Why the President Is Simply Wrong on Civil Rights

How can a former constitutional law professor, an attorney general and an iconic organization get it so wrong on civil rights?

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Getty Images

When you look at it, it is hard to tell if the White House, the Department of Justice and the NAACP are merely a collective sign of the times or the reasons why the times are sadly changing.

Over the course of the past week, all three iconic institutions have corrupted the legacy of civil rights activism in America, using their efforts to support legal initiatives that pervert the legacy of black civil rights leaders with self-serving and misguided political efforts that, if successful, will corrupt the definitions of right and wrong in our nation.

President Barack Obama’s initial criticism of Arizona’s SB 1070 illegal immigration law has grown from publicly speaking out against the bill himself to allowing Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón to rail against the bill from the floor of the U.S. Congress. Now President Obama’s objection to the law has prompted a lawsuit from the Department of Justice against the Arizona statute. The lawsuit alleges that this state law supersedes federal law on illegal immigration (which, by the way, it does not–it merely enforces federal law), and charges that the law will discriminate against Spanish-speaking people–including the illegal immigrants that the law targets under conditions.

Of late, rumors have been swirling of presidential amnesty for illegal immigrants; U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) charged that the president is using the issue of border security as a ploy to win amnesty for undocumented workers currently residing in the United States. In the midst of all this, the Department of Justice lawsuit comes across to many political conservatives and moderates as a political maneuver to gain support for the Obama administration as it attempts to shape immigration reform in the partisan, self-serving fashion that health care and stimulus bills were passed so far.

This effort has been supported by Obama supporters including Rev. Al Sharpton, activists who have promised to bring people to Arizona to protest ”… in the spirit of the Freedom Riders from the civil rights movement…” This is notably troubling considering that the civil rights of non-citizens of the United States have remained a driving factor in the move to file this lawsuit, a move that says as much about the White House’s political motives as it does about the incorrectly fluid definitions of ”civil rights” and ”human rights” within the administration and its supporters on the left.

The political zeal for this lawsuit against Arizona contrasts suspiciously with the lack of Justice Department action against the New Black Panther Party over voter intimidation tactics used during the 2008 presidential election. These acts of intimidation at the polls were documented repeatedly on film, activity committed by individuals that had no shame in being recorded while spewing their hatred for white Americans. Yet, Attorney General Eric Holder’s department has repeatedly refused to file charges against principal actors from the 2008 events, despite continued complaints for some sort of action in the spirit and defense of civil rights for all Americans, particularly those in the process of practicing their civil right to vote.

The department’s silence in this instance rings of hollow political expedience and whimsical pre-conditions of what constitutes civil rights violations in today’s America – criteria defined by the powers that be, not the power for equality entailed in the Constitution. When the Department of Justice is capable of determining that the rights of non-citizens must be championed as it condones American citizens being intimidated and threatened while enacting their right to vote, we are approaching a point in America where justice is too subjective to be counted on to provide stability and equality for our citizens on a regular basis.