Partisanship is the new code for racism

Louisiana’s governors are extremely powerful.  They are rarely overridden.  In fact, the last actual veto override was 31 years ago.  But yesterday the Louisiana legislature overrode Governor John Bel Edwards veto of the latest Congressional voting maps. Race disguised as partisan politics ruled the day.  Partisanship is a new cover phrase.  You know when they mean one thing but call it another. Code words.  Dog whistles for and from other states.  We can now safely say that partisanship is a racism blanket.

Let me catch you up.  You might be busy working on making sure New Orleans has great parks or trying to provide after school options for teenage boys.  So, you just let the legislature handle its’ business.  So Louisiana has a 33% African American population.  And it has six Congressmen.  But only one, Troy Carter, is African American.  The primary reason for the census every ten years is to draw Congressional maps that represent the state.  Now I know some of our legislators need a history lesson.  But obviously they need a math lesson too. Cause the veto is about race.

Legislators on a slippery slope

Louisiana ranks last or next to last in education nationwide. So let’s go slow. In a representative Democracy, the districts should reflect the citizenry. Based upon the state’s population, the state gets 6 representatives.   So 1/3 of 6 is 2. All day. Even in Louisiana. But our state only has 1 Black representative.  During the session, the Republicans cited partisanship as the reason the districts were gerrymandered to limit African American representation.  Two better alternative maps that created a second African American district were rejected. The map with only one Black district is now the official map of the state.  Yes even though African Americans make up 33% of the population. So actually in Louisiana 1/3 equals 1. Told the state is last in education.

Now let’s make it clear how unprecedented this was.  The Republicans possibly violated the constitution. They stopped the regular session to have a one day override session.   You read that right.  They paused the regular session to have a one-day special session to override the governor’s veto of the gerrymandered maps that limit the African American districts to one.  Wow. It is obviously extremely important to make sure that more Black people don’t get to go to Congress and represent Louisiana. So, the first ever one day veto session in the middle of a regular session occurred. I’m telling you the veto was about race.

You can just her the private phone calls.  “God darned it.  We can’t let this happen.  Not under my watch.  We can’t let no more Blacks get elected to the Congress from our state,” said Rep Hewitt. “We can just stop all of this and override that governor we got there.  Shucks I can’t sleep at night.  How the hell are we gonna get Trump back in office?”

Veto is About Race

Partisanship in politics is a complete devotion to a particular political party or ideology.  But in this case, the racial history can not be overlooked.  Louisiana voters elected African Americans in the past, but they never were able to serve a day in Congress. Louisiana is a southern state that was part of the Justice Department pre-clearance requirement.  Any changes to voting rights in the state had to be reviewed and approved by the Justice Department. But that requirement was overturned by a conservative Supreme Court. So now southern states are running buck wild.  You can’t vote!  You need an ID.  And you have to vote in a gerrymandered district.

Yesterday’s override is headed to federal court.  But the racial blanket of partisanship is with us now.  Next week they might pause the session to have a special session on guns.  Only white people in the state can own guns.  If a black person has a gun or anything that might look like a gun, then they can be shot immediately by a white person.  Sounds crazy?  Well when you control the legislature these things are just partisan. 

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