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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.



Felix Sandgren
Aug. 14th, 2012 12:44 am (UTC)
I don't get it... Don't you people have passports like the rest of the world? Issued by the local police office? That's what swedes do anyway.
Aug. 14th, 2012 12:56 am (UTC)
A lot of Americans never travel beyond our borders. Not sure what percentage have passports, but they are far from universal.
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
As of January 2012, 38% of Americans have passports. However, this number varies hugely by state - in New Jersey, about 70% of the population has a passport, while less than 20% of people in Mississippi do, for instance.
Mitzi J. Bartlett
Aug. 14th, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
Passports are not issued to us, we have to request them, and pay a fee - a check Google check shows $135-160. For some of us, that's out of our range.
Aug. 14th, 2012 06:03 pm (UTC)
We do have passports but they cost 110 dollars a book, be it getting a new one or getting it renewed. You can opt for a card which is 30 dollars a pop but regardless, both pieces of identification takes up to 4-8 weeks to process, if not longer in some cases or in busy months (the current process is 4-6 weeks). Expediting the service costs another 60 dollars on top of that but that's still 2-3 weeks that you're sitting around twiddling your thumbs. If you need one even faster, the process is even more arduous.

Also, in order to get a passport, you can process it in person or by mail but you can only do it by mail if you are renewing a passport that is no more than 15 years old and you /cannot/ expedite. Otherwise, you have to go to a Passport Acceptance Facility, which is generally a post office though in some places it can be various municipal buildings. Most of which are only open 9-5 Monday through Friday for the most part.

So yeah, getting a passport is a huge pain in the butt in the US.


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

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