Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘Civil rights’

Bad move by interim government of Honduras

Posted by sanityinjection on September 28, 2009

If you’re the interim government of Honduras, trying to convince your own citizens and the international community that the removal of the former President was necessary and constitutional because he is a dangerous, mentally unstable Communist and gain their backing for new elections, maybe suspending constitutional civil rights isn’t the best plan:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090928/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_honduras_coup

Up until this point, my sympathies have been entirely with the interim government of Roberto Micheletti. Micheletti, backed by the leaders of Honduras’ legislature, the supreme court, and the military, deposed and replaced former President Maneul Zelaya – a buddy of Venezuelan thug-in-chief Hugo Chavez – as Zelaya was preparing to hold an illegal referendum in defiance of the country’s constitution. The international community, including the Obama Administration, denounced this action as a coup and have demanded Zelaya’s reinstatement. After being exiled from the country, Zelaya managed to sneak back in and is now holed up in the Brazilian embassy, where he has complained he is the target of Israeli mind-control devices. Not exactly helping his cause.

While there remains a significant segment of Hondurans, including some media outlets, that support Zelaya, the majority seemed to support the interim government, and preparations were being made for a new presidential election.  Unfortunately, the government’s response to  a planned protest march of Zelayistas to “bring down the government” was to suspend civil liberties guaranteed in the very constitution they are claiming to uphold, including freedom of assembly, freedom from arrest without a warrant, and freedom of the press. Ironically, in doing so they are playing into the hands of Zelaya, who publicly predicted such restrictions. And whatever inclination the international community may have had to soften its stance will now surely disappear.

Hondurans are thus left with a choice between the Scylla of an unprincipled Communist lunatic or the Charybdis of an unelected authoritarian regime. (If the metaphor eludes you, Wikipedia is your friend and you would never have been allowed to graduate from any decent prep school in the good old days.)

Posted in Foreign Affairs | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

When will we have a Voting Rights Act for the military?

Posted by sanityinjection on January 7, 2009

In 1965, Congress passed the landmark Voting Rights Act, which ended various measures used in the South to prevent African-Americans from voting. The legislation is widely viewed as one of the greatest achievements in the history of the civil rights movement.

And yet today there is a group of people who are still systematically discriminated against and repeatedly prevented from voting in election after election. That group consists of the men and women of our armed forces serving overseas.

I first wrote about this back in July in response to a column by Bob Novak. Novak explained that there was a bipartisan effort in the House to remedy the persisting logistical problems that prevent many military members from casting their votes.

That effort seems to have failed to bear fruit, but a new study by the Pew Center details how bad the problem has become. According to the study, in 2006 only one-third of military ballots requested were actually cast and counted. Even worse, they found that “the voting rules in 25 states and the District of Columbia made it nearly impossible for service members stationed abroad to cast ballots in the 2008 election.”

This is the 21st century – surely modern technology should be able to solve this problem. And indeed, the Pew Center concludes its report with four simple recommendations that it feels would be effective in doing so. But what is appalling is that if these numbers applied to any other group in America – Hispanics, say, or African-Americans – there would be massive pressure in the media and from activist groups to end what they would call an outrage. Sadly, however, our military members enjoy no such concern for their civil rights.

This is especially appalling because it is precisely those who are risking their lives in defense of America who most deserve to have their voices heard at the ballot box. Author Robert Heinlein once controversially wrote about a future society in which military veterans were the only citizens allowed to vote, and people joined the military precisely in order to earn that privilege.

You can go here to find out whether your state is doing enough to allow military members to cast their votes. If not, consider e-mailing your state’s Secretary of State and legislative leaders with a link to the Pew Center’s report. Change has to come from somewhere.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Conservativism, civil rights, and racial policy

Posted by sanityinjection on June 30, 2008

Your Sanity Injection returns from hiatus with a true gem of a column.  It can be very hard for those of us born after 1960 to understand how mainstream conservatives could have so strongly opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which nowadays is viewed by all but the most radical fringe as one of the great achievements in the history of American public policy.

The author of this brilliant piece, William Voegeli, uses the writings and thought of the late conservative icon William F. Buckley as a vehicle to examine the attitude of conservativism as a whole to civil rights and racial policy in America.  Voegeli’s criticism of the conservative movement stings  because, unlike political partisans, he takes the time to aim it precisely: Conservatives were on the wrong side of history not because their concerns about Federal power trampling states’ rights were a mask for underlying racism, as liberals then and now have accused, but because they utterly failed to offer an alternative solution that would have secured the civil rights of black Americans, and were, in the final analysis, content to do nothing about a problem that was far more important in the daily lives of millions than constitutional questions of government jurisdiction.

However, Voegeli goes on to show how this failure destroyed the credibility of conservatives on racial policy issues going forward, pointing out that conservative criticisms of forced busing and affirmative action went unheeded for this reason, to the detriment of the country as a whole.

Be forewarned, this is a long essay and clearly written for the intellectual reader. It is, however, extremely well written, strikingly insightful, and eminently worth taking the time to read. I commend it both to liberals who truly believe that conservatives are racists as well as to conservatives who cannot understand why they think so:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/06/civil_rights_the_conservative.html

 

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »