There’s been a lot of fuss lately over Georgia’s Senate Bill 202. This bill revamps how the State of Georgia will handle elections. Georgia Republicans claim it will protect the integrity of elections. Critics, including most Democrats, say the law is an effort to limit access to voting by Black voters and other minorities.
President Joe Biden has called the bill “un-American” and compared it with Jim Crow laws. Former President Donald Trump, who has made dubious claims of vote fraud costing him the 2020 election, criticized the bill as not going far enough.
Opponents of the bill blasted companies based in Georgia, like Coca Cola and Delta Airlines, for not speaking out more strongly against the bill. They threatened boycotts. Major League Baseball was criticized for holding the 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta.
When these companies spoke out against the bill, and when MLB moved the All-Star Game to Denver, Republicans and bill supporters threatened boycotts in retaliation.
Talk about durned if you do and durned if you don’t. I never thought I’d have sympathy for the likes of Coca Cola, Delta Airlines, or MLB.
I’ve learned to be skeptical about stuff like this. I’ve concluded it’s best to doubt both sides. That’s because I remember the fuss in Arizona over SB 1070 some years ago. This was Arizona’s tough anti-illegal immigration law. I learned that 90 percent of what was said about it by opponents and supporters alike was nonsense.
To listen to the opponents, this was a racist law that targeted Latinos and legalized racial profiling. It would give law officers the right to stop anyone and demand to see their identification (it was called the “papers, please” law). Some said it was designed to fill the state’s prisons for the private contractors who operated some prisons.
Supporters claimed illegal immigration was overwhelming the state. Illegal immigrants were bringing in drugs and crime. The supporters said something had to be done regarding border security because the Obama Administration was doing nothing.
I decided to read SB 1070 for myself. I saw it specifically prohibited racial profiling. However, there was also a section that said individuals could sue counties and municipalities if they weren’t zealous in enforcing it. I hate to say it, but the only way that some of these entities could appear to be enforcing the law was through racial profiling.
So, the law made it all but inevitable law enforcement agencies would have to do something prohibited by the law if they wanted to avoid getting sued.
I spoke with police executives and prosecutors who would have to enforce the law. They said much of the language used in the law was vague, and they were not getting any help from the state in how to interpret it. They were also getting no direction as to how they were supposed to enforce this. It looked like they were getting a possibly expensive new mandate at the same time the state was taking funds away from local governments.
I also learned SB 1070 gave the police almost no powers they didn’t already have.
I finally concluded the real purpose of SB 1070 was so Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Gov. Jan Brewer, and State Sen. Russell Pearce could thump their chests and talk about how tough they were on illegal immigration so they could get votes.
Now, when I see some controversial piece of legislation where people are playing the race card, I’m skeptical. It’s a sad fact of life these days that many “activists” will lie to you if it serves their purposes. There are plenty of them on the left and on the right.
So, be skeptical about what anyone says about Georgia’s Senate Bill 202. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn most of what you’re hearing from both sides is nonsense.
These days, it would be what to expect.