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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 04:26 am (UTC)
In the US, for hundreds of years, citizens have voted without showing their papers.

Indeed, the US has no "national identity card," and has always resisted one. More and more, the driver's license is used for that purpose... but really, it just supposed to license you to DRIVE.
Mathieu Thielemans
Aug. 12th, 2012 05:18 am (UTC)
I'm sure it has something to do with the American pursuit of absolute freedom, but why not have the national ID? Here in Belgium we have it and it's actually pretty handy. You scan it and it's used to transmit all the information about yourself (well, the basics atleast, nothing I care to hide from anyone) to what you're scanning it for. Say you're registering for University, they scan your card and register you through that one card.
Paranoïd people could say that it's the gouvernement trying to control and check on your every move, but I guess that's why I call them paranoid. This isn't A Game of Thrones, atleast it isn't anymore, not here. (I hope).
And if it is, I'll need someone to get me a golden armor, some red banners and a big, blue-eyed ugly wench.
Aug. 12th, 2012 05:22 am (UTC)
Sorry, but for me the national ID does indeed evoke too many memories of those WWII pictures where the Nazis were always stopping people and demanding their papers.

I don't WANT people to have "all the information" about myself.

I still value concepts like privacy and freedom, which I hope to be of more importance that the convenience of banks, corporations, and yes, the government.

So long as I going lawfully about my business, I don't think anyone has the right to ask me to prove who I am.
Aug. 12th, 2012 06:03 am (UTC)
For what it's worth, Australians vote without showing ID too. You have to tell the voting booth officer your name and address so he/she can confirm you're on the roll and in the correct electorate, but no ID required.

Voting is compulsory too (fines are nominal - $25 I think), which is a pretty nifty idea. >90% voter turnout pretty much every time.
Aug. 12th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)
As an european myself, i've always wonder on that anti-ID thing in the U.S. I can understand pretty well that the idea of freedom over anything else is something that lays very deep as a fundation pillar of the whole country, but lacking an ID makes very hard for the system to works properly, as in the case of polls. Having a free ID (zero cost for the citizen), with only basic data (name, birthdate, adress), not conected to any other private information and validated by a confiable entity (the goverment?) would makes the thing easier and cleaner. Of course, i guess the anti-ID thing is related with the idea of the evilness of the goverment. If you think that the goverment is gonna use you ID for tracking you with evil purposes (wich i don't think it's paranoid by the way), then of course, national ID would be a bad idea. Aynway, many people from outside perceives the USA poll system as not very solid. I think it dates from the 2001 election and the thing with the poll machines and the republican win in Florida, but anyway there are several things to improve... a friend studying a PhD in the USA, assures me that the could vote in two states on a national election because of lacking a national poll registry.
Can't Vote in 2 States - Jay W. Walker - Aug. 13th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - apostle_of_eris - Aug. 13th, 2012 10:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 13th, 2012 01:20 am (UTC)
As a Jordanian, this is really strange to me
I can't even imagine going about my business in Jordan without official papers. It just isn't done. Sometimes police men just randomly stop us and ask us for papers, especially us likely-to-be-troublesome college kids. Crazy that you guys don't even get national ID cards. I'll need to look-up how this works.
Aug. 12th, 2012 08:59 am (UTC)
Not just an american thing, the UK does not have national ID cards and all poling shows the idea of introducing one as hugely unpopular.
Aug. 12th, 2012 12:50 pm (UTC)
Well, generally, I think that the need for the IDs is vastly overrated.
However, when dealing with people who would stop at nothing to gain votes, the requirement for presenting some kind of identification during the election is fully justified.
Aug. 12th, 2012 05:48 am (UTC)
But how you prevent someone coming in to poll station and saying - "Hello, I am X, I want to vote", while actually the person is someone else ?
Aug. 12th, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
Historically, this has been prevented by someone at the table saying, "Hey, you're not X, I know X." Polling places are local, and usually manned by neighbors.

Mind you, this occurs so seldom as to be almost hypothetical.

Might as well ask, "How do you prevent someone getting a fake passport and fake birth certificate so as to get a fake driver's license so they can vote twice."

That could happen too. It just doesn't.

And neither does the scenario you describe.
amit pivonia
Aug. 12th, 2012 06:31 am (UTC)
i do not understand something.
let me say first that i am not a US citizen and my beliefs are very left wing and thus if i was a US citizen i would probably be a democrat

but, since i am an israely citizen and since we are required to have some kind of ID on us at any given time and since we are required to show an ID card when we vote, can you please tell me what is wrong with this demand? i only see it as a way to prevent manipulating the election.
Aug. 12th, 2012 09:33 am (UTC)
How can you prove you have reached a voting age then?
Or it is a serious crime for children to vote in USA? :)
Neil Fox
Aug. 14th, 2012 03:02 am (UTC)
and get on an airplane
we require ID to get on an airplane.
Aug. 14th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, and the SSN isn't a national identity number...
Neil Anderson
Aug. 14th, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
Show Your Papers
Isn't it funny how the tax paying citizens of the United States are required to "show their papers" in order to protect foreign influence in voting (among other sorry excuses), but Congress-men/women can and often do take donations to their campaign coffers from foreign doners under the guise of "free speech"?

We can all thank 'Citizens United v. FEC' and the oligarchic Supreme Court for that!


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

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