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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.



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.
Jay W. Walker
Aug. 13th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
Can't Vote in 2 States
Each state, district and precinct has a printed list of every registered voter. When the voter arrives at their polling place, they tell the voting volunteer their name and then they are asked to sign in the book so that they can compare with signature on file. You can't vote in another state because you are not registered in another state and you won't appear in the voter registry book in the other state. So your PhD candidate friend is misinformed because he/she, being European, has never voted in the States and doesn't know the process and is believing the claptrap that the republicans are handing out. Claptrap in this instance means lies.
Aug. 13th, 2012 10:28 pm (UTC)
So you're sitting there using your computer and its connection to most of the other computers in the world to say that you don't believe that the various computerized information about you isn't cross-indexed and correlated?
The government doesn't have to care what laws restrict its direct information gathering, it can buy whatever it wants wholesale from "private industry".

The Right's view of government and the Left's view of big business are both correct.
— Robert Anton "Bob" Wilson
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. 13th, 2012 12:43 pm (UTC)
Re: As a Jordanian, this is really strange to me
Well, that is a form of state abuse, from my point of view. I know the excuses: security, terrorism, blah, blah. Stopping you randomly to check your papers is preceived as intrussive and despectful on most western countries, and is one of the thing that may prevent Americans to allow a national ID. I hope they won't stop you randomly in the future; i know Jordan is a peaceful and modern country, but you should not allow this kind of abuse.
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.


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

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