So let’s see if we can recast this Philadelphia voter-intimidation case that the Department of Justice (where did that name come from?) has dropped after having won it by default (“Inside the Black Panther case,” Commentary, June 28).
Three white men dressed in “combat gear,” one holding a nightstick, stand outside a polling place during a presidential election as black voters arrive to vote. One of them shouts out that voters are going to find out what it’s like to be “ruled by the white man.” A would-be voter (or is he a reporter?) holds a video camera as he observes this and asks about the weapon he clearly sees in the man’s hand. “Who are you to decide?” asks the menacing “poll watcher.” “Who are you to decide?” he repeats. It’s clear there is an unspoken entrance requirement to vote here, and it’s not just a matter of saying the secret password or knowing the secret handshake.
I’m sure the Department of Justice, upon seeing this video, probably would think nothing of it. It’s the sort of thing anyone could misconstrue, and anyhow, we all have free-speech rights, don’t we? Even if someone disagrees with what we say? The nightstick isn’t a weapon; it’s a fashion accessory. The challenge to the voter/reporter is just one man’s dialogue with another, and shouldn’t we be all about more dialogue these days?
This is the new Eric Holder/Barack Obama/”Chicago street” Justice Department, where we’re all “post-racial,” “progressive” and “transparent.” This is the administration that’s going to put its meetings on C-SPAN so we know what our government is doing “for the American people.”
I’m sorry, I thought C-SPAN was part of my cable package. Maybe I missed it. I’d better give the company a call. Don’t want to miss the next exciting episode of “Holder.”