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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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Laura Mandell
Aug. 14th, 2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
we shall overcome
Thank you for speaking up. The Doonesbury cartoon series welcoming Jim Crow back says it all.
Christopher Arthur
Aug. 14th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
Same issues I always see
I always like to see someone who isn't afraid to state their viewpoint and call out those they see as being wrong. However, It never ceases to amaze me how a perfectly intelligent person can fall victim to the same madness as everyone else. On the first page of comments you reply to a poster with this:

"You really to turn off Fox News and listen to some fact-based reporting.

Your post is full of so many misstatements, distortions, and outright lies that I hardly know where to begin refuting it.

Let me just state, for starts, that the "blocking the military from voting" is completely false, as one of the other posters documents below. Whoever told you that was case was a spin doctor, to be generous... but it's not true."

Without putting too fine a point on it, that middle paragraph is an excuse not an argument. Its a bullying attempt plain and simple. You are basically telling this poster that it isn't worth your time to argue any real points. Your just going to browbeat them with equally tilting opposite spin. You might as well have said simply, if you don't agree with me then quit posting on my rants.

The one that really gets me though is the part about spin doctoring. In your own post you use derivations of the phrase "Show Us Your Papers" which is obviously an attempt to evoke the U.S.S.R. or even Nazi Germany. That is a textbook example of spin doctoring if ever I've seen it.

One last little point I want to make is that I must identify myself with a non-anonymous signin and an IP address to make this post. Liberal high horse hypocrisy, "show me your papers" indeed Mr. Martin.

P.S. - My indignity aside, I am perfectly able to separate my like of you in general from my dislike of this post and possibly your general political viewpoint. Any disparaging remarks taken personally I apologize for, but I feel that this kind of thing must be called out and halted since it accomplishes nothing but bad feelings on both sides.
Christopher Arthur
Aug. 14th, 2012 06:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Same issues I always see
After some more thought it occurs to me and has been pointed out by a friend whose opinion I value, that I'm being petty. This issue really is a pretty cut and dry one. I never disagreed with the fact that your opinion might be correct just that maybe some of the opposite argument could be correct as well. I jumped on the chance to show where arguments tend to break down without taking the matter into full account. I apologize. This is a matter of rights and making sure those rights are enjoyed by all something I feel we have to protect with all our effort. I'd like to retract a good bit of what I printed above. I believe in using plain speech and allowing a point to make itself. I don't like spin doctoring or divisive phraseology and I allowed that to cloud my mind. The key point here is that a solution to a non-existent problem has been introduced in what could possibly be an attempt to gain traction for a political party at the cost of voter rights and that cannot stand. I'm very sorry, and a bit ashamed that I would allow myself to go too far down this path.
Re: Same issues I always see - Sam Trenholme - Aug. 14th, 2012 07:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Same issues I always see - Christopher Arthur - Aug. 14th, 2012 08:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Gwendolyn Lord
Aug. 14th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)
George you rock!
Aside from the fact that I adore your books,and that your cycle has kept me sane (in that reading it is the perfect escape from daily stress) to find out that you are willing to speak out against the hijacking of our nations, the rights of our nation, and the chronic and intolerable injustice against it's citizens, on the part of self-serving, and arrogant politicians, just proves to me that YOU ROCK!
Shane Roberts
Aug. 14th, 2012 05:55 pm (UTC)
Teabagger? Racist? That's kind of crude. What's with the name calling? As one of your readers/fans I just wanted to say it sucks to get insulted and called a racist by someone you admire. Also, for what it's worth, I had to provide more proof of my identity to post on your boards than I did to vote last election day.
Aug. 14th, 2012 06:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Teabagger?
It is the next election day that is the issue.
Aug. 14th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
You're better than that George
Hey George, please stop. You're better than that.

This here is one of those topics that reasonable people can disagree about without throwing around words like "reprehensible" and "despicable."

I personally believe that asking people to be capable of attaining some basic form of identification is not overly burdensome. However, I recognize that such a requirement in the voting arena may unfairly disenfranchise segments of the population if it is not done responsibly.

There is potential voter fraud to consider on the one hand (which has occurred and is debilitating to a democracy/republic) and potential disenfranchisement to consider on the other hand (which is equally debilitating).

The answer is for people like you and I who disagree on this topic to come up with a responsible solution that works for both of us and the country. The answer in NOT to demand that our position be accepted in totality, and suggest that anyone who disagrees is "reprehensible," "despicable," and "racist."

