"It's Time to Finish the Reconstruction"

In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act, I've been sifting through a sea of commentary, looking for a way to distill and contextualize various responses to this tragically regressive ruling. This morning, I found what I think is the most trenchant analysis, from Makani Themba of the Praxis Project, who posted the following on Facebook. It is well worth circulating broadly and widely:

  • "Truth be told, the Constitution sucks as a vehicle for guaranteeing fundamental rights. And the vagaries of interpretation of code and principle endemic to this legal system are patterned mostly in ways that undermine human rights and any institutional accountability for ensuring just outcomes. The decision is part of a long tradition of asserting enfranchisement as privilege - not a right. Sadly, the VRA is a blip in American history but a blip worth fighting for and expanding toward a more authentic system of civic engagement and decision-making. I think efforts by groups like Advancement Project, Color of Change and MoveOn to get a constitutional amendment are worth supporting. And we need to revisit the entire constitutional framework that has us locked in a conversation about opportunity and intent versus justice, impact and outcome.
  • Essentially, this decision, like so many others over the long trajectory of US law, asserts that you can have a right even when you cannot use it. This has been an important mechanism for extending protection for white supremacy without explicitly naming it in the law. They are basically saying, 'You colored people who can somehow manage to get through all the obstacles and institutional barriers and such - you can have all the rights you can outrun and wrestle to the ground.' It's time to finish the Reconstruction."

--- quoted from Makani Themba