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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. 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!
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:
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. :)
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.


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

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