Editorial: Ruling shows progress made, not regression

Jun. 26, 2013 @ 05:43 PM

Fears are merited but progress, while validly argued, was made Tuesday.

Responsibility on the part of us all will ultimately determine the fallout of the Supreme Court ruling removing restrictions on all or part of 15 states, including North Carolina, in changing election procedures in jurisdictions with histories of discrimination.

Critics believe discriminatory practices will return, causing suppression for minorities and the poor. From the Oval Office, the eighth president since Lyndon Johnson signed the law a half century ago said he was disappointed the court overturned “well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair.”

President Obama is entitled to his opinion. We think he’s missing an opportunity.

In casting a deciding vote, Justice John Roberts wrote that a key provision of the 1965 law was based on 1960s voter registration and turnout data. If that’s the glue, we agree it has lost its stick.

Robert’s opinion invited a Congress flying on the wings to rewrite the formula. And his choice recognized racial progress. Isn’t that what we all want?

In criticizing the ruling, the choice is being made to say we have not made progress. That’s not fair.

Growth involves pains. It means stepping out, sometimes in waters uncharted, but often in places where experience has been gained.

We don’t make progress, whether we’re teaching a kid to swim or an adult employee new tasks, without a teaching method of incremental progress. And in the fight against racial injustice, steps in progress are far more evident today than a trip to the water fountain.

Missteps are part of the process. We err as we progress. But to wholly charge that any group is going to abolish all progress made, and that progress cannot continue to be made, is nothing more than rhetoric for a cause.

We agree in theory with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a dissenter. Discrimination still happens and still demands oversight.

But the Supremes’ ruling makes our state like the rest of the states, not different. That’s a good thing, a positive step we should be ready to take.

We have new responsibility, and it goes beyond the hands of those in government. All of us must keep them in check.