Last night I started crafting a post weaving in the rejection of the Constitutional Convention question in Connecticut, with state election results and the election of Barack Obama. And yet, in the clinical analysis of what it meant, something else seemed lost — a sense of history and perspective. Last night seemed bigger than just looking at what laws are likely to be enacted next term.
So, let me leave it to another post to break down what the election results mean to employers. That will come with some time. (And for those who are really interested, I’ll have more details on a presentation I’m giving on November 11th discussing that very issue.)
But for now, embrace this thought. Only 44 years ago, Congress passed one of the most sweeping bills still in effect today — the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And every day, courts in the United States are still using that law to make decisions on dozens of court cases. Its’ purpose?
To enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes.
And now, despite the short history between its passage and today, the nation just elected the first African-American President.
Whatever your politics, it is a remarkable achievement and, as a history major in college, I feel pretty confident in saying that our nation’s history books start a new chapter today.