July 13, 2016
By George Kohl The vision of our founders was of a government of, by, and for the people. And history tells the story of how our democracy has grown, from the days when only white, male property owners had rights to embracing African Americans and women as full voting participants. Today there's an extreme attack on our democracy, one that threatens to transform the government into one of, by, and for corporations and the 1 percent. Too many Americans believe the system is rigged, that politicians don't listen to the people.
May 27, 2016 |
MOVEMENTS ARE difficult to manage, because they're messy. Unlike weddings, which usually are planned to cover every detail, including which relatives get confined to social Siberia and what shade of hideous is forced upon the bridesmaids, social revolutions are unpredictable. Take, for example, feminism. At the beginning, it all seemed fairly benign. Give us the vote, admit us to school, stop treating us as marital property or slightly demented Miss Havishams. Common decency, which some call equality, is what we demand.
March 30, 2016
It's bad enough that an outrage was perpetrated last week against the voters of Maricopa County, Ariz. It would be far worse if we ignored the warning that the disenfranchisement of thousands of its citizens offers our nation. In November, one of the most contentious campaigns in our history could end in a catastrophe for our democracy. A major culprit would be the U.S. Supreme Court, and specifically the conservative majority that gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. The facts of what happened in Arizona's presidential primary are gradually penetrating the nation's consciousness.
January 19, 2016 |
I FOUND MYSELF reflecting last week on the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. My husband and I were driving home from Florida and we had made a detour to Birmingham, Ala., a place neither of us knew much about. We were fresh off a relaxing 11-day Caribbean cruise and not at all looking for a history lesson but found ourselves immersed in one as we climbed the steps to the 16th Street Baptist Church, known worldwide for the heinous bombing by the Ku Klux Klan that killed four little black girls back in 1963.
December 26, 2015
The Republican Party is having a "Come to Jesus" moment, as the old folks used to say when I was growing up in Alabama. The expression refers to when someone has to make a decision that could change his life forever. The decision facing Republicans is whether to choose Donald Trump or a similar ultra-conservative as their standard bearer, or scratch their way back to the middle ground, where the 2016 presidential election is likely to be decided. The most liberal congressman in Alabama when I was a child was a Republican, John Buchanan, whose Sixth District constituency included Birmingham.
November 7, 2015
ISSUE | ELECTION DAY The right to vote is priceless If the ancestors of the vast majority of Philadelphians were alive today, they'd be ashamed that a city company gave a $10,000 prize to some "lucky voter" on Tuesday ("South Philly woman gets $10k prize for voting," Philly.com, Wednesday). Most Philadelphians fall into at least one of these categories: a woman, an African American, a Catholic, a Jew, someone age 18 to 21, a tenant, or a descendant of someone not allowed a vote in his or her native country.
August 10, 2015 |
In the context of events outside professional football, accusations that racism played a role in Eagles coach Chip Kelly's decisions to trade several black players are understandable, though not believable. In recent months, this country has seen evidence of the unequal treatment African Americans face at the hands of police, at times resulting in death. It has heard charged rhetoric in defense of an odious emblem embraced by racist groups, the Confederate battle flag. Meanwhile, schemes persist to further erode protections provided to blacks by the Voting Rights Act. With such evidence of racial discord playing in the background, Kelly traded running back LeSean McCoy in March and cornerback Brandon Boykin last week, only to have them echo wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who suggested after being traded last year that race played a role in Kelly's decision.
July 16, 2015 |
IF PRESIDENT OBAMA had been on time to the NAACP Convention in Philly yesterday, you might've heard some thoughts on voting rights from a few Texas folks who helped strike down the state's voter-ID law. A panel discussion on such laws and the group's voting-rights initiatives was cut to a short speech from Texas NAACP President Gary Bledsoe on the same stage where Obama appeared about an hour later. The commander in chief was tied up with calls related to the Iran nuclear deal, announced yesterday.
July 15, 2015 |
The NAACP's national leader said Monday that the group was strong as ever and vowed that it would fight with renewed intensity on behalf of African Americans to defend freedoms under attack decades after the height of the civil rights movement. In a rousing keynote speech at the NAACP's national convention in Philadelphia, Cornell William Brooks urged members to emulate the bravery of previous generations who risked their lives with demonstrations and marches to bring about change.
July 10, 2015 |
WHAT A DIFFERENCE 11 years makes. The last time the NAACP held its national convention in Philadelphia, in 2004, then-President George W. Bush turned down an invitation to speak - a spokesman complained of "rather hostile political comments" - and one of the highlights was a speech by Bill Cosby, hailed as "a philanthropist and a role model. " As the leading civil-rights organization returns tomorrow to the Pennsylvania Convention Center to launch its five-day 106th annual convention, the NAACP is making plans to welcome President Obama - as the nation's first black president sees rising approval numbers near the end of his second term - but it's highly doubtful that the scandal-scarred Cosby name will even come up. There will be plenty of other things to talk about.