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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 10:52 pm (UTC)
So, I was raised pretty much a fiscal conservative, with the idea that government should not waste my money on frivolous things. And whenever someone says to me that we need to institute a bunch of new safeguards against voter fraud, it sets off my pocketbook. Because, you know, these particular safeguards against voter fraud cost MONEY. My money, so I have an opinion about how it is being spent.

You have an increased load on the DMV, you need to employ more people at registration offices to train election volunteers in spotting fake IDs, you need to expand your voting locations to deal with the fact that voting will take longer as people who've been voting for 60 years without ID show up and raise a fuss. You had to spend my money writing that law, and passing that law, updating the books and educating enforcement personnel on the appropriate changes and penalties for using fraudulent ID. You WILL be sued over this, as the 'poll tax' laws are fairly clear, and you'll have to defend against those suits in court.

None of that is cheap.

So, as someone who wants her money spent responsibly, I said, "Show me the fraud that's occurring. Show me the documented cases of election fraud that this legislation would prevent. Show me a changed election outcome, show me a shifted district, show me ANYTHING that says you're not spending my money to change absolutely nothing."

And no one can. I get a lot of hemming and hawing about ACORN with no real proof. I get a lot of vague handwaving, and a lot of thinly-disguised racism and xenophobia. But I do not get substantial evidence of voter fraud. There are a handful of documented cases.

I look at that handful of documented cases, and I think about how many *really good* fake IDs I took off 19-year-olds when I sold beer, and about how my boss told me that for every ID I confiscated, four more got by us but there was no way to tell. The forgeries were just that good. And, well, if we've got a dozen cases of election fraud using the existing system, and thousands of instances of the fraudulent use of Driver's Licenses, then why are you spending my money to switch from a working system to one with a documented history of skilled falsification of documents?


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

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