It's this sort of zero sum demonizing of the other side that is crippling our government.

I am open to your thoughts on my post, and welcome any debate that may follow therefrom.

Edited at 2012-08-14 06:57 pm (UTC)
Aug. 14th, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
Explain the nose bone poster of our President the teabaggers so love to hold up then. Explain why in 2009 a city official in Orange County sent out an email flyer to her friends through the city government email using racist remarks about Obama eating watermelon and fried chicken. Explain the Birthers. It's racism. Old, Southern, pre-civil rights racism. There's no other way to look at it. So if you disagree with it, do something about it instead of denouncing logical individuals when they call it like it is.
Aug. 14th, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
Not seeing the "police state" aspect; unless every other part of our lives is a "police state"
At my local polling place (and I was there last for the Democratic primary), my father's name, my brother's name, my brother-in-law's name are all listed. Yet my father passed away a number of years ago, and my brother and brother-in-law have moved to new localities where they are now registered to vote. So, in my polling place, I (or someone else) could come back to vote 3 times. And these are not aberrations - they are the norm. I still see people on the rolls that no longer live there, adding a number of other names.

So there is certainly an opportunity for people who want to cheat the system to vote early and often. More so in larger polling venues than mine.

In New Jersey, it costs $24 to get a non-driver id license. Yes, not free. But similar ID is needed for a number of programs that service the indigent and elderly, including food stamps, welfare, and medicare. In most places, you cannot cash a check without photo id. Photo ID is sometimes required when using a credit card. In many pharmacies, prescription drugs will not be given without a photo id. You cannot send a child to school without substantial proof of identification and long and private forms regarding medical data (including immunizations, etc.). I cannot even walk into a parent-teacher conference at my child's public school without a photo id. I can't go to the public pool without a photo id. I can't get a library card without a photo id. In many places, you cannot take standardized tests (SATs, etc.) without a photo id. We are required, every year, to present to the government our most sensitive financial information (and we request of our public officials that they disclose theirs to the public on a regular basis).

I am very sensitive to privacy concerns, but also sensitive to fraud. How many people did it take in Florida in 2000 to drive the Bush tally above the Gore tally? Could there have been fraud? Of course. There were reports of extensive voter fraud in the 1960 election in Chicago and Dallas. In close elections, every vote counts and there's not a lot to prevent fraud.

We are verified in nearly every other transaction in our lives (indeed, you personally have opted to log IP addresses for any poster which some could consider an invasion of privacy or the hallmark of a "police state"); why is only voting (and gun purchases!) exempt?

Honestly, I think this can be done in a careful, bipartisan way that does not inhibit voting (as long as it is done with enough time before the applicable election so people will be given sufficient time to plan). And if cost or location is the issue, allow the post office to provide IDs at minimal cost.

I mean, even Egg Targaryen carries around a signet ring for ID!!!

Edie Sellers
Aug. 14th, 2012 08:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Aug. 14th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
voter suppression shows desperation
Thank you for expressing your anger...this is justified! The world is changing and the 'little people' are finding their power in the internet. Voter suppression demonstrates how desperate the gop really is...
Jordan Gould
Aug. 14th, 2012 09:14 pm (UTC)
George I feel sorry for you because arguing with ignorance is like trying to get a cat to talk. I am an educated person I know more on this issue than most people here I also happen to live in Florida. I could go on about how Rick Scott is currently violating the voting rights act or the numerous ways this violates countless laws, but who am I? just a person on the internet.

People here they attack GRRM for stating the facts as he sees them, asking for proof while showing anecdotes or what have you. So to them I say this: this topic was discussed at length on the Diane Rehm show on monday June 11 2012. This is an npr show 1 hour in length where the topic was voter suppression in the 2012 election. The three guest who talked for the full hour were Wendy Weiser director, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice,
Hans Von Spakovsky senior legal fellow, Heritage Foundation and manager of Civil Justice Reform Initiative and
Doug Chapin director, Electionline.org at the University of Minnesota. These experts have more education and knowledge on this issue than anyone posting on this board they also span from both sides of the isle. Their conclusion was that voter fraud is not an issue in the 2012 election and these efforts are a violation of the voting rights act and constitute voter suppression. Don't take my word for it, this is an npr show, everyone has access to it thanks to efforts on the left and not the right. Please educate yourselves with real sources spanning the isles before speaking out against GRRM. Because his views are very much in line with the leading experts regarding this issue. And to those trolls who will scoff at this as liberal propaganda because it aired on npr.. really? the Heritage foundation is liberal now, where is the logic in that?
Aug. 14th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
Say what?
And for us non Americans, perhaps you could link to something explaining what is going on.

