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How Do You Celebrate the Selma March?

[ 29 ] March 5, 2017 |


If you are the Secretary of State for Alabama, well….

After Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill promoted the state’s voter ID law at a church service held Sunday to commemorate the anniversary of a civil rights milestone in Selma, patrons walked out.

The service at Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Alabama was held to commemorate the 52nd anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march that erupted in police violence on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, according to a video posted to Rev. William Barber’s Facebook page.

Barber, who is president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, and church patrons walked out after Merrill spoke in support of Alabama’s voter ID law, according to the video’s caption.

“We can’t be polite about this. We can’t be casual or cavalier,” Barber told a reporter. “We have more voter suppression in recent years than we’ve seen since Jim Crow.”

He said that Merrill’s promotion of the voter ID law was “another lie.”

Merrill seems like a nice guy.

In October 2015, Merrill insisted that the closure of 31 driver’s license offices — many in majority black counties — would not prevent residents from obtaining the government-issued photo ID required to vote in Alabama.

Before the 2016 election, he went on to blast automatic voter registration, saying that it would “cheapen” the work of civil rights leaders.

“If you’re too sorry or lazy to get up off of your rear and to go register to vote, or to register electronically, and then to go vote, then you don’t deserve that privilege,” Merrill said.

He then lashed out at criticism of Alabama’s registration process and threatened to prosecute a filmmaker who described registering to vote in the state as “complex and complicated.”

Merrill threatened to prosecute Brian Jenkins if he was registered in two states, even though Jenkins never claimed to be registered in Alabama.

In conclusion, I am shocked that Alabama has supplied the nation Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as Attorney General.


Comments (29)

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  1. Thom says:

    We’ll try to stay serene and calm
    When Alabama gets the bomb!

    On the other hand, it did give us the Drive-By Truckers.

  2. I saw cotton
    and I saw black
    Tall white mansions
    and little shacks.
    Southern man
    when will you
    pay them back?

    Southern Man | Rebecca Loebe

  3. King Goat says:

    I’ve long thought guys like this are more incredibly obtuse than malicious, and wow, this guy takes that to another level.

    • howard says:

      there’s a whole cohort of republican white guys like this one who came of age during the early sway of reagan and had their political outlook forever formed as a result.

      • King Goat says:

        No ability to see outside their own experience. ‘It’s always been easy for me, an able minded, well off white guy whose family gave me a ton of cultural capital in navigating bureaucracy, so why wouldn’t it be easy for anyone else?’

        What’s funny (or sad) is in their rhetoric on other issues they’re all about how bureaucratic requirements are such dis-incentives for attaining things (like business licenses and such). But when it comes to voting it’s like ‘easiest thing in the world to go to the dept of human services and get a copy of my birth certificate, then the social security dept and get a copy of my ss card, then go to the motor vehicle office and get my ID…’

        • E.Garth says:

          Indeed. In addition to their assuming that everything is as easy for everyone else as it is for them their anti-government propaganda makes it hard for them to realize that bureaucracy can be something that works well for everyone. This is similar to design in the physical world, people often assume that because a particular design works reasonably well for them that it is the best possible design and works well for everyone. But when someone takes a look at how to make the design universal – so that it works for both left-handers and right-handers, able-bodied and handicapped, big people, small people, etc. – the resulting design often works better for the people who did not think there was a need to change than the ‘design they loved’ worked for them.

          ‘A better design’ is why I like Washington State’s all-vote-by-mail system. The whole issue of Voter ID only comes up when you register, and those ID standards are much the same as in any other state.

          But anyone who believes voter ID is necessary for ‘integrity of election’ needs to be supporting the availability of affordable practical opportunities to get the essential ID, anything else is a transparent attempt to disenfranchise a portion of the population.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

          Voters are expected to be more motivated than the poor guy who owns a business and is sooooo demoralized by “red tape” that he can’t stay in business.

          Republican’s world view is so weird.

    • weirdnoise says:

      I think things have got to the point where such a benefit of the doubt is impossible to reasonably maintain. The bubble ostensive leaders like Merrill live in isn’t that impermeable. The only thing that can maintain it is a strong unshakable belief in white privilege.

    • efgoldman says:

      I’ve long thought guys like this are more incredibly obtuse than malicious,

      Both/and, not either/or
      This guy is Evil Leprechaun’s Evil Leprechaun.

    • Captain Oblivious says:

      Not all assholes are conservatives, but all conservatives are assholes. They vary only in degree.

  4. howard says:

    you can hardly blame merrill: in his world, goldwater was elected in 1964 and voting remained a states’ rights issue….

  5. imwithher says:

    I think this is the POS who invoked John Lewis and Rosa Parks in support of his disgusting agenda.

  6. Tehanu says:

    Since when is it a “privilege” to vote? God, I despise these people more now than I did when I was 10 years old and spent a year living in Birmingham, being called a “Yankee n–lover” by nasty little white girls and being required every Monday to tell my teacher whether I had gone to Sunday School or not (that went on your report card). It’s been six friggin’ decades since then and they haven’t learned a thing, they’re meaner and more self-righteous and narrow-minded than ever.

    • Captain Oblivious says:

      It’s a fundamental right if you’re white. Otherwise it’s a privelege.

    • vic rattlehead says:

      Good lord that state sounds like a shithole. I had an Indian friend in college from Huntsville. Father was some sort of scientist. Supposedly that place is supposed to be something of an oasis of civilization but I can’t imagine being a person of color down there. I remember my father almost took a job a little outside Birmingham when I was a kid. We flew up there to check it out. Even as a kid with no awareness of…anything that state freaked me out.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

      My father spent a year in North Carolina stationed at a military base and had nothing good to say about the South. And he thought Goldwater wasn’t conservative enough.

  7. Jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    ‘Bama also gave the world Hank Williams, Sr. and my mother.

  8. SargassoSink says:

    Interesting strategy, using the history of Jim Crow subjugation of African-Americans to further your push to make life worse for them. DeVos did it last week with charter schools as well.

    It has a lot of potential for other applications: “Stonewall, when the homosexual community started fighting back against police harassment, was a great milestone for GLTB rights. That’s why we need to put all homosexuals in camps.”

  9. J. Otto Pohl says:

    I just noticed one of LGM’s favorite whipping boys has come out in favor of reparations. I wonder if it will get front page treatment.

    • Bitter Scribe says:

      Oh Douthat can fuck himself. He’s basically whining about affirmative action: OK, you black bastards, take a one-time payment and go away and stop bothering us.

      • DocAmazing says:

        The money quote:

        But right now, giving every single African-American $10,000, perhaps in a specially-designed annuity, would cost about $370 billion, modest relative to supply-side tax plans and single-payer schemes alike.

        Translation: Take this $10K, and there will no longer be oversight of police forces that obviously target African-Americans, no attempts to prevent banks from redlining, no punishment for employers who discriminate overtly, but hey, you’ll have gotten enough to buy a used Yugo!

  10. […] Guns and Money examines the Alabama government’s disinterest in commemorating the Selma march for […]

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