Thursday, November 06, 2008

Guarding America Against Americans


After Obama was declared the winner I think I felt the earth tremble a little. Maybe not, maybe it just felt like it. People living near older cemeteries reported that they also felt the earth tremble, but it felt like more than a mere tremble. I wonder why?

Which reminds me:

In July 1959 when I turned 18 there were a couple of things I needed to do. I had to sign up at the local draft board and I felt it was my duty to register to vote.

Where I registered is vague. It seems logical that the voters registration office would be at the courthouse. But, I think it may have been across what was then Washington Avenue (now Roswell Street) at an Army Navy store.

The owner(s) of the Army Navy store had some ties with the county government.

Either the courthouse or the Army Navy store I registered to vote. I brought my birth certificate and all that. I think probably all I needed was the statement “I’m Ed Hunter’s boy” .

But I did it the right way and so did the guy who authorized my voting eligibility. I think his name might have been Luther. He pulled out a worn sheet of paper with typing on it. He told me to me to read aloud what was typed.

It was Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

I started reading aloud, “Four Scores and Seven ye…”

I was interrupted by Luther, or whoever. “That is good – you pass!” He told me.

“I don’t have to read it all?” I asked.

"No. You said “FOUR” instead of “Fo’” – that is what I was listening for. If you had said “Fo’” then I would have to turn down your registration application. We can’t let all those crazy people vote – no telling what crazy they would vote for.”

Of course, that was a racist ploy to prevent blacks from voting. Before then, the south used the “Grandfather Clause” to prevent blacks from voting – it was another type of literacy test – but the problem with the literacy test a lot of whites failed it too. They added the clause that if your grandfather voted you can bypass the literacy test.” That was ruled unconstitutional, so in time they fell back to the oral literacy test – which in time was ruled unconstitutional also.

The guy (Luther?) felt he was doing a great service to America by not allowing a certain segment to vote. And I bet no amount of arguing could change his mind.

I cannot think of anything more un-American than refusing a certain segment to vote because you were scared of how they may vote.

Yesterday, if you happened to have been near the cemetery Luther is buried you might have heard deep down in the earth a muffled voice, “I knew this would happen!”

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10 Comments:

Blogger Susan said...

Great story, a little piece of history. Wow, you must be really old! Just kidding. I imagine there was a lot of earth shaking going on!

3:32 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Susan,
Thanks.
If Jerry Lee Lewis was singing "A Whole Lot of Shaking Going on" yesterday, the earth, in the USA, could keep to the beat.

I am 67 years old, that is not real old when you compare me to the age of any mountain, any mountain, this is, in the east, like the Blue Ridge - but I'm not sure about the Rockies.

4:14 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

I, for one, am really glad that the earth trembled!!

5:30 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Since Luther's probably a skeleton by now, and has no lip to cover his teeth, it's probably hard for him to pronounce his "R's". That in mind, I imagine he must have said, "O, fo th' luv O God!" LOL!

5:55 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Judy,
Me too!

Carolyn,
His tongue as probably decayed also, so he probably can't use the Fl sound, or any other sound.... well, he meant well, he thought he was serving his country the best way he knew how.

6:40 AM  
Blogger Si's blog said...

Neat story. You remember the man who signed you up when you were 18! Wow!

A little older than you. Grew up in a Pennsylvania college town. Racism was not a big thing there. See my blog post for today. It always seems astonishing to me about how long it has taken America to get past slavery and racism. The end of the War of Northern Agression was accomplished with a minimum of trauma and vindictiveness. But some did linger for much too long.

Every day and every way we are getting better and better.

6:55 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Si,
In my formative years all around me was white supremacy and nobody really thought of it... it was more like the Indian caste system.

8:17 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Si,
PS
If I am correct calling him Luther he went on to become a county solicitor and then a judge... so, his name is easy to remember in this area - at one time it was in the papers every day.

9:47 AM  
Blogger El Postino said...

Eddie, I think your story, personalized as it is, helps tell the story of this election. I appreciate it.

3:26 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Well, thank you El.

3:39 AM  

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