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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. 12th, 2012 04:24 am (UTC)
That's pretty much the way it has always worked in the US as well.

Until now.
amit pivonia
Aug. 13th, 2012 05:03 am (UTC)
in israel
you have to bring your ID card which is issued to everyone aged 16 i think. and they check the register with your card and and not with what you say.

But i can see the problem when you live in a country where not every one have ID cards

Beth Klein
Aug. 14th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC)
The way it has worked?
Mr. Martin,

Voter supression has always been part of the conflict of this nation. Through civil war and civil rights and now. The year you were born, and now again right in front and center. It is our time to respond. And that is why every election and our participation is vital.

Beth Klein, Human Rights Attorney
Aug. 14th, 2012 08:16 am (UTC)
Hi George;
In Canada,unlike your situation in the US we have a national voter registration that links with our income tax filing which works very well, especially as we also have to affirm our nationality on this form. At the time of an election, we have 3 options for voting:
1. Photo ID along with our voting poll card or
2. Two pieces of original ID, which can be an original Credit Card Statement, Original Power/Gas Bill along with any other piece of ID available that clearly shows who we are or
3. We can swear an oath at the polling station and be affirmed by a neighbour or friend who lives in close poximity and is within the electoral district, who has the above requirements, quite often ballots tendered in this fashion are held and can be challenged if required in a close contest.
Unfortunately, voter suppression can come in many forms. While I am reluctant to use the "R" word, it does seem to apply.
Your Neo-Con/Tea Bag Republicans do not seem to understand that the world watches your Jeffersonian democracy very closely and notes its' successes and failures. America has always been the beacon for democracy and even though I live in a Westminster style democracy, I appreciate the opennes and candor of your system. By the way, like many Canadians we are hoping to see the re-election of President Obama with a solid Democratic hold on Congress sufficient enough that your president can get on with the job of rebuilding your country.


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

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