Tea Party Opening Address: Tancredo Laments Lack of Literacy Test
Former Republican Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, who served 10 years in the U.S. Congress, delivered the opening night keynote address on February 4, 2010 at the Tea Party National Convention, held in Nashville, Tennessee. The event is scheduled to conclude today, February 6, 2010.
During his speech, he stated that people who couldn't spell the word 'vote' or say the word in English, were responsible for electing Barack Hussein Obama and putting a" .... committed socialist ideologue ...." in the White House.
His remarks prompted laughter and applause from the audience.
Mr. Tancredo is a staunch advocate against immigration.
His website displays the credo, "For our borders, for our culture, for our future."
The opening-night speaker at first ever National Tea Party Convention ripped into President Obama, Sen. John McCain and "the cult of multiculturalism," asserting that Obama was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country."
The speaker, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., told about 600 delegates in a Nashville, Tenn., ballroom that in the 2008 election, America "put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House ... Barack Hussein Obama."
Tancredo did not stop at the Democratic president -- ripping McCain, R-Ariz., the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, for shaping up to be a repeat of "Bush 1 and Bush 2."
"Thank God John McCain lost the election," he said, voicing his belief that McCain would have presided over big budgets and lacked a tough stand against immigration.
Tancredo served 10 years in the House of Representatives and made a name for himself with his ardent opposition to immigration. He believes the 2008 election served to galvanize the right.
"This is our country," he told the crowd. "Let's take it back."
There was a time when literacy tests, as well as poll taxes, were used to prevent the descendants of the formerly enslaved of African descent from participating fully as American citizens in the voting process.
The practice of administering literacy tests was first instituted in the state of Mississippi in 1890. The southern states of South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia followed suit in adopting the strategy.
The literacy tests were implemented as a means to skirt the 14th and 15th Amendments, as pertained to so called Negroes (Black people), with the amendments guaranteeing certain rights to all citizens and the right to vote.
The 1890 Constitutional Convention of Mississippi marked a new departure, however, in the recommendation of an education test as a means to effect racial discrimination. The Supreme Court of Mississippi commented on the ways in which Blacks’ racial characteristics rendered them unfit to exercise the suffrage:
Within the field of permissible action under the limitations proposed by the Federal Constitution, the Convention swept the field of expedients to obstruct the exercise of suffrage by the Negro race. By reasons of its previous condition of servitude and dependency, this race had acquired or accentuated certain peculiarities of habit, temperament, and of character, which clearly distinguished it as a race from the whites.
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