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"Show Us Your Papers"

I am way too busy these days for long political rants.

But I would be remiss if I do not at least make passing mention of how depressed, disgusted, and, yes, angry I've become as I watch the ongoing attempts at voter suppression in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, and other states where Republicans and their Teabagger allies control key seats of power.

It is one thing to attempt to win elections. But trying to do so by denying the most basic and important right of any American citizen to hundreds and thousands of people, on entirely spurious grounds... that goes beyond reprehensible. That is despicable.

It would really be nice if there were still some Republicans of conscience out there who would stand up and loudly denounce these efforts, a few men of honor and integrity for whom "win the election" does not "win the election at any cost." There were once many Republicans I admired, even I disagreed with them: men like Everett Dirksen, Clifford Case, Henry Cabot Lodge, William Scranton... yes, even Barry Goldwater, conservative as he is. I do not believe for a moment that Goldwater would have approved of this, any more than Robert A. Heinlein would have. They were conservatives, but they were not bigots, nor racists, nor corrupt. The Vote Suppressors have far more in common with Lester Maddox, George Wallace, John Stennis, and their ilk than they do with their distinguished GOP forebears.

The people behind these efforts at disenfranchising large groups of voters (the young, the old, the black, the brown) are not Republicans, since clearly they have scant regard for our republic or its values. They are oligarchs and racists clad in the skins of dead elephants.

And don't tell me they are libertarians either. No true libertarians would ever support a culture where citizens must "show their papers" to vote or travel. That's a hallmark of a police state, not a free country.


TUESDAY ADDENDUM: Okay, this has been running several days now, has been featured on HUFFINGTON POST and ABC news, referenced on Stephanie Miller, and no doubt countless other people. We have had four hundred messages, and I think everyone has had their say, and everything that needs to be said has been said. Generally eight or ten times. There are plenty of links and references in the comment threads for those who would like to know more about these voter suppression efforts. If you don't want to dig through the links, start with the Brennan Center for Justice and get the facts.

There's no sense in letting this spin on in circles forever. I am locking comments. Back to Westeros and worldcon and similar subjects, boys and girls.

Thanks for listening.

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( 437 comments )
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tapati
Aug. 12th, 2012 12:05 am (UTC)

Thank you. I, too, have been waiting to hear someone very publicly denouncing these actions from the Republican side, some leader who is brave and actually cares about the country and all of its people. The end justifies these means, in their mind, with no thought to the cost. Politics has become a huge sporting game rather than a means to serve the needs of the citizens and the country as a whole.
neumeindil
Aug. 12th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
Moments like these are why I'm such a proud fan of your career. I'll be quoting this to a "libertarian" friend of mine who informed me today that "An educated voter will now vote Romney/Ryan."
igrok2
Aug. 12th, 2012 12:26 am (UTC)
// citizens must "show their papers" to vote //

How citizens can vote without some ID?
Or i am misunderstanding something?
grrm
Aug. 12th, 2012 04:26 am (UTC)
In the US, for hundreds of years, citizens have voted without showing their papers.

Indeed, the US has no "national identity card," and has always resisted one. More and more, the driver's license is used for that purpose... but really, it just supposed to license you to DRIVE.
(no subject) - Mathieu Thielemans - Aug. 12th, 2012 05:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Aug. 12th, 2012 05:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - humbleminion - Aug. 12th, 2012 06:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - manderlyrules - Aug. 12th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Can't Vote in 2 States - Jay W. Walker - Aug. 13th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - apostle_of_eris - Aug. 13th, 2012 10:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rdmaughan - Aug. 12th, 2012 08:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - papamishka - Aug. 12th, 2012 12:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jufin - Aug. 12th, 2012 05:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Aug. 12th, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
i do not understand something. - amit pivonia - Aug. 12th, 2012 06:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - igrok2 - Aug. 12th, 2012 09:33 am (UTC) - Expand
and get on an airplane - Neil Fox - Aug. 14th, 2012 03:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - an800lbgorilla - Aug. 14th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Show Your Papers - Neil Anderson - Aug. 14th, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
ID requirements - tj1962 - Aug. 13th, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Felix Sandgren - Aug. 14th, 2012 12:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Aug. 14th, 2012 12:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - coaldustcanary - Aug. 14th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Mitzi J. Bartlett - Aug. 14th, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
vanishdtwilight
Aug. 12th, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)
Well said.
arfisk
Aug. 12th, 2012 12:45 am (UTC)
By chance, last night I was watching one of those 'how cringeworthy can this get?' flicks. This one was about teenage party ravers who run amok after taking 'vampire' pills. Next day I awake to hear who Romney's running mate is..

(The pills had been developed for *enhanced* vampirism, so there's your Overton Window, right there!)

The were-elephants pushing this creed aren't conservatives, in the traditional sense. Unfortunately, they are 'in the room', and berating them just causes true conservatives to bunch up and ignore the snacking noises coming from behind.

I prefer to try separating the were-elephants out by sticking them with a more accurate label: 'self-servative'.

