Author: Jean

The Year I Learned a Hard Lesson About Seeing Things

The Year I Learned a Hard Lesson About Seeing Things

Op-Ed: A big reason the South goes red? Gerrymandering and voter suppression

The last time I went to see a movie was in 2012, when the “Sugarland Express” opened to mostly raves at the Ritz Carlton on Times Square. And I never went again. I didn’t like the idea of an all-star cast of famous stars on opening night, or the fact that I would be subjecting myself to a musical starring only three people, the three lead actors in the film. So I figured I’d watch a movie I liked, then go to see others that had a little more star power.

But now, I look back on 2012 and realize that it was a year I learned a hard lesson about seeing things.

A few months back, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Shelby County v. Holder striking down Section 4(a) of the Voting Rights Act, which required “preventative measures” to prevent voter discrimination. In essence, the ruling overturned key provisions of the VRA.

And while many in the media and the political establishment were celebrating the ruling as a watershed moment in American history, I had been watching the South go red, all thanks to what the court had decided.

The fact is, Section 4(a) was only one piece of an even larger, more complex election-related package that had been in place since the 1950s. (The Voting Rights Act and the North’s 1965 Voting Rights Act are other examples.)

So much has changed since the summer of 2013, but that’s just what I like to call “a year I learned a hard lesson about seeing things.”

For one thing, while the media and the voting rights community (especially the Southern Strategy and the Southern Leadership Coalition) were celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County, I was right there with them. Many who had been pushing or trying to pass voting restrictions were doing the same thing because they thought the court had said no to one more.

So when you see the South go red, a

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