  6. I’m right there with you Jill. I should say, ‘we’ are right there with you, meaning my wife, my daughters and I.

    Many years ago, Jen and I took our then very young daughters to Washington DC as an educational trip. It turned out to be educational for all of us since it was the first time we’d ever been there. Our trip was inspiring. Standing in front of the monuments, reading the inscriptions, walking through Arlington National Cemetery and watching the very solemn Changing Of The Guards at The Tombs Of The Unknowns brought it all home to us. We were inspired by what went into our nation and by the sacrifices made by great people to preserve it despite the turmoil and setbacks it endured.

    When we returned home, we all decided to do a fun family project to commemorate our trip to DC. We’d just had a new shed built in our backyard, and we decided to paint an American flag mural on it, using the large Veteran flag which once draped my father’s casket as a model. We measured carefully and drew it out, purchased some red, white and blue paint and we all did an amazing job.

    When Trump came to power, the meaning of our flag suddenly changed. American flags were seen flying next to Trump signs in front yards and from the backs of pickup trucks, along with confederate redneck and ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ flags. Our shed could be seen from our road, and to people driving past our house, our giant flag made us look like a family of racist sum’bitches. Jen became so sickened by the sight of our flag mural that she wanted to paint over it. I couldn’t bring myself to do that, remembering what it once meant to us. My wife made me put up a bean trellis in front of our flag mural to hide it. I didn’t argue and it’s hidden in shame to this day. I’ll be the first to tear down the trellis if our country ever emerges from its darkness.

    It’s amazing (in a terrible way) how the meaning of our flag has changed in our eyes, from something so honorable to something so dispicable. I have very little hope remaining that our flag will ever regain its original meaning. I won’t go without a fight, but face it, we’re not winning this cold civil war.

    Intelligence is not winning. Compassion and empathy are not winning. Hatred IS winning.

    2024 terrifies me.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks, Greg! I can certainly relate to Jen wanting to paint over the mural, for once Trump took office I removed the small flag stickers I had on my kitchen window and the bumper of my car. The longer he was in office, the more ashamed I became of what this country was becoming … or should I say, what this country had become. Trump is gone, I’m pleased and proud of President Biden, but … I’m still ashamed of this country, of the people who still believe that a narcissistic madman was the “best” president, who believe that their white skin makes them somehow better than others, and that the nation should be forced to believe as they do. So, my flag stickers have been replaced with Black Lives Matter stickers and will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future. No, my friend, we are not winning … not yet, anyway. And 2024 strikes fear in my heart as well. I don’t think there is a Republican candidate who can win honestly, but as we’ve seen … they don’t care if it’s honestly or not, as long as they gain/maintain power, and these new voter suppression laws are more than just voter suppression. They also put partisans in charge of overseeing and certifying elections. A very dangerous state of affairs. Sigh. Hope you and Jen are doing well! I’ve been a lousy correspondent, but I think of you often!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. In the middle of writing a damning comment about not only the USA, but also of the Canadian approach to the USA, my tablet suddenly shut down and over two hundred words were lost, probably more. Rather than try to repeat those comments here, I am going to write a post on my Ideas from Outside the Boxes blog, and have free reign at my thoughts and reactions to this post and it’s historical content.
    Thank you, Jill, and thank you, Mr. Blow, for this very revealing history.
    The question is, why did my tablet shut down when there was no technical reason? It had lots of power, and I did nothing to cause a breakdown. Does Word Press have a hidden program to limit the number of negative comments about White America in one place? This is not the first time this has happened, but now I am becoming paranoid. Something cut off my comment and wiped it out from the memory. I am becoming sore afraid.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I read your post a bit ago and commented there. Good post!

      Tablets will do that if they get a surge or something. I write all my posts in Word where my work is automatically backed up every few seconds. You might consider that, or if that’s not practical, manually back up your work every paragraph or so. No, I don’t think it’s a conspiracy 😉

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        • If you know it’s going to be a fairly long comment, I’d write it in Word and then copy it into the comment box in WP. I have started comments, had them disappear, but then when I open the comment box again, 9 times out of 10 the comment I started is still there.

