DANIELS: The Supreme Court's True Colors
Lee A. Daniels | 7/10/2013, 3 p.m.
Across the land last week Republican legislators and operatives jumped to take advantage of the conservative factions’ blows against democracy: drafting more restrictive voter-identification laws; pledging to overturn existing gay-marriage laws in the states that have them and enacting a constitutional ban on gay marriages; further undermining affirmative action via state laws and referenda; and proposing further laws restricting women’s right to decide whether to have an abortion.
There’s no doubt that many, if not most of these efforts are also designed to again put these issues – and the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion-rights ruling – before the Supreme Court within the next two years. But consider some of the key political and social developments of these first years of the 21st century:
The conservative faction’s gift of Bush v. Gore was supposed to break Black Americans’ political spirit and influence. In fact, the Black vote became even more important as more Blacks streamed to the polls, defeating the Republican Party’s neo-Jim Crow voter-suppression efforts in state after state.
A decade ago, many forecast that the sudden emergence of the issue of gay marriage would sharply undermine the gay rights movement and produce a steep decline in the fortunes of the progressive coalition. But just the opposite has occurred.
A decade ago, conservatives were boasting that Latino Americans were on the verge of flocking to the GOP “Big Tent” – before they realized they couldn’t – and still can’t – turn off the neon-lit “Whites-only” sign blocking the tent’s entrance.
And now, last week, when it seemed the forces of reaction in the Texas state legislature were going to steamroller an extreme anti-abortion measure to passage, Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis’ startling filibuster gave the progressive coalition a new heroine – and re-affirmed this political era’s over-arching lesson.
That is that conservative actions provoke victorious progressive reactions. That means that in terms of the future of America, blue is a “truer” color than red.
Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His latest book is Last Chance: The Political Threat to Black America.