At their best, liberals have defended free speech for those with whom they disagree; defended the rights of workers to organize even when they didn’t like the unions the workers were likely to choose; and defended voter registration drives even if they suspected the newly registered voters would support candidates the liberals opposed. Liberalism, that is, has in the past been as concerned with fair and democratic procedures as with politically appealing, i.e., Democratic, results. Now that sort of liberalism has, alas, been largely displaced by a results-oriented partisanship, famously derided by one of the founders of the ACLU, Roger Baldwin, as “civil liberties for our side only.”
Take Missouri (Please!). I have already discussed at length how Robin Carnahan, the Democratic Secretary of State, and Jay Nixon, the Democratic Attorney General, have engaged in massively outrageous and illegal conduct in an attempt, unsuccessful so far, to block the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative from getting on the ballot. But enough about that.
Sometimes, as now, what Democratic office holders and their acolytes in the big newspapers (in this case, the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Kansas City Star) don’t do and don’t say is far worse than what they do and say. As I write, right now, they are doing nothing and saying nothing while the organized defenders of racial preferences are importing and paying to thugs to intimidate, disrupt, and prevent supporters of the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative from gathering the signatures necessary to place that discrimination-banning measure on the ballot.
An acquaintance who prefers not to be names emails from the Missouri battlefield:
If you have never seen a blocking operation, it involves individuals who are opposed to the initiative setting up shop adjacent to petition circulators and doing everything possible to keep citizens from signing the petitions being circulated.
The strategy of our opponents is to keep us off the ballot. By Any Means Necessary made it very clear when we started this campaign that such would be their approach. They are now even more aggressive, often sending out three and four physically intimidating individuals to threaten our circulators. In addition, they are sabotaging our efforts by falsely signing petitions.
Harry Stein, who has followed the state battles over civil rights carefully, writes in the current City Journal:
Democratic secretary of state Robin Carnahan, charged with what is normally the routine certification of ballot measures, instead went to work on this one, eliminating its straightforward language, derived from that of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and substituting wording that pleads the other side’s case. The question, as she wanted to pose it to voters, was whether to amend the state’s constitution to “ban affirmative action programs designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities in public contracting, employment and education.” So egregious was this subterfuge that a liberal county circuit judge took the unprecedented step of throwing out Carnahan’s rewrite and reinstating the original language almost intact.
Still, as [Ward] Connerly observes, “all the forces of the Left are converging in Missouri—Acorn and the rest of the race industry, the feminists, the unions, the contractors who feed off this stuff—and George Soros is providing a lot of the funding. They’re enlisting the whole vast left-wing conspiracy—and, believe me, it’s a lot vaster than the supposed right-wing one.” The ugliness is most evident on the streets, where supporters of the ballot initiative are busy gathering signatures. Opponents’ chief tactic is to use “blockers”—often burly union men—to shadow signature gatherers and scare off potential signers by charging not only that the initiative is racist and has the support of the Ku Klux Klan, but also that the signers risk identity theft. In addition, the pro-preferences sources have dispatched their people to sign petitions with false names and addresses, so that they will be invalidated later.
Where is the liberal outrage against this anti-democratic thuggery? Where is their vaunted concern for fair and democratic procedures? Perhaps I’ve missed the editorials in liberal newspapers calling attention to these ongoing attacks on the rights of citizens to engage in the democratic process. Perhaps I’ve missed the attempts of unions to reign in their members who are being used to disrupt the petition-gathering process. If so, please out to me what I’ve missed.
Meanwhile, we can do two things. First, take comfort in what produces this thuggish behavior from opponents of colorblind equality: they know that they would lose if citizens are given the opportunity to vote for or against race preferences. They can’t win an election, so they choose to try to prevent it, By Any Means Necessary.
Second, you, or anyone you know or can enlist, can volunteer to go to Missouri right now (the deadline for submission is May 4) and gather signatures. And you can do well by doing good: earn up to $1000 a week for the next several weeks!
Click on the ad in the column on the right if you’re interested.