Virtually every day we see new examples of our friends on the left overplaying their hands as they engage in wild exaggerations. They told us Donald Trump is a Nazi. (No, he isn’t, because a true Nazi leader would have thrown you in a concentration camp for criticizing him.) They’ve told us if we use the ‘OK’ hand signal then we’re White Supremacists. (No, that’s been a gesture which has been used for over a century indicating “all is well.”) And they accuse us of being science-deniers if we dare to question climate change conclusions or COVID pandemic propaganda. (Actually, we’re simply demanding logic and accountability.) But the most egregious of all modern leftist talking points may be with their practice of labeling any law they don’t like as akin to “Jim Crow.”
Last month, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), a man with considerable power and without whose support Joe Biden would not have been elected, said of the controversial Georgia voting law from earlier this year, “Just look through it and look throughout history, and you will know that what is taking place today is a new Jim Crow, just that simple.” In Florida, Democratic state representative Omari Hardy called her state’s recently enacted voting law, “the revival of Jim Crow.” And in Texas, another Democratic state legislator named Jessica Gonzalez asserted that the Lone Star State’s proposed voting law is merely, “Old Jim Crow dressed up in what our colleagues are calling election integrity.”
We all know “Jim Crow” was terrible, but what exactly was it? What did those laws look like? To fully understand the magnitude of these accusations by Democrats, we must first understand the laws to which they are drawing moral equivalencies.
A common misconception is that Jim Crow laws allowed segregation and discrimination to occur. This was not the case; far from it, in fact. Jim Crow laws didn’t merely permit racism, they required it. Consider some of the following language in laws from the Jim Crow era as examples, and note that not all of the states listed are from the South:
- Alabama: “No person or corporation shall require any white female nurse to nurse in wards or rooms in hospitals, either public or private, in which negro men are placed.”
- Maryland: “All railroad companies and corporations, and all persons running or operating cars or coaches by steam on any railroad line or track in the State of Maryland, for the transportation of passengers, are hereby required to provide separate cars or coaches for the travel and transportation of the white and colored passengers.”
- South Carolina: “It shall be unlawful for any parent, relative, or other white person in this State, having the control or custody of any white child, by right of guardianship, natural or acquired, or otherwise, to dispose of, give or surrender such white child permanently into the custody, control, maintenance, or support, of a negro.”
- Wyoming: “All marriages of white persons with Negroes, Mulattos, Mongolians, or Malaya hereafter contracted in the State of Wyoming are and shall be illegal and void.”
This was Jim Crow, and these were the actual wordings included in the laws of the land at the time. This was institutional racism. This was authentic systemic racism, not the imaginary kind. These laws were unacceptable and evil, and such laws were rendered illegal with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A law which, by the way, was passed with the support of only 64% of Congressional Democrats and 81% of Congressional Republicans.
Therefore, if we are to believe the likes of Clyburn, Hardy, and Gonzalez, these new laws being passed in states like Georgia, Florida, and Texas must be bad; really bad. They must be packed with open and disgusting bigotry, right? Let’s take a look at the specifics of these laws, particularly some of the aspects to which Democrats are most vociferously objecting:
- Georgia: “A Georgia state driver’s license number, ID card number, date of birth and the last four digits of a social security number or another approved form of identification must be printed on the outside of an absentee ballot.”
- Florida: “A person may not handle more than two ballots other than those of immediate family members.”
- Texas: The bill “would prohibit election officials from sending unsolicited mail-in ballot applications to voters.”
Can you see the similarities between these latest laws and the abominations of Jim Crow laws? Can you spot the blatant, undeniable racism? Can you identify the disgusting dehumanization of fellow citizens? No? Didn’t think so.
Not only are these laws not even close to Jim Crow, they aren’t even remotely racist. Obviously, none of these laws even mention race, because to do so would be unlawful. Each of these new laws are seeking better control over elections and to eliminate voter fraud as effectively as possible. Considering that millions of Americans questioned the legitimacy of President Trump’s election in 2016, and currently even more question the validity of President Biden’s election in 2020, such laws would seem to be not only prudent but imperative.
The only racism coming from this debate is from the left. If you put forth the idea that minority folks in Georgia are less capable of acquiring and then remembering their IDs on Election Day, then you are the racist. If you claim that minority folks in Florida won’t be able to ensure their absentee ballots are received by election officials without such assistance, then you are the racist. And if you believe that minority folks in Texas require the receipt of unsolicited mail-in ballot applications in order to vote, then again, you are the racist.
When Democrats use such tactics, comparing reasonable voting laws to Jim Crow, are they engaging in hyperbole, do they suffer from ignorance, or are they being dishonest? While there are clearly numerous examples of ignorant elected Democrats – and Republicans for that matter – we must not underestimate them. This is not ignorance, and it’s not even hyperbole. Democrats are being dishonest, and that dishonesty is driven by identity politics. They are well aware of the genuine wickedness of Jim Crow laws and the impact they had. They need to be deceptive about legitimate voting laws because they are concerned that they won’t be able to win elections without cheating. What Democrats and their accomplices in the media are banking on is that their inflammatory and fraudulent comparisons to Jim Crow will fall on ignorant ears and influence opinions accordingly. And they are counting on those opinions resulting in an America even further divided by race.
P.F. Whalen is a conservative blogger at TheBlueStateConservative.com. His work has appeared in multiple publications, including Human Events, the Western Journal, and American Thinker. Follow him on Parler @PFWhalen.