On Wednesday night’s edition of “The Colbert Report,” host Stephen Colbert paid homage to the Voting Rights Act, the historic law passed in 1965 to ensure fair treatment of African-Americans at the polls in states with a history of racial discrimination.
Colbert began the segment by revealing that he attended Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, albeit in his mother’s womb.
“I will never forget Martin Luther King’s stirring words,” he said, rolling video of the speech with an overdubbed heartbeat and King’s voice muffled to unintelligibility.
For years, said Colbert, African-Americans faced roadblocks at the polls like literacy tests, poll taxes and “You must be this white to vote” signs. Now, Shelby County, Alabama is challenging the law before the Supreme Court, saying its unfair of the federal government to single out states with histories of racial discrimination.
Shelby County’s lawyer, Bert Rein, argued before the court on Feb. 27 that “The problem which the Voting Rights Act addressed is solved.”
“You heard him folks,” said Colbert. “Racism is solved! Jimmy? Drop the fully integrated balloons!”
A shower of black and white balloons fell from the ceiling as the words “WE OVERCAME IT!” flashed across the bottom of the screen.
“I must have missed the moment that racism ended,” he mused. “I wonder when that was.”
The point is, said Colbert, the Voting Rights Act is like an old restraining order on the states that it encompasses.
“The Voting Rights Act is obsolete,” he said “These states are saying, ‘Yes I used to beat my girlfriend, but I haven’t since the restraining order so we don’t need it anymore.’”
Watch the video, embedded via Comedy Central, below: