This week New Jersey Governor Chris Christie claimed that the civil rights movement in the 1960's should have opted for a public referendum on equality rather than resorting to public protests, which led to them - he said - 'fighting and dying on the streets.'
Honestly, they could have spared themselves the mess, according to our esteemed historian.
I imagine the leaders of the civil rights era would have an unmistakable response to Christie's contention, and I imagine much of it would be delivered in quite strong language. A plebiscite in the late 1950's or 1960's that would have overturned Jim Crow? Really Governor?
It's insupportable, in fact it's craven nonsense to contend that the majority community in the south would have done anything other than denied African Americans civil rights at the ballot box.
Christie is either attempting to bamboozle us with a high handed political pantomime, or he's genuinely ignorant of the history and politics of twentieth century America. At his level of posturing, it ultimately doesn't really matter which is true.
'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,' Christie told Philly.com this week. 'It was our political institutions that were holding things back. I don't think there's anything necessarily so special about this particular issue that it must be handled by a legislature. Why would that be? I don't understand how anybody could argue with letting the people decide this issue. Let's stop hiding behind this 'we don't put civil rights on the ballot' thing. Ya know, please. These folks would put anything on the ballot if they thought they could win.'
This is dreadful bloody buffoonery. ___________________
Really this is the worst kind of political cowardice posing as principle. Christie knows better - and he knows that we know better - but in his pointless attempt to placate the right wing he's reduced to this pathetic equivocating display. Thankfully, even people who don't support marriage equality for gays will find his statement completely absurd.
For God's sake, how much more of this moronic dumb show do the GOP think the country can take before they admit the inevitable: gay marriage equality is here to stay, and it will be at the federal level, and soon.
How do I know this? Because America's biggest corporations, the ones who anticipate the future before the politicians they pay for do, have embraced full equality for their gay employees, including supporting marriage equality. It's a done deal. It has been for years.
As above, so eventually below in Washington. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably fleecing you for your political prejudices.
And here is why, despite all their money and all their influence, the rabidly homophobic right will lose (and have already lost): because civil rights for minorities can not and should not be put up a popular vote. That's why they are called rights, after all. Protecting the rights of minorities is not a popularity contest. It is a constitutional guarantee.
Even in New Jersey.
(Below Washington and Maryland Governors hit out at Chris Christie for marriage equality ballot suggestion)