...Meanwhile, in the spirit of self-defeating paranoid prophecies, keep an eye on those Diebold thingies..
moonshineray
Aug. 12th, 2012 12:51 am (UTC)
As a former republican (I say former and mean it, I am now independent and will not side with the disturbing extremes of that side ever again) I can't agree with you more. The point of the party is lost, the attitudes have degraded to childlike meanness and petty cruelty. I am ashamed of where the party has gone and want nothing to do with them.
Mary Louis
Aug. 13th, 2012 07:47 pm (UTC)
The Democrats are as Extreme as the Republicans..
I find Both parties are extreme. I’m also an Independent and can say I agree with some points on both sides..It makes me chuckle when I hear one side say the other is radical. They’re both equally extreme/radical.. Just as there may be Republicans trying to block people from voting, there are as many people trying to vote fraudulently-or initimidate people at the polls..let’s stop kidding ourselves here. If you need ID to get into a movie (if under 17) or to buy alcohol or to get government benefits, then you should ABSOLUTELY have some proof of ID to vote. As far as people recognizing me at the voting place-that’s flat-out wrong. I know many people in this town and have yet to meet one I know working the polls...
celebros
Aug. 12th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC)
It pleases me so much to see people I respect for completely nonpolitical reasons coming out publicly with stances I respect so much. Especially writers, because you know how to say it so WELL. Thanks George!
t40rs731n
Aug. 12th, 2012 01:21 am (UTC)
Once again, you are spot on, good sir
It is frightening. But it is hardly a surprise. We (should have) seen it coming when these people (clad in the skin of dead elephants) started denying hard science and cavorting with creationists as a means of corrupting our educational system. They are constantly attacking our people like a prize fighter.

Misdirection is their game and they won't give up until they steal the entire show.
snorkackcatcher
Aug. 12th, 2012 01:27 am (UTC)
How did this ever get so bad? (Apart from the obvious Jas. Crow aspects.)

In the UK, the procedure (I've seen this from both sides) is basically that you turn up and inform the ballot box clerks "I am So-and-so of Such-and-such address", and if their list of voters (from the register) includes a So-and-so living at Such-and-such they get issued with a ballot paper. It helps if you bring the card which tells you where to vote, but you don't have to.

OK, there are possibilities for gaming the system, and procedures for provisional ballots if required, but generally things just work out. The basic idea is to make it as easy as possible for anyone to vote who's entitled to.
grrm
Aug. 12th, 2012 04:24 am (UTC)
That's pretty much the way it has always worked in the US as well.

Until now.
in israel - amit pivonia - Aug. 13th, 2012 05:03 am (UTC) - Expand
The way it has worked? - Beth Klein - Aug. 14th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Voting - stanmortensen - Aug. 14th, 2012 08:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cogs42 - Aug. 12th, 2012 01:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
ladyringo
Aug. 12th, 2012 01:31 am (UTC)
My husband and I spent the morning talking about the election. We both feel very much like you do. Being a moderate is hard, I see good in both sides, but the farther and farther into right-wing-moral-majority-crazy the Republican party goes, the less and less I can see good in them.

SIGH.
archangelonline
Aug. 12th, 2012 02:04 am (UTC)
I'm British, so I've missed this - what papers are they asking for? Passports or something, because I didn't think many Americans had them?
allbery
Aug. 12th, 2012 05:06 am (UTC)
Generally either state driver's license or a state identity card (which are intended primarily for people who need official identification but who don't drive). It's nearly universal in the US to use the driver's license as official identification when that's needed. (But before now, there was no need to show identification to vote, only to identify yourself and have your name crossed off the list.)

And, of course, in some states, people who don't have an ID card have gotten caught in some fascinating catch-22s that have effectively disenfranchised them. For example, one generally has to show your birth certificate to get a voter ID card, and at least one state requires that you show official ID to get a copy of your birth certificate. (A lot of people have either misplaced theirs or never had a copy in the first place.)
nycfalcon
Aug. 12th, 2012 02:19 am (UTC)
It is illegal to have a vote tax. If states are going to require papers then those states must pay for all of their citizen residents to have them.
encarmencita
Aug. 12th, 2012 04:55 am (UTC)
That's an excellent point. One I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned in this discussion in the media.
(no subject) - moonshineray - Aug. 12th, 2012 07:05 am (UTC) - Expand
vote tax? - Neil Fox - Aug. 14th, 2012 02:25 am (UTC) - Expand
thefirstalicat
Aug. 12th, 2012 02:21 am (UTC)
As an American born in MA but early on living in UK and Ireland (as in up to age 7, the Jesuits' ideal as in "give me your kid for 7 years and I have him/her for life"), and now for 16 years living in (and a dual citizen of) Canada, I find myself cringing more and more each time when a Canadian originally from another country asks me, as the American in the room, how "democracy" works in the US.

You're right, this is beyond disgusting. Frankly, I consider these voter suppression movements to be essentially treasonous, to all of the concepts and ideals on which the country of my birth was originally based. Heading towards not just a police state, but a combined theocratic/corporate police state at that. Scary.
orgdotnews
Aug. 12th, 2012 02:37 am (UTC)
Thanks for your comments - as a highly respected author, people listen to you. I'm glad to see you on the correct side of this issue. I'll celebrate with a roast quail basted in honey, some hard cheese, and a thick stew of boar and vegetables.

Anyway - seriously, thanks for this.
orehime
Aug. 12th, 2012 02:40 am (UTC)
Good going George. It's 'Emperor's New Clothes' time.
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