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"Show Us Your Papers"

angry
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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Comments

grrm
Aug. 13th, 2012 04:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Voter ID nonsense
You may think you are proving a point by listing all these places where one must "show paper," but actually you are simply proving my point.

I hate all that crap too.

I don't know how old you are... but I am old enough to remember when none of this was true. Even in the late 60s and early 70s, when I reached my young adulthood, I could pay my hotel bill at worldcon with a personal check (and did), buy my tickets at the airport with a personal check (ditto), walk onto my flight without being scanned, stapled, and anally probed. In the bank, my teller greeted me by name. I never had to show my driver's license at ANY of these places. Which is a good thing, since I did not have one. I did not learn to drive until my late 20s, when I moved to Iowa.

We have lost so much personal freedom... and often it seems to me that the younger generation does not even realize it. In the world they know, "show your papers" has become routine.
think4yerslf
Aug. 13th, 2012 05:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Voter ID nonsense

Mr. Martin. I'm in my mid 40s, a HUGE fan, and I appreciate the response. Apologies for the sharp reply earlier, but I think it's a fair reaction given the "racist" and "bigot" slurs you were tossing around, impugning the motives of anyone who happens to disagree with you on this topic. I'm old enough to remember when anyone could go into a gas station and buy a pack of cigarettes with no ID (I did it all of the time for my mother). It seems ludicrous to me that photo ID is required for that but NOT for voting.

So you're in favor of removing all these ID requirements, which you would have to be to be consistent in your argument, I mean it truly makes zero sense that one MUST, by law, prove their 18 years or older to buy a pack of Marlboro's, yet does NOT have to prove they're 18 years old (federal requirement) in a voting station to practice what is our most important exercise of democracy. (Just a tad bit more important than keeping kids from smoking you know.) No one likes the fact that security of personal information and personal safety is more critical and scrutinized now than 40 years ago, the world is obviously not the same as the one you grew up in. I travel alot, mostly overseas, for my work, and I know firsthand the hassle, delays, and frustrations that come with tighter security (and if' you've flown thru Tel Aviv you know that in comparison, our security here in the US is a cakewalk). To me the hassle is a small price to pay if the result is safer skies, but sure lots of people disagree with that. Good luck convincing anyone to remove 100% of security at airports and political rallys though, the freedom your imagining aint ever gonna happen - like it or not, that's just the fact of life nowadays.

I just seems to me that - if we truly believe in the importance of our elections - that there is simply no good argument to be made for why our laws should require proof of ID for opening a bank account or buying a pack of cigarettes, but NOT require citizens to prove that they are who they say the are when it comes time to vote. If voting truly is THAT important, then even if it providing proof of ID is a hassle (which it's not), isn't it just a little absurd to complain about having to make some level of effort to engage in such a critically important task? Given the very large number of illegal immigrants that now inhabit our country (a huge HUGE difference since your younger years you cite obviously) - that fact alone should make every US citizen want to insure that only US citizens are voting and affecting our elections and not people who are not US citizens and have no legal right to be in the polling booth to start with. This is unassailable logic. Why so obtuse?
grrm
Aug. 13th, 2012 06:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Voter ID nonsense
They used to say "two wrongs don't make a right."

I don't like being required to "show paper" anywhere. Yes, there are lots of places where it is now required. That does not mean we should roll over and add more places to the list. I would rather see these damn requirements rolled back.

We have given up way too much freedom in the name of "security." When did we become so afraid?

And make no mistake... these voter suppression efforts are not some altriustic effort to prevent voter fraud. That's just the spin. These are attempts by GOP hardliners to disenfranchise Democratic voters. Some Republicans have even said so. Go to YouTube and search for Mike Turzai -- there's your smoking gun. He comes right out and says it.
think4yerslf
Aug. 13th, 2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Voter ID nonsense
How it's "wrong" to require citizens involved in the most important transaction of our democratic process to meet the same standard as anyone that drives our Interstate system is beyond me. One can gripe about how horrid it is to have to apply and obtain some form of identification, but it seems a very small price to pay to insure, as much as possible, the integrity of the election process, especially in light of the fact of the very large illegal immigrant population whom most polls show vote Democratic. There is just as much political incentive for Democrats to have as-loose-as-possible voting laws as there is for Republicans to want to limit it. I will not impugn the motives of those who disagree with me on this, rather I will continue to point out the illogical stance of many of them on this issue when compared to other, common sense ID-proof laws and requirements, as well as note that we have had very very close elections in recent years. The idea that someone (from either side) might try to manipulate the process should be something all of us should be concerned with, to avoid - as much as possible - having a constitutional crisis around a challenged election result.

As a comparison effort from Democrats, I seem to recall most Democrats supporting "Card check" laws for unionization efforts, a coercive law that shredded voting privacy rights for employees. I think it's quite impossible to say Democrats hands are clean when it comes to trying to instantiate laws that would manipulate elections to their favor.

(And by the way, glad to see you pining for a return to the olden' days, wanting to turn back the clock on "progress", Here I thought only stodgy, better-than-you conservatives wanted that. Maybe this case shows how asinine such claims are from both sides.)

I'll let my second favorite living author (sorry - Joe Abercrombie is way up there for me right now) have the last word here. No disrespect and lots of love for your writing, truly. Just happen to disagree with your politics. Thanks for the responses!
parrismcb
Aug. 13th, 2012 07:29 pm (UTC)
Here's the difference:
Voting is a right granted by the Constitution and confrimed again and again by the amendments 14, 15, 19, 24, and even the 26th.