Because on the face of it, it does seem to make sense that only your citizens get to vote, and only once.

But I'm assuming this is more than that.
Aug. 14th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Say what?
Part I (This is a Game of Thrones board, after all!):

Historically, the US, like many other countries, had voting laws that only allowed property-owning literate white males to vote. After the Civil War ended in 1865, African-American males were allowed to vote (by an amendment to the Constitution) in all states (previously, only free African-Americans were allowed to vote in Northern states). (Women were only allowed to vote (with a number of exceptions on a state-by-state basis, by passage of a Constitutional amendment in 1920 - still better than France in 1944 or Switzerland in 1971). For a number of years after the Civil War (while the North was still "supervising" reconstruction), there were actually a number of African-American senators and congressman. But, soon enough, the legislatures of the former slave-owning states put into place restrictions on voting (known as "Jim Crow" laws) that effectively made it very difficult for African-Americans to vote. There were literacy tests, poll taxes (economic test), etc. that were very difficult for recently freed slaves to meet and for poor classes to meet. And the administrators of these tests were exceedingly racist and would fail even those with Ph.D's etc. These types of restrictions continued through the years, until the civil rights struggles of the 50's and 60's (and the Voting Rights Act signed into law by Lyndon Johnson) bore fruit and did away with "Jim Crow" in theory. Even after "Jim Crow" tactics were outlawed, there were still a lot of stumbling blocks (through deceit and intimidation) that were put in the path of minority race US citizens in many states.

So, there is a healthy suspicion in the US of ANY type of restriction put on voting that could make it more difficult for particular classes of citizens to vote. And it has now been typical over the last 40 years for people to be able to vote just by signing their name (or putting an "X" if they are not literate) in the book of registered voters before being allowed to cast their vote.

George raises issues here of whether proof of identity should be required for voting and how it is alleged (or, in George's position, it is absolutely the truth) that those who are requiring proof of identity are doing so intentionally (and, some argue, with racist bias) to make it more difficult for people who typically vote Democratic (e.g., the poor, African-Americans, Hispanics, the elderly)to cast their vote. George's argument seems to be that it costs money and is difficult to get photo ID, so the legitimate concern of fraud is offset by the legitimate concern that one political party is trying to limit the voters of the other main political party.

Edited at 2012-08-14 10:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Say what? - harryfenton - Aug. 14th, 2012 10:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 14th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
The same requirements to vote as to buy a six pack of beer amounts to bigotry, racism and an attempt to keep minorities from voting?

I had no idea that minorities had an onerous time buying adult beverages, cashing a check, opening a bank account, or renting an apartment.

Or maybe I just have a higher opinion of minorities than liberals do.

Also, polls show that African Americans overwhelming support voter ID. Voter ID has already been used in states and it didn't suppress turn out (except among frauds).
Aug. 14th, 2012 10:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Seriously?
Please provide links for those polls that were not conducted by Faux Gnus.
Aug. 14th, 2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
They get so mad when they are presented with facts. Truth had a liberal bias.

Get'em George.
Aug. 14th, 2012 10:00 pm (UTC)
The poll tax these so called "Republicans" wish to impose on your Gran to obtain a birth certificate is deplorable.

I find their will to skew the election in their favor a repulsive stab in the back to our democracy. </p>

Let them meet Khaleesi's dragons. Dracaryus!

Paul Molnar
Aug. 14th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
Thank You
You have rather elegantly expressed how many of us feel but couldn't say nearly as well. Thank you.
Jim Treacher
Aug. 14th, 2012 10:17 pm (UTC)
Let's make voting the one thing you don't need a valid ID to do.
Lynn Bentley
Aug. 14th, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC)
So according to 'you' any person who is in this country should be allowed to vote in our elections? You have to be kidding me! Only documented citizens can vote for the public offices of this country. If it were not so every other country that was against the US would instruct their citizens to vote for people that would be for the benefit of their country. Illegal aliens in this country have no say in our elected officials nor our laws. Period.
Aug. 14th, 2012 10:44 pm (UTC)
overwhelmed, not overcome
for Dog's sake!

