Sunday, June 01, 2008

Today's Sermon: Dred Scott & The DNC For Dummies

"Times now are not as they were when the previous decisions on this subject were made."

Thus spake the Missouri Supreme Court in reversing the lower court's ruling to uphold Dred Scott's quest for equal rights as an American citizen.

But wait! There's more...
With the aid of new lawyers (including Montgomery Blair), the Scotts sued again in federal court. They lost and appealed to the United States Supreme Court in Dred Scott v. Sandford. In 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the majority opinion, that:

* Any person descended from black Africans, whether slave or free, is not a citizen of the United States, according to the Declaration of Independence.
* The Ordinance of 1787 could not confer freedom or citizenship within the Northwest Territory to black people.
* The provisions of the Act of 1820, known as the Missouri Compromise, were voided as a legislative act because the act exceeded the powers of Congress, insofar as it attempted to exclude slavery and impart freedom and citizenship to Black people in the northern part of the Louisiana cession.

In effect, the Court ruled that slaves had no claim to freedom; they were property and not citizens; they could not bring suit in federal court; and because slaves were private property, the federal government could not revoke a white slave owner's right to own a slave based on where he lived, thus nullifying the essence of the Missouri Compromise. Taney, speaking for the majority, also ruled that since Scott was an object of private property, he was subject to the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution which prohibits taking property from its owner "without due process".

Due process: the two most important words in American history.

The two most important words in American history were used to deny rights to a person.

Outrageous? Of course.

Never happen today?

Think again.

Yesterday, the Democratic National Committee's Rules & Bylaws Committee voted to take votes away from one candidate on the Michigan ballot and give them to a candidate not on the ballot, to give said not-on-the-ballot candidate 40 more percent of the votes... er, not cast for him, and to make each state delegate worth 1/2 a person. Florida voters were screwed, too.

The outrage: These voters have no due process right to challenge the DNC's RBC decisions...

Of course, you have to keep in mind the fact that the DNC is a private entity, not the US government. And the RBC can do whatever it damn well pleases, as long as it doesn't break any laws.

Pales in comparison to the Dred Scott decision, you say?

Apples and arm chairs, you're thinking?

Think again.

Back in the day, you had to be free, white, 21, own property and possess a penis to vote. Even Benjamin Franklin harbored some of those... um, self-evident, not-so-equal "truths" when he said:

Today a man owns a jackass worth fifty dollars and he is entitled to vote; but before the next election the jackass dies. The man in the meantime has become more experienced, his knowledge of the principles of government, and his acquaintance with mankind, are more extensive, and he is therefore better qualified to make a proper selection of rulers — but the jackass is dead and the man cannot vote. Now gentlemen, pray inform me, in whom is the right of suffrage? In the man or in the jackass?

Franklin was striking a blow for the suffrage rights of free, white, 21 year-olds who didn't own property but did own penises. Go, democracy!

Here's a self-evident "truth" for you: When the people can stand no more, democracy will out.

Dred Scott lived the last year of his life a free man, protected by the 14th amendment. Freedom was a long time coming.

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835), said:
Once a people begins to interfere with the voting qualification, one can be sure that sooner or later it will abolish it altogether. That is one of the most invariable rules of social behavior.

The further the limit of voting rights is extended, the stronger is the need felt to spread them still wider, for after each new concession the forces of democracy are strengthened, and its demands increase with the augmented power.

The ambition of those left below the qualifying limit increases in proportion to the number of those above it. Finally the exception becomes the rule; concessions follow one another without interruption, and there is no halting place until universal suffrage has been attained.

Disenfranchisement has many faces, and this year Michigan and Florida Democrats are seeing it in their own national party leaders' faces.

Alas, democracy!

Thus endeth today's sermon.

Go forth today and consider: If the DNC is truly a private entity, as its lawyers continually argue in court (and win), then why doesn't it pay entirely for its "private" elections? The taxpayers foot the bill for state primaries and general elections, and the DNC has no problem taking public money for its private entity enterprises, does it?

Also consider the millions of voters who've never joined a political party and those who are leaving the Democratic Party this year in droves because of the public screwing of primary election voters by a private entity.

A primary may not be a general election, but does screwing the voters make any more sense than denying freedom to a citizen because it would violate "the owner's right" to due process when his "property rights" are challenged?

Think about it.

I mean it, damn it!

Best bar bet in the world: Delilah didn't do it.
Judges 16:19-- and and


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Delurking...excellent post. Keep up revealing the bleeding from within.

4:42 PM  

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