Just As I Thought

We don’t need no education

It seems that I am shaking my head in bewilderment a lot these last 4 years, and the incredulity just keeps coming:

On that long-ago day of Alabama’s great shame, Gov. George C. Wallace (D) stood in a schoolhouse door and declared that his state’s constitution forbade black students to enroll at the University of Alabama.

He was correct.

If Wallace could be brought back to life today to reprise his 1963 moment of infamy outside Foster Auditorium, he would still be correct. Alabama voters made sure of that Nov. 2, refusing to approve a constitutional amendment to erase segregation-era wording requiring separate schools for “white and colored children” and to eliminate references to the poll taxes once imposed to disenfranchise blacks.

“Whoa,” you may say — rightfully. What kind of racist bastards are there in Alabama?
Well, like Bush’s campaign, the right wing in Alabama managed to shift the focus from racism to… ready for this? Taxes.
Their argument goes something like this: if you amend the constitution to guarantee education for everyone, then your taxes will go up to pay for it.

The amendment had two main parts: the removal of the separate-schools language and the removal of a passage — inserted in the 1950s in an attempt to counter the Brown v. Board of Education ruling against segregated public schools — that said Alabama’s constitution does not guarantee a right to a public education. Leading opponents, such as Alabama Christian Coalition President John Giles, said they did not object to removing the passage about separate schools for “white and colored children.” But, employing an argument that was ridiculed by most of the state’s newspapers and by legions of legal experts, Giles and others said guaranteeing a right to a public education would have opened a door for “rogue” federal judges to order the state to raise taxes to pay for improvements in its public school system.

The argument plays to Alabama’s primal fear of federal control, a fear born of years of resentment over U.S. courts’ ordering the desegregation of schools and the creation of black-majority legislative districts.

“Activists on the bench know no bounds,” Giles said. “It’s a trial lawyer’s dream.”

Giles was aided by a virtually unparalleled Alabama celebrity in his battle against the amendment, distributing testimonials from former chief justice Roy Moore, whose fame was sealed in 2003 when he defied a federal court order to remove a two-ton granite Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court. They were joined by former Moore aide Tom Parker, who handed out miniature Confederate flags this fall during his successful campaign for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court.

Religion in court. The flag of a segregationist, slave-owning movement. People who don’t want to pay for the populace to once and for all, finally get some education.
Cripes.

Browse the Archive

Tweets

Browse by Category