Will someone please just finally commit a Godwin's Law violation, allowing GRRM to gracefully terminate this thread forthwith?

You cannot argue some people out of what they are hard-wired to believe. There's a serf born every minute!
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:12 pm (UTC)
Re: overwhelmed, not overcome
But but but but....Argh!!! Nazis!!!!
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:02 pm (UTC)
I am just curious, all of you people who find the term Teabagger offensive, have you gone to Michelle Bachman, Allen West, Rush Limpd*ck, Glenn Beck, Fox News, Sean Hannity, or any other ignorant mouth paice's website when they called Liberals, traitors, communists, socialist, terrorists, etc and told them how offensive they are?

When Michele Bachman started her Muslim Witch Hunt did you write to her?

No? Why?
James Jr.
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
Re: hypocrisy.
Do you actually know what teabagging refers to? If you don't, google it and then get a mental(or visual)image of that and tell me you don't find that extremely offensive. I love how you refer to Rush Limbaugh and lose all your credibility on being civil.

Edited at 2012-08-14 11:19 pm (UTC)
James Jr.
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:11 pm (UTC)
Let's turn the tables...
Tell me would you support this voter ID law if the majority of these people without ID's(which in itself is ridiculous, why do people not have a picture ID anyway?)were voting Republican? I think so. Fortunately, a VAST majority of ALL Americans do not think it unreasonable to show an ID card when voting.

Edited at 2012-08-14 11:18 pm (UTC)
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Let's turn the tables...

I have no problem with showing an ID. After the government provides free of charge one standard voting id card to every registered voter. But that is not what this is about.

You and your friends want to make up wild false stories of voter fraud so you can stop people from voting. People that don't vote the way you do.
If it is so important, do it right. But the way it is being done right now, real American are losing their vote. Why are you ok with that?

My grandmother had no birth certificate and no driver license. She had 2 husbands that fought for this country and 6 sons that served. Thankfully she has a family that can help her but there are many elderly people who do not have that help. You sneer and say it is ridiculous that these people don't have ID. How very patriotic of you. God Bless America.
(no subject) - zoewiseman - Aug. 14th, 2012 11:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Let's turn the tables... - Jordan Gould - Aug. 14th, 2012 11:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Christopher Keelty
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
"People Without ID"
Folks, I want to clear up one major misconception here - and mind you, I can't speak for every state, but I'm well informed about Pennsylvania. When a scientific survey was done of eligible voters in PA ("eligible" meaning citizens who are 18+, but not necessarily registered) it turned out that more than 99% of those people possess some valid form of photo ID that they use for day-to-day requirements. However, because the state's voter ID law (like those in many states) is so restrictive, only 84% of those same individuals have photo ID that is VALID FOR VOTING PURPOSES. For example: hospital ID cards, veteran ID cards, and 80% of college ID cards, including those issued by state-run universities, DO NOT COUNT. The crisis, you see, is not that "lazy people can't be bothered to go get ID," as many proponents would have you believe. The crisis is that Pennsylvania legislators passed a law that invalidates many otherwise valid forms of ID.

Why did they do this? I can't tell you for sure, but it certainly appears they intended to disenfranchise and suppress a portion of the electorate in order to sway the election a certain way. The best proof of this, IMHO, is to look at Rhode Island's voter ID law, which has been on the books for some time. RI's law is clearly written with the intent of verifying identity while minimizing the number of people it disenfranchises - to that end, the ID requirement is phased in over several years, accepts a wide variety of forms of ID, provides a reasonable period of time for verification of provisional ballots, and permits eligible voters to register at the polls. This law was an existing model in PA, TX, WI, and the other states that passed voter suppression laws. In PA, when the existing law was being debated, many amendments were proposed to make it less burdensome. The people pushing these laws through weren't interested. They also happen to be the same people who have been extending early voting in predominantly GOP areas while reducing it in predominantly Democratic areas; reducing the hours at DMV locations in heavily Democratic areas (so as to make it more difficult to obtain photo ID) and purging voting rosters of "presumed dead" voters, but only in Democratic areas.

It's not that the concept of verifying identity at the polls is a bad one. It's that these laws aren't really intended to verify identity - they are intended to suppress the vote and swing the election. They're quite effective at doing just that, and that's why they need to be repealed. These laws are patently undemocratic, and defending them, at least once you are informed about their background and their obvious effects, is outright anti-American.
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