Hosemann [Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann] said Mississippi took precautions to make sure its voter ID law would survive scrutiny, offering free photos for the ID cards, free transportation to get the cards and free verification for birth certificates in Mississippi and 45 other states
Using what is by now the trademark RepubliCon tool, Delbert Hosemann and his fellow Council of Conservative Citizens have employed the divide and conquer voodoo to perfection in the 21st century extension of the Southern Strategy, the voter ID booby trap. The key is to make one group of people turn on another group with whom they should be economic allies. The devilry is the questions what is free and for whom is it free?
Connecting a current driver’s license (which, duh, is not free) to voting as Mississippi’s Weyrich-flavored constriction is an income hoop reminiscent of a poll tax, especially in a state in which the Non-Hispanic white households in Mississippi had the highest median household income ($45,583) and the median household income of blacks—$23,895—was just over half of that according to work from 2009 by the VCU Center on Society and Health. ,a state in which $5,501 is too much income to qualify for Medicaid. What is free in Mississippi, a state receiving the third most federal funding per tax dollar paid, is in the eye of the beholder or motor vehicle operator as the case may be.
But the voting pool contraction is predictable, considering how neo-feudalism is a derivative of a plantation-sympathetic society which many Mississippians cherish as part of their tradition embodied in the state flag. Class is very much the essence of neo-feudalism the same as it was at the base of anti-bellum southern life. No, that correlation is not a surprise but the black contribution to Mississippi’s status quo is perhaps an insidious indication of how deeply a primitive, pernicious style of capitalism, American to its core, has the potential to devour democracy. Strange bedfellows, the black middle and upper classes and the founders of Heritage, Cato, and ALEC like Paul Weyrich, lovers of elitism and stratification.
No one, not even anyone in the Mississippi Civil Rights community or even in the Black legislative caucus in Mississippi seems to be willing to challenge Hosemann’s assertion about the poll he took to determine how many people had the type of photo ID necessary to vote in Mississippi. Hosemann’s assertions considering the way he came to help alter the cost estimates of the voter ID law from the initial $100,000 to the $1.5 million, even that figure is suspect (The state’s voter ID initiative stated that providing free IDs could cost up to $100,000, depending on how many people requested one.), his aiding and abetting this discrimination proves how right Faulkner was about the past. And I betcha the $1.5 million estimate didn’t account for this: “The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported that the state will have to put cameras in all 82 county courthouses to monitor the distribution of the free voter IDs. The Legislature would have to set aside funds to buy these cameras; however, lawmakers did not approve funds for the cameras during the 2012 session.) No, Herr Hosemann’s belated interest in disparate impact is about as legitimate as a cotton gin owner who has his house on the scale. He needs a look-the-other-way complicity to make the presentation work. You have to give him credit for determining where he could count on getting this assistance, the black political class system in Mississippi, conveniently retiring.
A complacent, contented black middle and upper class is what makes the gentlemanly South’s-gonna-rise-again types like Hosemann so effective. It is black lethargy and acquiescence to a perceived black inferiority among lower income blacks that makes the closeted Council of Conservative Citizens members so effective in their efforts to suppress the vote. One has to begin to believe that many blacks are also neo-feudalists, harboring classist sentiments, enjoying a black cushion like Supreme Court Justice Thomas who having benefited from affirmative action even to point of accepting a position on the Supreme Court now thinks that “the others” are just plain ole inferior, in a sense, mirroring the perspective of blacks who owned slaves before the Civil War. Everything is fine just so long as I can get and maintain my economic advantage. Little do they realize that they, having forgotten the lessons of the past, may find themselves one day spending, paraphrasing the title from a recent film, more than just 12 years a slave because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice every where.” The lessons of the past are telling everyone who stands idly, silently by and watches these erosions in voting rights that one day “they” will be coming for you.