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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 07:17 pm (UTC)
It's not just the cost - it's the red tape
Elders who were born at home, people who moved multiple times as a kid may not be able to get a birth certificate. Some places, you need to show up in person WITH ID to get your birth certificate. More than a bit costly if you were born in Ohio and now live in Seattle.

Many city dwellers never have a DL, or surrender it when they are unable to drive anymore. Members of my own family have never had a DL. They were known at their bank, their grocery store, so why did they need to go through the hassles of applying for a new state ID? You ever taken a 80 year old wheelchair bound woman to the DMV for a day?

My own maternal grandmother and her sisters were born in a small town on the banks of the Ohio river. All delivered by midwives at home. About once a generation, the river floods the town hall, and the public documents are destroyed. If she was alive now, she wouldn't be able to vote.

My father had possession of my original birth certificate. When he died, his second wife threw it and other family documents into the trash can. A few years ago I had to struggle for months to get a new birth certificate to submit to get a passport. Why? Because my Dad died in 1975, and I hadn't sent him a birthday card in a while, and I couldn't remember his birth date. There's no one left in my family who remembers his birth date either. A friend who is a research librarian was visiting my Dad's hometown and went through the city records for two days to find the recording of his birth so that I could use that information to get my own birth certificate. I paid her expenses, and then had to pay $45 to get that new copy ofmy birth cerficate. How many people on a students' stipend or Social Security have that luxury?

These cases alone are just a few examples on why obtaining your proper ID under varied state laws and regulations can be difficult and expensive. Read some of the other posters comments on their experiences and knowledge of what the local laws are now to register to vote. There's a pretty obvious pattern there if you have the eyes to see. Hell, WW2 heroes are being denied the right to vote in a city and state they've lived in for decades. My dad didn't go to the European theater to win the war just to come home to find he couldn't vote because of some rule that requires ID that is impossible to get for millions of citizens.

Aug. 14th, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC)
The government has every citizens birth certificate, SSC, adoption records and or immigration papers on file in a data base.
Easy solution to your problem is to have the government establish a verify system based on the info they already posses. What of the cost? You may ask. The government spends absurd amounts of money on pet projects. We can reallocate that money to pay for the new system and maybe even pay for a universal healthcare system. This way, no taxes are increased. It will not be an easy accomplishment because they have effectively divided the people which In effect, striped the population of power.
By taking a common sense approach, no one is disenfranchised and the current system is a little less broken.


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

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