After LBJ passed the Civil Rights Act, legend has it that he said: “There goes the South for a generation.”
His point being that Republicans would capture the white Southern vote for the next few decades.
LBJ’s prediction has in many ways come true. The South is a Republican stronghold.
Last week, the Georgia legislature passed a bill to that will lead to a statewide referendum this fall.
The question on the referendum will be whether or not to amend the state constitution to: “to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance.”
The bill received very little support from state Democrats.
I went to Atlanta to testify in support of the bill. I do not know if my testimony had any effect.
In the end, Republicans carried a bill that, I believe, will provide increased educational opportunity for poor and minority youth.
Of course, I may be wrong.
But I was confident enough in my opinion to testify in front of a public body.
I have voted for a Democrat in every election that I’ve ever participated in, save for one: I voted for Bobby Jindal during his first successful bid for governor.
I voted for Jindal because of his support for high-quality charter schools.
In voting for Jindal, I had to vote for a candidate who has taken the following stances:
- Citizens of the same gender should not be able to express their love through marriage.
- Medicaid should not be expanded to provide poor families with health insurance.
- Creationism should be taught alongside evolutionism.
It pains me that, in the South, I had to choose between voting for educational opportunity and voting for LGBT rights, healthcare for the poor, and science.
But that’s the choice I faced.
I don’t know if I voted correctly.
At the Clinton Library, which I recently visited, there is a display about how a Southern Democrat named Bill Clinton helped grow charter schools across the country.
Will Democrats ever be able to capture the South from Republicans?
I don’t know.
To win back the South, they will, I suspect, need to capture more of the center.
Their current education platform may be preventing them from doing so.
Politics aside, I worry that Southern Democrats are on the wrong side of history.
I believe Southern Democrats can course correct and end up on the right side of history.
I hope that this occurs.
In part because I want the party to be the best version of itself, but mostly because it will benefit children who desperately need their support.