How far do you have to go in trying to stomp on the huddled masses yearning to breathe free before even Congressman James Sensenbrenner, the man whose draconian immigration bill sparked all those protests, calls bullshit? As far as trying to gut part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. And unfortunately, three OC congressmen have decided to go that far.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) is leading an effort to drop the provision in the 1965 act requiring some jurisdictions to provide bilingual ballots and translators for those with limited language skills when the act comes up for reauthorization this year. Sensenbrenner, who's as tough on the foreign-born as anyone, is having none of this, pointing out something that every elementary school student, and fair percentage of the country's brighter dogs, already know– even if Fullerton's Rep. Ed Royce, Irvine's Rep. John Campbell, and the Surfin' Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, all of whom are supporting King's effort, don't– only citizens vote.
“If [immigrants] want to achieve the American dream, they better learn how to read and function in English,” Sensenbrenner said. “But this deals with the right to vote, and these people are United States citizens; they are not illegal immigrants. It seems to me these people should not be confused because they don't have the proper instruction about how to vote on ballots for the candidates of their choice.”
It's embarrassing enough that Royce, Campbell and Rohrabacher are trying to undercut the voting rights of some of their fellow citizens, is it too much to hope for that none of them said anything embarrassingly dim-witted about it as well? Yes, yes it is too much to hope for.
“In all the talk now about immigration, there seems to be a very broad consensus that people who want to become citizens should read, write and speak English,” Campbell told the Times. But, of course, as Sensenbrenner, elementary school students everywhere, and that top tier of the country's brighter dogs know, if you're voting, you're already a citizen. It's unpleasantly ironic that Campbell wants put restrictions on the rights of those who find English confusing, when he clearly doesn't understand what he's talking about.
It's been 41 years since the Voting Rights Act was passed, you'd think Royce, Campbell and Rohrabacher would have found a few minutes during all those decades to read it, before they decided to try to gut it.