Voter ID is no Jim Crow — I would know

Having experienced the psychological pain of Jim Crow laws first-hand, I won’t allow those who likely only read about Jim Crow in history books to trivialize it.

That’s why I’m outraged about a recent edition of TV One’s “Washington Watch” in which host Roland Martin and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) compared state-level voter identification rules to Jim Crow.

To the contrary, requiring valid identification in exchange for something as sacred as a ballot is a pragmatic approach to governing.

Martin mused: “We talk about [voting being] the fundamental right [of] Americans, but to put roadblocks up to… for… voting makes no sense to me.” Wasserman Shultz replied, “Now you have the Republicans, who want to literally drag us back to Jim Crow laws and literally — and very transparently — blocked access to the polls.”

It’s an insult to the intelligence and integrity of the American people, especially black Americans, to play the race card where race is not an issue.

We are required to have a state-issued driver’s license for many daily activities. Besides specifically verifying a person can operate a motor vehicle, it’s used for everything from access to buildings to birthday discounts.

In most cases, voter ID laws allow multiple forms of photo ID (including workplace ID badges), and some states even accept utility bills. When valid ID is lacking, almost all states allow provisional ballots or votes cast after someone signs an affidavit or provides personal information available on voter rolls.

I’ve been voting since 1970, and I’ve always taken my driver’s license with me to the polling place to identify myself to the election judges. It seems like a common-sense thing whether it is required or not.

I find it appalling and unconscionable, if the claim is true, that 25 percent of voting age blacks lack valid government-issued photo ID. It’s not like they’re hard to get. My 12-year-old daughter got one for airport security. It would seem harder to avoid having proper identifying documentation than not these days.

The problem with liberals is they want to be paternal and involve themselves in the manipulation of black Americans’ right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If 25 percent of black Americans don’t have valid ID, they obviously don’t want one. The onus should be placed on them to obtain one. It is their personal responsibility to be productive citizens. If cost is a problem, as some claim, why aren’t deep-pocketed liberals making this problem their charity of choice?

Wasserman Schultz and Martin — born in 1966 and 1968, respectively — never had the opportunity to experience Jim Crow. They lack the credibility to discuss such an assertion much less throw it out there.

I experienced Jim Crow as a young boy travelling through the segregated South. By the time Wasserman Shultz and Martin were born, I had visited Jim Crow Florida numerous times with my father and brothers. Driving down from Detroit, we also passed through Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. Even though we were decent and had money, we couldn’t stop at roadside restaurants and be served like other people because we were black. We carried our food on ice in the car: fried chicken, bologna, pops, vegetables and fruit.

When we went to the movies in Pensacola or DeFuniak Springs, Florida, we had to sit in the balcony because we were black. I quit going to the movies because I refused to give the racists my father’s hard-earned money.

  • Pingback: Open Letter to Ben Jealous, President of NAACP « charlesbutlerdotcom

  • clbutler1

    I hope to keep setting it straight with my new book. Thanks

  • BigRmv

    DWS is an idiot and a blessing for the GOP in 2012.

    “… voting makes no sense to me.” Wasserman Shultz replied,” No doubt. Yes, this is out of context, but it fits perfectly with the Democrats’ beliefs that people should have no say in their own affairs.

    This one IS in context, “Now you have the Republicans, who want to literally drag us back to Jim Crow laws…”

    Literally? Does she even know what the word means? I can’t imagine anyone–even someone who was a fan of the segregated south–LITERALLY dragging someone back to a practice.

    This woman is their SPOKESPERSON. She’s priceless! If we can keep her around for the next 4 election cycles, we can fill the government with Republicans and get this country back on track.

    • clbutler1

      We need to get back on track and start talking about patriotism versus profit. Putting Chinese workers ahead of the greatest work force in the world is un-American build it there sell it there. Let’s see how many $1.00 a day labors it takes to buy the television set?

  • clw

    Thank you for addressing this! This has been a bone of contention with me for some time now.

    First of all, having grown up in the suburbs surrounding Chicago, I have grown up with blacks of all income and education levels. Perhaps because we are largely more conservative out here, as compared to the city, we grew up with generally the same values and political views.

    My black friends get visibly annoyed when white liberals “speak for” them, (which they rarely acknowledge doing). The more I think about it, the madder I get, because it IS insulting!

    White liberals constantly infer that it’s going to be a big hit on the black community if we require ID at the polls, because apparently they believe that blacks are going to find it nearly impossible to accomplish that and won’t be able to vote! I find it INSANE to even SUGGEST that!

    Anyone who is against strict ID at the polls is out of their mind. That is just ASKING for voter fraud.

    • clbutler1

      You are welcome. We can not let this become a campaign issue for the Republicans. The lies have to stop and 2011 is a good time to end the 30+ years of ignoring the truth about the efforts and accomplishments that should go to the Republican party starting with President Eisenhower taking office in 1952 and desegrating the federal government, which was segregated by Woodrow Wilson, racist incarnate, lover of Birth of a nation, League of Nation dimwit.

  • GotFreedom

    Thank you Mr. Butler for setting the record straight with your very candid column.