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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.



Aug. 12th, 2012 05:31 am (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
Is there something wrong with asking people that they prove in some way that they are actually citizens of this country before they are allowed to cast a vote to determine who will represent the citizens of this country?

Until and unless the United States makes national or state ID available for free to every citizen, yes, there is. Did you know that over a quarter of the county Department of Motor Vehicle offices in Wisconsin are open less than 1 day a month? There are a few counties that only are open 1 or two days every year. It is extremely difficult and expensive for some people to get recognized IDs, when the choice is possibly having to skip work, get rides for an hour or more from someone, or navigate public transport for long distances. Many people change addresses frequently, making it difficult for them to provide utility bills or other proof of residence that are required to get IDs. Something like 1/8 of all Americans do not have access to their birth certificates for various reasons - many states or municipalities require such certificates to be copied or obtained *only* in person - what if you live across the country from where you were born?

Proving citizenship, particularly for many populations who face hardship in the US, is not a simple process. If states truly want to move forward with this plan for ID, to make sure that we all have state or national "papers", then they have to take the time and money to make absolutely certain that every citizen has them. It will take probably a decade or more, and will lead to a very different country than the one we have now.

But it's clear that nobody in power wants voting to be as fair as it could be. Nothing about our system is ideal to promote equal access to the voting booth.
Aug. 14th, 2012 02:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
That's just crap. The issue the left has with voter ID laws is that it prevents Mickey Mouse or your dead uncle Bob from voting for Dems. 75% of the country support voter ID laws. Google it. There has been plenty of prime examples of voter fraud to demonstrate the need for these kind of protections.

And lets be clear, it was Dems who pushed Jim Crow laws. It was Dems who started the KKK and it was Dems who constantly voted against civil rights legislation. These are all facts, look them up and educate yourself.
Aug. 14th, 2012 05:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
It was Lyndon Baines Johnson who PASSED the most significant civil rights legislation (with the help of Everett Dirksen and many Republicans of conscience). Including the Voting Rights Act.

Yes, much of what you say about Jim Crow and the KKK is true. Half a century ago. Thanks for the history lesson.

Here's the next chapter. The south used to be solidly Democratic. The white racists voted for the racist Dems, the blacks voted Republican. Then LBJ passed those civil rights laws, Nixon came up with his "southern strategy," and the parties switched roles. Now the south is solidly red, with the blacks voting blue, just the reverse of what it was in the 1920s, at the height of the KKK.

As you said -- these are all facts, look them up and educate yourself.
Aug. 14th, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
Thanks for setting Kyle Manning straight, and anyone else who does not realize the plight of many of our elderly who rely on public transportation to get around.
Topher McCarter
Aug. 14th, 2012 10:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
Did you know you can not enter a Federal Courthouse and most other Fed buildings without Picture Id. Also all the Voter id laws have provisons for free Id's. And I have a question how can some Polling areas have more votes cast the residents currently living?
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
I do know that you cannot enter many courthouses without ID.

I think it's very sad. Should not be so.

We have become a fearful society, surrendering our freedoms on every hand to feel a little safer.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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