*** The following is adopted from a blog post TOC posted at move-on-up.org ***
Until just recently, TOC had always believed that Dems generally have the best interest of minorities at heart. Yes, they may manipulate and distort in order to protect themselves politically (whether it be general race-baiting or collecting funding from the NEA while blocking school choice for inner city school students or the like), but, all things being equal, TOC felt that Democrats would help minorities and not PURPOSEFULLY hurt them, even though that’s what their policies usually do in the end.
The theory of ‘plantation politics’, or the idea that you intentionally hurt minorities (i.e. push policies to keep them poor and dependent on government so that they have to vote one way to ensure their needs are met) for political reasons seemed like a conspiracy theory…at least until “voter suppression” became an issue.
Democrats are arguing that state laws requiring voter ID unfairly targets minorities since minorities disproportionately do not have passports and driver licenses. They say this is done purposefully in order to dissuade minorities from voting. Republicans in states that either recently put voter ID requirements in place or are considering such requirements are countering that there is a need to purge state voter rolls or ensure that non-citizens do no not vote illegally.
So what does the voter suppression “fight” have to do with plantation politics? TOC will answer that question with another one. Why is it that Democrats are only concerned about the plight of those with no state-issued ID when it comes time to vote? Consider Attorney General Eric Holder, who has stated his objection to Florida’s attempt to update its voter rolls. Eric Holder has time to expand his role to politics – speaking to black pastors on behalf of Obama’s re-election efforts – but has never found it necessary to perform as an activist for disenfranchised blacks with his power. If you consider the list of things you cannot do without a state-issued ID (own a business, apply for federal or state aid, cash a check, catch a flight, ride Amtrak, drive a car, open any bank accounts, or even visit the Justice Department). High school students cannot take a college-entrance exam in most places without a state-issued ID. According to a study quoted in a testimony to a Congressional committee, as many as one-fourth of African Americans are unable to do any of the above things due to lack of sufficient ID.
So why is it that Holder and many other politicians are only concerned about the ability of these disenfranchised people to vote? Their ability to participate in other crucial economic activities is so limited. Why do they only see this as a political issue and not an economic empowerment issue?
To put it simply, all of the things that an African-American citizen needs in order to better himself or herself – opening an account to start a small business, taking a test to go to a college, even cashing a check from a job – are less important than the need of African-Americans having the ability to vote for Democrats. Of course, since self-empowerment is not important to Democrats – given their silence on ensuring the 25% of blacks that cannot better themselves with the lack of ID – it is difficult for TOC not to consider plantation politics is at play.
Are blacks only good for collecting government checks and voting for Democrats to ensure those checks keep coming? As an African-American, TOC surely does not think so. Do democrats think this way? TOC can only come to that conclusion. When a Democrat sees the one-fourth statistic and other startling stats in the report and is solely moved by the “disenfranchisement” of voting with relatively little concern for the other ramifications that come from the lack of IDs, it is clear that the Democrat sees the disenfranchised African American through a solely political lens. More specifically, the disenfranchised African American is a resource – an automatic vote to increase political power – as opposed to a constituent whose life needs to be improved . . . or is even worth improving.
While this seems harsh (as does the whole accusation of plantation politics in general), when considered against all activities Democrats take that restrict black ascension (denial of school choice in order to appease the NEA and politicians at the local level in the inner cities, seeing lack of state-issued IDs as a purely political issue and not one of economic empowerment, etc.), the accusation of plantation politics is compelling. TOC hopes that Democrats do not truly want to hold back African Americans, but it gets harder and harder to see things otherwise.