Section 5 just in case

Published 8:50 pm Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I have a sorority sister that puts on makeup every night before she goes to sleep. After a whole day of wearing makeup, she puts on a fresh new face before bed. She puts on blush, foundation and mascara — the works. Her reason for doing this is just in case her house caught on fire and a very attractive fireman would have to rescue her, she would look good.

She always had a thing for firemen and in this would be her damsel in distress moment — so she would have to look her best.

As much as we made fun of her she always said, “just in case.”

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I am proud of Selma as a city for thinking about the “just in case” scenario and being one of the first municipalities in Alabama to pass a formal resolution in support of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

When I first learned of the controversy with Section 5 in Shelby County vs. Holder, I will admit, I understood where those were coming from that felt the preclearance to get district lines and voting changes approved by those in Washington D.C. is a little outdated.

If it were to be taken out of the Voting Rights Act, it may show that we have come a long way and no longer need the preclearance because minority discrimination is no longer a reality with voting.

But I sadly have begun to realize that this is just a nice thought and not a reality. Even though we may not need the preclearance to protect minority votes in Selma where minorities make up the majority of our population, who is to say that fact will not change in the future. It may be five years or 300, but this preclearance should always be there just in case leadership was to change hands.

I know our Selma City Council is currently made up of mostly minority representatives but this could change in the future also.

The truth is the Shelby County vs. Holder case regarding Section 5 will probably not even affect our laws here in Selma because the Supreme Court decision will just be ruled for Shelby County.

But what would it hurt to already know where we stand about the section and know what our reaction would be if it did? The White House might not necessarily be taking all of our guns like some say, but I know I would react unpleasantly if they did. In the same way I think it is wise to know how we as Selmians would feel if Section 5 was removed across the entire region. When the council voted to in favor of the preclearance, it showed how progressive a city we are to lead other cities to do the same. It was the people in our city who fought to get the Voting Rights Act in place and I am happy to see residents fighting for it to stay.

Just in case a fire starts to blaze in our city, we will be ready with our full-coverage foundation of Section 5.