Tuesday, August 12, 2014

And So You’re Back, From Outer Space . . .

image


(photo: Hunter Freeman wordlesstech.com)

Jason Zengerle of New Republic recently published an excellent, timely article entitled The New Racism which focuses on the political career of Hank Sanders, who took his diploma from Harvard Law back to his home in Alabama to make it a better place for African Americans to live and learn and work . . .

Hank Sanders was one of 13 children who grew up during the 1950’s in a 3 room shack, sans electricity and running water, built by their father in rural Alabama.  By the early ‘60s Sanders worked his way through Talladega College, a black school in central Alabama, became active in the Civil Rights movement and literally risked his life to register black voters in what was known, locally, as Bloody Lowndes County.  In 1967, Sanders left Alabama to attend Harvard Law but as soon as he graduated he returned to Selma, AL.  In the meantime, Hank Sanders married another Harvard Law alum and the two of them went to work . . .

. . . filing the lawsuits necessary for blacks in rural Alabama to become sheriffs, school board members, and city councilmen—translating the right to vote into actual political power. In 1983, Sanders ran for office himself in a newly created black-majority Senate district.

And for the next thirty years, Sanders kept at it, rising through the ranks in the Alabama state house and, according to Jason Zengerle:

Sanders tried to exercise his power to represent people who were unaccustomed to having a voice in Montgomery—namely poor, black Alabamans. He helped bring more money to their schools and their hospitals, better infrastructure to their neighborhoods, and greater fairness to their tax bills. Thanks to Sanders and a growing caucus of African American legislators, many of whom also chaired crucial committees, it was a period during which black people in Alabama enjoyed their most substantive political representation since Reconstruction.

But then, in 2010, the TEA Party wave turned Alabama red and all of that changed very quickly . . .

Sanders told me the story of his remarkable rise to power earlier this year, but his tone was more wistful than triumphant. For so long, his life had been an uplifting tale of slow but seemingly inexorable progress—not just for himself, but for African Americans throughout the South. In recent years, however, the trajectory of Sanders’s story has been abruptly—and just as inexorably—reversed. In 2010, Republicans took over the Alabama Senate and Sanders lost his chairmanship; in the four years since, he’s watched as the new GOP majority has systematically dismantled much of his life’s work.

I won’t paraphrase any more of Jason Zengerle’s article which is well-worth the investment of time to read.  My point, in bringing it up, is that it is a cautionary tale of great relevance to the majority of Americans who only care to vote for presidents.

read the whole post »

Posted by Bette Noir on 08/12/14 at 09:31 AM
Permalink

Categories: PoliticsElection '14NuttersTeabaggery

Page 1 of 1 pages