KNIGHT: Betrayal by any other name

Complaining to autocrats about U.S. voter laws is perfidious

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What would you call it if some Americans went overseas to the United Nations Human Rights Council and gave aid and comfort to some of the most repressive regimes on the planet?

What if they falsely accused America of suppressing the vote of racial minorities because some states require voter photo ID and other measures to deter fraud?

I’d call it “treason,” but you also could say it’s just liberal politics as usual.

The core argument is that minorities are incapable of getting an ID and playing by the same rules that all adult citizens must follow regardless of race. It’s the same poisonous brew of lowered expectations that liberals have been pushing on minorities in order to expand government and foster dependency.

On Wednesday, NAACP President Benjamin T. Jealous, who apparently longs for an electoral system like those in Cuba, China or Saudi Arabia, whose representatives hung on his every word, trashed his own country. I was not there, but I’m assuming these regimes enjoyed seeing a certified “civil rights” leader criticize the United States.

Here’s some of what Mr. Jealous said, according to CNS-News.com:

“These voter-suppression laws include so-called strict voter ID laws, cutting of Sunday voting, early voting and same-day registration, and the reimposing of notoriously racist bans on formerly incarcerated people voting.” Mr. Jealous claimed that 25 laws passed in 14 states “will together make it harder for more than 5 million people to vote.”

It’s true, at least, that Mr. Jealous, a zealous Democrat, wants to deliver more of the ex-felon vote, disproportionately represented by minorities. This is because, sadly, minority communities have been targets of liberal “compassion,” and fatherless young men commit a disproportionate number of crimes. Upon release, ex-cons of any race find a natural home in the Democratic Party, which uses taxes to steal in ways that unreformed ex-cons can only dream about.

Common-sense precautions against fraud, such as proving that you are who you say you are, is not a return to Jim Crow laws any more than being asked to show an ID before cashing a check at a bank is “racist.”

I would wager that Mr. Jealous and his entourage had to show photo IDs to board their jet to Geneva and to get into the U.N. compound. I attended a U.N. session in Geneva in 2001, and it took a herculean effort to get through security. I’d like to think that’s because I’m a scary-looking guy, but I’m not.

Getting back to the vote-fraud issue: States with photo-ID laws such as Georgia and Indiana reported higher minority turnout after the laws took effect. Federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have found no plaintiff with a plausible claim to be unable to get an ID. In liberal Rhode Island, where a Democratic legislature last summer enacted a voter-ID law, Democratic state Sen. Harold Metts, who is black, co-sponsored the legislation.

“As a minority citizen and a senior citizen,” Mr. Metts explained, “I would not support anything that I thought would present obstacles or limit protections, but in this day and age, very few adults lack one of the forms of identification that will be accepted, and the rare person who does can get a free voter-ID card from the secretary of state.”

The left is getting desperate. It has lost every fact-based argument about domestic policy. Its social experiments, along with Hollywood’s relentless mythmaking about sex without consequences, have shattered families, left cities in shambles and created a debt-ridden, mega-nanny government that is careening toward the cliffs of Greece. It isn’t just minorities who are victimized by liberal policies, but they have taken the brunt of the war on marriage, religion and personal responsibility.

The evidence is all around. Just take a stroll through much of Detroit or through run-down areas of any big city in broad daylight. Detroit, which has tried every liberal government “solution” to poverty, spending tens of billions of dollars over the years, has lost one-quarter of its population over the past decade and is on the verge of bankruptcy. Democratic Mayor Dave Bing has just the right medicine for this sick patient - another tax increase on businesses.

Years ago, before GPS, I got lost in Detroit coming from downtown and drove the wrong way for a couple of miles. As the sun began to set, I noticed groups of young men gathered on corners, giving me puzzled looks.

At a stoplight, an older man gestured for me to roll down the window. “Son,” he said. “you do not belong here. You cannot be here. You need to make a left at the next corner, turn around and head back in the other direction. And do not - I repeat - do not stop at any more lights.” He shook his head at my stupidity, gave me a warm smile and walked away.

I did find my way out, and I have never forgotten that man’s kindness.

The point is, before the Great Society, I probably would have felt differently about being lost in Detroit, at least in most of it. Every big city has a rough side, of course. In Detroit, the Great Society and the auto industry’s government-and-union-managed decline have managed to make almost the whole city “the rough side.”

Over there in Switzerland, I hope Mr. Jealous and the delegation had a fine time after dumping on their country. They probably didn’t bring up the wonders of Detroit’s enlightened path toward true democracy and social justice.

The U.N.’s cafeteria serves up subsidized gourmet meals and fine wines, even at lunch. It’s a great place to relax and plot the next desperate move to hang on to political power.

Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.

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