I said that U.S. Rep. Paul Broun’s venomous remarks about President Obama after his election in 2008 would make Broun persona non grata in Congress and eventually hurt the constituents of his district. My opinion is still the same. How he still holds this office is incredulous to me.
Now, in the dead of night, Broun offered an amendment to a spending bill recently that would have stripped the Department of Justice’s ability to enforce part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Fortunately, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a hero of the civil rights movement, took Broun behind the wood shed and made him withdraw his amendment. Broun’s lack of creditability over this episode, even among his peers, was evident that evening.
Broun’s maneuver disregards all civility and, more specifically, the true meaning of this law that ensures a place in the democratic process for disenfranchised African-Americans and poor white people across the South. Broun callously ignored that, not too long ago, it was almost impossible for many folks in Georgia to even register to vote. To vote back in the day, folks were given dehumanizing literacy tests and, in one case of nearly 70 questions, asked the “applicant”: “Who is the solicitor general of the judicial circuit in which you live, and who is the judge of such district? If there is more than one judge, name them all.” I liken this to asking someone how many bubbles there are in a bar of soap.
Nonetheless, it was a foregone conclusion if someone miraculously passed this test, they would be deemed unqualified for other reasons, anyway. If this was not bad enough, “applicants” almost always faced a poll tax.
Georgia politicians, on both sides of the aisle, are notorious for gerrymandering voting districts, and because of this history, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 must stand for the time being. Any hope of it changing in the future evaporated with Broun’s late-night stunt.
Usually, what from comes from one’s mouth comes from their heart. Broun is what he is, and should not be re-elected.