Jim Crow laws essentially created a system of Southern apartheid.
There were two societies, white and black, codified by law to ensure that never the twain shall meet. If black Americans challenged the system, they could be threatened, jailed, brutalized or killed. Any attempt by the federal government to break up this rebarbative state of affairs was met with, as the term went, “massive resistance.”
When world opinion began turning on the other apartheid — South Africa’s nationwide variety — in the 1960s, a series of international athletic boycotts began taking effect. In 1964, the BBC reported, South Africa was banned from the Olympics. After 1985, when Formula 1 stopped hosting a race there, the country was isolated from the global sports community until apartheid was abolished.
I bring all of this up because Democrats in general, and our president in particular, are fond of referring to Georgia’s election integrity law as “the new Jim Crow” or “Jim Crow 2.0.” In the Democratic view, the controversial law is akin to the codified racism of the Old South because it requires voter ID for absentee ballots and tries to rectify electioneering abuses (by the Democrats, if you had to ask) by banning the distribution of food and water in voting lines.
Leaving aside the absurdity of this somehow being akin to Jim Crow, let’s assume for a second that President Joe Biden believes his own rhetoric. Should major sporting events pull out of Georgia until the state caves?
Last week, Biden said yes — at least when it came to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which was then scheduled for July at Truist Park, the home stadium of the Atlanta Braves.
“I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly. I would strongly support them doing that,” Biden said in an interview with ESPN.
“The very people who are victimized the most are the people who are the leaders in these various sports. And it’s just not right,” he added. “This is Jim Crow on steroids … what they’re doing in Georgia.”
Well, MLB did pull out of Atlanta, handing the All-Star Game from a mostly black city in Georgia to a mostly white city in Colorado. Colorado has voter ID laws and a shorter early voting period than Georgia does. But the state has a lot of legalized pot, so … liberal victory?
Here are South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott and former National Republican Senatorial Committee senior adviser Matt Whitlock noting the irony:
And then there was the economic impact on everyday Georgians. According to CNN, one county tourism official estimated that it would take $100 million away from the state — and that money isn’t coming out of the pocket of GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.
But, we’ve been told Georgia is “Jim Crow on steroids” by the president, which should make another decision easy for him to make: The 2021 Masters, played at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, should be moved for the time being, correct?
Should the MLB All-Star Game have been moved out of Atlanta?
Well, according to the president, that’s all on them. He’s not going to put his hand on the moral scales of a major sporting event — you know, like he did with the Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game.
Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked Biden on Tuesday whether the Masters — one of professional golf’s four majors, which is scheduled to begin later this week — should be postponed and/or moved.
“I think that’s up to the Masters,” Biden said.
“Look,” Biden said, followed by a long pause. “It is reassuring to see that for-profit operations and businesses are speaking up about how these new Jim Crow laws are just antithetical to who we are.
“There’s another side to it, too,” he added. “The other side to it, too, is when they, in fact, move out of Georgia, the people who need the help the most, people who are making hourly wages, sometimes get hurt the most.
“I think it’s a very tough decision for a corporation to make or group to make, but I respect them when they make that judgment and I support whatever judgment they make. But it’s the best way to deal with this is for Georgia and other states to smarten up, stop it, stop it, start getting people to vote.”
Keep in mind that calling for the Masters to move at a Tuesday news conference when the event is to begin on Thursday would be a consequence-free symbolic gesture.
Why, then, did Biden back off the pressure over “Jim Crow on steroids?” If this really is “Jim Crow 2.0,” a reboot of American apartheid, Democrats should have no trouble treating Georgia as if it were the apartheid-era South Africa.
The question answers itself:
Whatever messaging gains the Democrats may have made by invoking the grim specter of George Wallace, Orval Faubus, Bull Connor and James Eastland to smear the GOP, there are very real economic losses the people of Georgia are going to sustain.
If the law were so onerous, this would be a small cost to pay for a massive moral statement — but clearly, it’s not.
President Biden’s equivocation should tell you all you need to know about how serious the Democrats are when it comes to this “Jim Crow 2.0” rhetoric: It’s nothing but a sick show.
Once he realized his words had real consequences that weren’t just going to be felt at the polls, he’s backed off them considerably. But Americans will remember he said them.
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