by Tommy Davis
Normally, when it comes to government programs that attempt to address ethnic bigotry, I am a total critic. Policies that include contemporary affirmative action actually turned out to encourage discrimination rather than discourage unfairness when it comes to certain groups of people. The original affirmative action ruled out race as a factor. Contemporary affirmative action leads to the underdevelopment of those who did not really obtain success through candid competition; but rather through policies that reward failure and penalize someone else’s achievement.
As a Republican, I understand that laws must be initiated that would prevent citizens from being deprived of their human and citizenship rights by other citizens. In January of 1865, President Lincoln prompted Congress to enact the Thirteenth Amendment ending slavery. The Civil War ended that same year when General Lee surrendered on April 9 with Lincoln being assassinated 6 days later.
When Andrew Johnson, a war Democrat, became president upon Lincoln’s assassination, the Democrats initiated the “Black Codes”. This was a set of directives that sought to control the freed slaves by enacting and enforcing preventive laws that included restricting blacks from juries, the voting booth, and subjecting blacks to more harsh penalties than their white counterparts.
The Republicans in Congress, in an effort to protect southern blacks, passed the Civil Rights bill of 1866 over Andrew Johnson’s veto. This bill disallowed discrimination in state laws, but was restricted to the states that refused to guarantee civil rights to its citizens.
The Republicans then proceeded to draft the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution in the spring of 1866 that established the citizenship of all people born or naturalized in the United States. Such amendment also addressed black suffrage whereas Section 2 overturned the Three-Fifths Compromise that counted black residents as a fraction of whites when it came to apportioning representation in Congress. Congressional reconstruction brought black citizens directly into the nation’s political structure and would lead to at least ten black Republicans in Congress after the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, which prohibited both federal and state governments from interfering with suffrage on racial grounds.
None of the laws passed by the Republican Congress initiated a favoritism based on race. Fair edicts foster competition, equality, and real growth that always involve an improvement within society. Unjust regulation sponsor inequity and typically has an unconstructive bearing on other groups of people.
Our prison system is made up of those who volunteered for slavery by being convicted of a crime(s). Upon release, their prior servitude or conviction of a felony leaves them disenfranchised and closed out from many of the economic and employment opportunities that would allow them to be productive. Even so, our prisons are filled with juvenile offenders who will never experience a chance to be constructive upon release if some of our laws are not repealed.
A legacy of failure serves as a portion of future generations who are subject to poverty due to the lack of opportunity afforded their parents after incarceration. As a black American, it is just plain reality that a disproportionate number of blacks (including juveniles) are incarcerated for committing crimes; and it is equally factual that many learned a valuable lesson while incarcerated.
Our Republican leaders would do well to continue the custom of equality by drafting a federal Act that would override state laws barring the sealing of criminal records that does not involve sexual offenses or capital murder. We must again champion decrees that would enfranchise the penitent and disadvantaged as well as give former criminals a motivation to hold a trustworthy citizenship.
A modern-day Reconstruction that would assist in economic growth by strengthening responsible families would again confirm the Republican Party as an advocate of the African-American, EQUALITY, and a stalwart republic.