Sharpton reenacts Selma march to protest voter ID

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

MSNBC's Al Sharpton is repeating the celebrated civil rights march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery, Ala., but instead of protesting Jim Crow segregation and police brutality, he's opposing voter ID laws, right-to-work laws, and the Alabama illegal immigration bill.

Sharpton isn't fighting the new civil rights issue of our time, he's just engaging in left-wing activism.

"We're here about voter ID, we're here because the most reactionary immigration law is in Alabama," Shaprton said on Morning Joe today, "and thirdly, workers' rights -- it's against the law to organize unions here . . . we have our rally -- Martin Luther King III and many of the labor leaders and I."

Contrary to Sharpton's statement, it's not against the law to organize unions in Alabama. "Alabama workers may choose to join a union or decline to do so," the Alabama Department of Labor explains. The only ban is on mandating membership in the union as a condition of employment. Given that most workers do not voluntarily choose unions, this provision -- known as "right to work" -- comes much to the distress of the "labor leaders" for whom Sharpton is advocating.

"We're not reenacting the march, we're extending it, because all over the country -- in 34 states -- that we have seen the studies will disenfranchise five million voters," Sharpton said "There really is no evidence that the fraud they're trying to solve is a problem." 

A black, Democratic, former congressman views voter fraud in Alabama as a serious problem. "The truth is that the most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African American community, at least in Alabama, is the wholesale manufacture of ballots, at the polls and absentee, in parts of the Black Belt," former Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., wrote last October in a column recanting his former opposition to voter ID laws. He admitted in that piece that he " took the path of least resistance on this subject for an African American politician," and simply accused voter ID proponents of "thwarting black voter participation." 

Throughout the segment appears images of police officers beating participants in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, but Sharpton's modern imitation lacks the moral gravity of the original, appearing instead as the latest -- and far from the worst -- example of Sharpton abusing his reputation as a "civil rights activist."

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