Driving a vehicle is a privilege, and the state and the federal government have jurisdiciton over the requirements of what a person must accomplish to get a DL, and they must operate under the laws and regulations set forth.

to the wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_amendments_to_the_United_States_Constitution
think4yerslf
Aug. 13th, 2012 08:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Here's the difference:
Sorry cant help myself, one last response.

Rights vs privileges here is a distinction without a difference. You're exactly correct to point out the various Constitutional foundations for the right to vote, no disagreement. Let's shed some some more light on this though; first off, the Constitution grants CITIZENS the right to vote, specifically for those "born or naturalized". Non-citizens, of which persons inside the United States illegally would be obviously included, have no such right via the U.S. Constitution. In a day and age when upwards of 1-in-10 people within our shores are here illegally you would think that making sure that none of those 30million+ people are illegally voting and effecting our elections would be of a concern to many voters. (Apparently not if you think that such votes will help you politically.) The right to vote is a priviledge for citizens only (of which far far to many dont seem to care, and certainly do not inform themselves enough on the issues, on that I assume we can find some agreement. :) )

And just as the privilege to drive on our roads can be revoked, so can voting rights. It is currently against the law in almost every state (like 45+ states) for convicted felons in prison to vote. Several states even restrict the voting rights of former prisoners for a period of time, the "right" must be earned back. Rights, priviledges, the point remains, there is nothing wrong with holding citizens accountable for the most minimum of ID requirements to insure the utmost integrity in what is the most important act of responsible citizenship we can engage in, voting. It's simple common sense.
There. I'm done. :)
parrismcb
Aug. 14th, 2012 01:37 am (UTC)
Re: Here's the difference: right vs privilege
Ask any competent Constitutional lawyer to explain that there is, indeed, a legal difference between a 'right' and a 'privilege'
Neville Ross
Aug. 14th, 2012 09:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Voter ID nonsense
It seems, as usual these days, that George is having a failure to communicate with certain people, you being one of them.

To address George's point about travelling; I myself won't be travelling to the USA or anyplace else until all of this security bullshit is stopped (I sure as frack won't be coming to the USA for sci-fi conventions; putting up with all of this bullcrap just so that I can travel to a place for a three-day convention isn't worth the hassle.) For a two week vacation, no problem, but for this... forget it.

As to the matter at hand; what you're saying seems to be the same old nonsense from myopic people who can't see (or are unwilling to see) that their nation's freedoms to travel and vote are being taken away; the same people who support the foolish wars the USA is fighting overseas right now in the name of 'freedom' and crying about 'socialism' taking away their rights with reference to Obama's health care bill and any environmental bill being passed, but can't see the forest for the trees of what's going on right now as far as doing simple things are concerned (George's right; who needs all of this shit just to pay for a hotel room, or anything else?)

I don't want to frame you as being like I've described above, but unfortunately with every utterance you've made here in response to George and everybody else who's spoken the facts on this issue, you are doing just that.
tangycosmos
Aug. 14th, 2012 01:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Voter ID nonsense
But isn't this kind of a "things were better back in the day" sort of attitude? Yeah, flying sucks now, but that's because of extreme Islamist lunatics, not an American political agenda. 200 hundred years ago I could also go beat my neighbor over the head with a shovel, chuck him in the river and walk away with clean hands. Today we have forensic science which pretty much makes it damn near impossible to get away with anything! My bank teller also greets me by name, but only because I live in a relatively small town meaning she doesn't have 10,000 names and faces to remember. There's over 300,000,000 people in the USA now, the same amount that populated the entire world a few hundred years ago. A good percentage of those people are here illegally. I've had my identity stolen, and I'm only 22! I agree with you that things are lame and look to be only getting lamer; But I do think that we have to attempt to give everyone a fair chance. If people who are alive and well are being unregistered to vote for no apparent reason, then that's bad and needs attention. I don't think requiring an ID is anything close to evil because there are just too many people these days and we can't expect the people running the voting booths to be able to identify every single person. I think the bigger, underlying issue here is unsustainable population growth.
grrm
Aug. 14th, 2012 06:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Voter ID nonsense
Population growth is another issue, but we may actually in agreement on that one. However, it is off topic here.

If you think that "things are lame and getting lamer," don't you think it would be good if people spoke out and fought against this increasing "lameness?" As well as injustices, discrimnation, etc.

We all need to fight the good fight. Or lameness triumphs.
tangycosmos
Aug. 14th, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Voter ID nonsense
Absolutely. People speaking out and acting against unmitigated lameness is what created this country! I have a question though: Are you against technological progression as a whole? If you have to present your ID card to vote, it seems like a pretty innocuous action to safeguard the true spirit of the system; one person, one vote. Say we didn't use ID cards and the polling staff just whole- heartedly accepted whatever the voter said as truth. What if one person managed to vote twice, and the end tally came to candidate A beating candidate B by 1 vote. It's such a drastic and possibly world-changing outcome that such a simple measure aims to prevent. Yes it's a little affronting to present yourself as data to be ticked off, but it just doesn't seem reasonable to rely on the goodness of the human heart and the facial/name recognition skills of polling staff anymore. So is technology revealing the inner baddie within all of us?
grrm
Aug. 14th, 2012 08:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Voter ID nonsense
Technology should be used to make our lives better, not worse. In the service of freedom, not to decrease it.

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George R.R. Martin
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