The Teabagger Convention opened in Tennessee with 600 attendees, soon to be exaggerated by Faux Noise into thousands. After omitting the Pledge of Allegiance, since they forgot to bring an American flag, they turned to failed GOP Presidential candidate, Tom Tancredo.
The opening night speaker at the Tea Party convention suggested a return to a "literacy test" to protect America from presidents like Obama -- a segregation-era method employed by southern US states to keep blacks from voting.
In his speech Thursday to attendees, former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo invoked the loaded pre-civil rights era buzzword, saying that President Barack Obama was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country."
Southern states used literacy tests as part of an effort to deny suffrage to African American voters prior to Johnson-era civil rights laws.
"Prior to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965, Southern (and some Western) states maintained elaborate voter registration procedures whose primary purpose was to deny the vote to those who were not white," a website for civil rights veterans explains. "In the South, this process was often called the 'literacy test.' In fact, it was much more than a simple test, it was an entire complex system devoted to denying African-Americans (and in some regions, Latinos) the right to vote."
"Because the Freedom Movement was running "Citizenship Schools" to help people learn how to fill out the forms and pass the test, Alabama changed the test 4 times in less than two years (1964-1965)," the site adds. "At the time of the Selma Voting Rights campaign there were actually 100 different tests in use across the state. In theory, each applicant was supposed to be given one at random from a big loose-leaf binder. In real life, some individual tests were easier than others and the registrar made sure that Black applicants got the hardest ones."
White applicants could be approved even if they didn't pass the test.
"Your application was then reviewed by the three-member Board of Registrars — often in secret at a later date," the site continues. "They voted on whether or not you passed. It was entirely up to the judgment of the Board whether you passed or failed. If you were white and missed every single question they could still pass you if — in their sole judgment — you were 'qualified.' If you were Black and got every one correct, they could still flunk you if they considered you 'unqualified.'"... [emphasis added]
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Keith Olbermann gave a short comment that is truly a magnificent explanation of Tancredo’s hypocrisy.
It’s clear to me that the second precept of GOP Teabaggerism (the first is hate Obama) is racism. Are you as sickened by this as I am?