Folks, I am just going to ask that you bear with me while you read the following:
50 years ago, the Civil Rights Act became law. As LBJ said at the time, doing so lost the South for a generation.
(Actually, he underestimated a bit there).
Also, the Civil Rights Act led to the GOP Southern Strategy which brought us Ronald Reagan, the President most responsible for much that is wrong in America today.
Also the Civil Rights Act led, eventually, to the rise of the power of the Christian Right Wing.
The Civil Rights Act led, eventually, to the current Supreme Court and the major attempts by the GOP to undermine voting rights.
And I can point out many things wrong in our society which sprung from the reaction to the Civil Rights Act.
So, was it worth it with all these negatives?
For one thing, without it, PBO would not be President today.
But there is so much more that would not exist without this having happened 50 years ago. The Civil Rights Act is the antecedent from which flowed many other things, laws to protect workers, women, children, the disabled, the LGTB community and many more.
But here is another thing. If LBJ had not muscled through the CRA, who knows when anything like it may have been passed. Like the ACA, there is a time to grab for something and if the opportunity isn’t taken, another opportunity might not come around for a long time.
We still have a long way to go, and as I have said several times, as a white male, I can only guess at what all the various minorities face.
But I will say this. A lot of people who really weren’t all that aware of how much racism there was in the country, or who only thought it existed in the South, had their eyes opened simply by the reaction to the CRA. And I think a lot more are getting their eyes opened by the reaction to PBO.
Forward movement is never painless. And if we aren’t willing to endure the pain and the struggles, like jumping through hoops to vote, then we won’t move forward.
It is one thing to complain about how the obstacles shouldn’t be there, it is another to do things despite the obstacles. And it was the willingness to do things despite the obstacles that ultimately resulted in this day 50 years ago.
As has become a theme the last couple days, we owe it to those who endured then, and acted then, to endure now and act now, or, as Pierce put, we will deserve the country and the government that we get.
LOL GOP: More Americans Gained Insurance In The First Half Of 2014 Than Lost It Under 8 Years Of Bush
Of George W. Bush’s myriad of failures that continue to wreck havoc at home and abroad, 7.9 million Americans losing their health insurance rarely gets mentioned. “When [former president Bill] Clinton left office, the number of uninsured Americans stood at 38.4 million,” Ron Brownstein wrote in 2009. “By the time [former president George W.] Bush left office that number had grown to just over 46.3 million, an increase of nearly 8 million or 20.6 percent.” And as Bush left office, the percentage of those without insurance continued to grow as millions continued to lose their jobs in the recession President Obama inherited. But in 2011 the percentage of uninsured began to shrink slightly as the Affordable Care Act went into effect.
That shrinkage leveled out over the next two years but 2014 will likely offer the biggest reduction in the uninsured population at least in decades. The Incidental Economist‘s Aaron Carroll — who hosts a great YouTube series called Healthcare Triage — looked at a new survey from Gallup and found that it suggests “about 10-11 million Americans are newly insured this year. Almost 9 million of them received private insurance through the exchanges.” This means far more Americans have gained health insurance in the first six months of this year than lost it under George W. Bush. It also means that every prediction Republicans have made about this law has been wrong.
Few achievements have defined our national identity as distinctly or as powerfully as the passage of the Civil Rights Act. It transformed our understanding of justice, equality, and democracy and advanced our long journey toward a more perfect Union. It helped bring an end to the Jim Crow era, banning discrimination in public places; prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; and providing a long-awaited enforcement mechanism for the integration of schools. A half-century later, we celebrate this landmark achievement and renew our commitment to building a freer, fairer, greater society.
Through the lens of history, the progress of the past five decades may seem inevitable. We may wish to remember our triumphs while erasing the pain and doubt that came before. Yet to do so would be a disservice to the giants who led us to the mountaintop, to unsung heroes who left footprints on our National Mall, to every American who bled and died on the battlefield of justice. In the face of bigotry, fear, and unyielding opposition from entrenched interests, their courage stirred our Nation’s conscience. And their struggle helped convince a Texas Democrat who had previously voted against civil rights legislation to become its new champion. With skillful charm and ceaseless grit, President Lyndon B. Johnson shepherded the Civil Rights Act through the Congress — and on July 2, 1964, he signed it into law.
While laws alone cannot right every wrong, they possess an unmatched power to anchor lasting change. The Civil Rights Act threw open the door for legislation that strengthened voting rights and established fair housing standards for all Americans. Fifty years later, we know our country works best when we accept our obligations to one another, embrace the belief that our destiny is shared, and draw strength from the bonds that hold together the most diverse Nation on Earth.
As we reflect on the Civil Rights Act and the burst of progress that followed, we also acknowledge that our journey is not complete. Today, let us resolve to restore the promise of opportunity, defend our fellow Americans’ sacred right to vote, seek equality in our schools and workplaces, and fight injustice wherever it exists. Let us remember that victory never comes easily, but with iron wills and common purpose, those who love their country can change it.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 2, 2014, as the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with programs, ceremonies, and activities that celebrate this accomplishment and advance civil rights in our time.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.