Today we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. The signature line from that speech is, of course, this:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
It is sad and ironic that 50 years later, the City of Anaheim is being sued by self-styled civil rights activists who seek to base Anaheim’s city council elections on the color of its citizens skins, and not their character as unique, individual citizens.
Strip away the rhetoric and the ACLU lawsuit seeking to impose single-member council districts centers on race. This elevation of ethno-racial group considerations above individual rights is evident in this comment by ACLU lawsuit plaintiff Jose Moreno at the June 11, 2013 Anaheim City Council meeting:[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67rwIq64kcI&w=420&h=315]
After paying at least rhetorical deference to Councilwoman Kris Murray’s point about the individual citizen’s right to vote for whomever they choose, Moreno offers this critical caveat:
“…so that neighbors may elect neighbors regardless of what they may look like but that people who look a certain way or may have a certain surname, that their voting patterns are respected.” [emphasis added].
That is (or should be) a startling admission of a radical idea. In plain English, what Moreno is saying is that the ballot choices of Latino voters should be accorded more weight than non-Latino voters. That principle stands in opposition to one of the bedrock principles of this Republic of equality before the law. Each of us has the right to vote and to cast his or her ballot for the candidate or candidates of our choice; but no person’s vote does and should count more than the vote of anyone else. Sometimes our favored candidates win, and sometimes they lose – but those are our choices as individuals and not merely constituent parts of a racial group, or individual manifestations of ethnic groupthink.