Chris Christie Thinks South Should Have Voted On Civil Rights

NJ Governor Chris Christie - photo by Bob Jagendorf

In a breathtaking display of ignorance, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently said, “The fact of the matter is, I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.”

Oh really? That’s the “fact of the matter”, huh Christie?

I think New Jersey Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski had the best response to Christie when he said, “Rosa Parks didn’t get to the front of the bus through a ballot question and Jim Crow laws weren’t repealed by public referendum.”

Putting civil rights up to popular vote has been a recurring topic in recent stories on The Left Call. It’s something that I think is very important for everyone to understand and so I believe it is a message worth repeating.

We don’t put rights up to a vote in this country.

Yes, I know rights have been voted on in this country, but what I’m saying is, it’s wrong to do so. History has proven that the public gets it wrong many times when it comes to civil rights. Do you believe civil rights legislation would have passed in the 1960s if it had been put to a popular vote? Of course not. Do you think slavery would have ended in the South had it been put to a popular vote? Again, of course not. This is why we should never put rights to a vote.

On Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight, Dan Savage said, “We don’t put civil rights up to a vote, in part because people are often wrong.” Savage also mentioned one of the common points made by those who oppose same-sex marriage is the fact that every time same-sex marriage has been put to a popular vote it has lost.

My response to the fact that same-sex marriage has lost every time when put to a vote is: So what? – It’s immaterial – Oh, and I don’t care! Because I will say it again, we don’t put rights up to a vote in this country.

Both Savage and Olbermann ran down a list of civil rights that would not have passed if put to a vote like, desegregating schools, legalizing inter-racial marriage, ending Jim Crow laws and of course ending slavery, as I mentioned above.

One last time…

We don’t put rights up to a vote in this country.


photo by Bob Jagendorf via Flickr

Human Rights

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