After spending the past week attacking efforts to protect voting rights and restore the bipartisan Voting Rights Act while voting to make it more difficult for Floridians to cast their ballots, Marco Rubio is getting slammed for opposing voting rights legislation. As the Palm Beach Post editorial board wrote recently, Rubio’s vote “insulted the memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the very week when the nation paused to celebrate him.”
Not only did our Florida senators join their 48 GOP colleagues in lockstep against the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act this week but they actively railed against the bills, whose only goals were to advance democracy for all, regardless of skin color or political party.
As his words betray, for Rubio it’s about stirring insecurities and resentments to manipulate public opinion, to benefit a political party that reads its future in the tea leaves of changing demographics, and that would rather suppress Black votes than win hearts and minds by reconsidering policies so obviously tilted against them.
Espouse this kind of propaganda long enough, demonize your opponents so remorselessly and it becomes impossible to believe the sincerity of their mission for social justice. Either that or Scott and Rubio just don’t care, which is far more evident, as they accuse Democrats of the cold power plays to which they devote their own careers, to the detriment of people of color.
The voting rights bills the GOP stymied this week wouldn’t usurp states’ rights to supervise elections but would counter state laws that limit Black or Latino votes, of the kind enacted in many GOP-majority state legislatures in recent months.
The loss insulted the memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the very week when the nation paused to celebrate him.
Our senators’ words and votes showed them to be duplicitous and mean-spirited and, figuratively speaking, headed into history the wrong way on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. If they resent being considered racist, they should turn around.