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          • 9 times out of 10 is about my rate too, but it seems the 1 in 10 is almost always one that is near to my heart. My tablet does not have a Word program on it. And it won’t let me download free Word programs. Well, I can download them, but they never install properly. I’m just not technologically talented. My tablet controls me, not the other way around. I hate to admit this, but I avoided computers for the longest time. To me they were opening doors I thought should stay closed. By the time I began to realize that they could be used for useful things, I was already years behind. I have never caught up.ĺ

            Liked by 2 people

              • My desktop died on me three years ago. My laptop is over ten years old, and only works when it wants to. The problem is my laziness. The tablet allows me to lie comfortably in bed while I read and type. I swore I would never get a tablet, but Gail got one for herself, and I saw how portable it was. It is actually a lot easier to use with my hunt-and-peck typing style. But, no, it is not as stable as those other machines.
                My other problem is I no longer retain things as I did when younger. I could sit in school and read comic books and have a portion of my brain listen to what was going on in class, and remember it all at exam time. Now I can repeat a new process ten times, and not remember it the next day. Learning wS too simple for me, I never had to learn to work at it. Now, I have no capacity to learn. Go figure.
                But I did “manage” to find the re-blog button. I cannot see it on the post, but I hope you can.

                Liked by 1 person

            • I’m an advocate for not replacing things that ain’t broke. But I’m also an advocate for not putting up with tools that don’t do what they say on the tin. My advice would be to recycle your tablet and replace it with another computer (made by someone else).

              PS You don’t say what operating system your tablet runs. If it’s Windows, you should be able to Start > Run > notepad. It’s not Word (sometimes that’s a good thing), but it would allow you to save your comment text.

              Liked by 2 people

              • Never tried Note. But my copy and paste, or clipboard, doesn’t always work as it should. Also, I cannot afford to just “replace” the tools have. I am a senior living on a small fixed income, barely enough to live on. I do not have the luxury of changing tools every year, or as the next “new and improved generation” appears on the market. I make do with what I have for along as I can. That is reality for me.
                But thanks for the suggestions.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Yes, indeed, that is one of the challenges of our generation. The technologists’ incomes depend upon us all ‘upgrading’ our widgets on a regular basis, and fail to recognise that not everyone can afford to do so. It’s always driven me mad that those who design computer systems do so on the assumption that every. Single. User. Has access to the latest technology; they fail to acknowledge that. Most. Simply. Do. Not.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Nor do they care. Their “job” is to make people spend money on their products without thought to those less fortunate than they.
                    We are just finishing our 2021 Census in Canada. It started with the government asking everyone to complete their surveys online, as if everyone is naturally online. Now they are upset that not everyone filled out their surveys, and are threatening to fine those people who have not done so. They are making so many assumptions that it drives me batty. Not everyone can read. Not everyone can use a computer. Not everyone owns a computer. Not everyone is online. And not everyone wants to answer their overly-personal questions. This census is so different from previous ones. They are asking questions that 90% or more of respondents will be answering with NOs. They should be asking questions that 90% or more can answer YES.

                    Liked by 2 people

  8. I know the Constitution is not written thus but I’d like to see the Federal Government suspend the right of the offending states to hold any elections until the rights of the disenfranchised are reinstated in law.
    I’d also like to see a mask mandate with possible lock downs in any state where the virus is on the increase, especially if it’s one of the variants. It’s all well and good for the Sates to currently be able to do as they wish because they don’t want their rights to be trodden underfoot but they take away other people’s rights to live safely. Fine, if you don’ want to wear a mask, don’t, but stay isolated in your homes until the danger has passed and don’t bother the hospitals since they’ll be dealing with those who’ve tried to prevent the spread without being slfish.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 3 people

    • I fully agree with you about the right of states to even hold elections … if we did that, there would only be 8 states allowed to hold elections as of today!

      Los Angeles announced a full mask mandate regardless of vaccination status … I think that is the way to go, I think every state should have a similar mask mandate. But, they won’t. People are more concerned about what they think of as their “right” than they are the health of the population. As you say, if they don’t wish to wear a mask, they can stay home as I mostly do. This would be the quickest way to eradicate the new Delta variant, but I don’t think it stands a chance of happening, so … we will continue to see new cases and more deaths. Sigh.

      Cwtch

      Liked by 2 people

  9. There’s an unimaginable amount of, bigotry, despite what the scientific, proofs show, many people are still, absolutely, willing, to believe, something that’s, deeply, etched in, ingrained, inside their minds, and, they fail to, realize, that, this will, probably, bring about their, own, downfalls…

    Liked by 3 people

    • You’re right … it is taught to them from the cradle and unless we teach the value of diversity in our schools, this vicious circle is likely to continue. This is partly why some are so up in arms over the very idea of Critical Race Theory … they don’t want future generations to see the dark side of our history, but until they do, we are destined to continue our racist ways.

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