Viewpoint

THE civil rights issue

Confederate monuments should be confronted, but another issue affecting minorities should be paramount.
Confederate monuments should be confronted, but another issue affecting minorities should be paramount. TNS

From an editorial Sunday in the Washington Post:

Standing up to racism and intolerance is a moral imperative, and those who do, like Heather Heyer, the young woman who died as she challenged the thugs in Charlottesville, Virginia, last Saturday, are champions of American principles. In an era when so many bedrock values are under attack, it’s important to think strategically and prioritize the ones worth fighting for.

An exemplar of such strategic thinking, Martin Luther King Jr., fought on multiple fronts but prioritized one in particular: voting rights. Today, as in the 1960s, that same fight makes sense. For in this new civil rights era, voting rights for broad swaths of Americans - minorities, the young and the old - are again imperiled and under attack.

Many Confederate statues, which memorialize a murderous act of treason on an epic scale in defense of an inhumane institution, deserve to come down or at least be repurposed as museum pieces.

Yet even if all 1,500 Confederate symbols across the country were removed overnight by some sudden supernatural force, the pernicious crusade to roll back voting rights would continue apace, with voters of color suffering its effects disproportionately. Pushing back hard against these efforts should be a paramount cause for Americans in the Trump era.

The events in Charlottesville and the president’s apologia for the right-wing extremists there should mobilize anyone passionate about civil rights. There would be no better target for their energies than the clear and present danger to the most fundamental right in any democracy: the vote.

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