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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 05:02 pm (UTC)
I guess this is where I should agree with my favorite author. Too bad I don't fall in line. I'm a libertarian through and through. My issue is anyone with an eighth grade education buying into the propaganda from either side.
As a Marine Corps vet of Iraq and Afgan, I will defend any citizens right to vote. However ,I'm sorry but I can't see anything wrong with asking to see a DL or SSC before voting.
The argument that people cannot afford it, is absurd. I'm for giving out free Id's or SC cards if by some chance someone cannot afford it. I was raised extremely poor and still found a way. If a person slams both sides, I'm with them but if a person fully backs one side, I began to question their intellect. Not being able to afford an ID is the weakest argument I've heard since Bush's argument for war with Iraq. If we cannot wake up from the brainwash perpetrated by News media than we deserve a huge, corrupt government. We have drones watching every move we make. We have a government monitoring our every word or action online. We have an illegal federal reserve inflating our money.
I say let whoever marry that wants to.
Let people do whatever drug fancies them as long as it does not harm anyone else.
Let people say anything they want.
Keep government hands off of the Internet.
Get rid of the FR and IRS. Eliminate all tax with the exception of a sales tax.
Incorporate technology into voting and let the people vote on everything that effects them.
Throw out lobbyist and force all representatives to live amongst their constituents. They can vote from home through a secure Internet connection.
Instead of one president, go with two, the way the early Roman republic did.
Oh, and figure out a way to verify the legal status of voters.
Aug. 12th, 2012 05:12 pm (UTC)
Two consuls, like the Roman Republic? That might be fun.

And maybe ten tribunes too, every one of them with an absolute right to veto any law they did not like.

The libertarian's dream. Nothing would ever get done.

Of course, you seem a well-read guy, you DO know that the Roman Republic ultimately collapsed and gave way to the Principate and the Empire? And not because of the orgies, as the Christian Right whackos would have you believe. It was because the ossified Republican system with those two consuls and ten tribunes made it next to impossible for the government actually to address any of the social problems that were arising...

So instead of taxes and land reform, the horrors the conservative elements of the Republic wanted to prevent, we got bread, circuses, civil war, and five hundred years of imperial rule.
Aug. 12th, 2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
Yes, Consuls. I went went presidents for anyone without said knowledge.
The republic collapsed and fell into imperialism because of the same kind of situation we currently find ourselves in.
A greedy and power hungry senate beholden to the lobbyist of their time, accompanied by a former Consul then commander wanting absolute power and afraid of trial. (The latter does not apply currently.)
After buying votes and ridding himself of opposition, Caesar found himself Dictator for life.
The Roman people, forgetting Tarquin, gave little to no opposition to the man who appeared so benevolent.
They should have remembered the laws of Publius Valerius, when he gave authority to any (male) citizen to kill anyone who attempted to reestablish a monarchy.
A mistake they made after every time an emperor met an untimely death and a new one stepped in.
Anyway, Libertarianism will slow down the government. Yes, social reform might take a hit but only if the people have no voice and the Constitution continues to be dismantled by the courts.
The people can amend it to reflect the modern era but not government or courts.
The two presidents will be more of a paper tiger than an actual power. The people through modern technologies will be in control. The way it was intended.
A slow government is preferred especially when war starts to show its ugly head.
The government is unimaginably corrupt on both sides of the isle.
The people instead of realizing the power grab, are feeding into every sensationalized story/propaganda that is forced down their throats by News media, radio personalities, comedians, politicians and celebrities.
Looking at the bigger picture, just about everything from racism to class warfare is propped up by the above stated.
Whether or not voter fraud is an actual problem, it absolutely deserves to be debated based on facts and not political spin. I just cannot find where asking for some sort of ID to vote is suppression. I don't believe Obama is attempting to suppress the military no more than I believe conservatives are attempting to suppress poor, minority or old. Both arguments are being spun to get a reaction from their base. If the answer is to give out free birth certificates or Social security cards, than so be it. They can be kept on file and handed out in the case the person loses it.
Aug. 14th, 2012 03:56 am (UTC)
You sir, are awesome
First: Thank you for your service. I wish I could have been in the Senate to vote no to the war in Iraq.
Second: Your counter to the bobble-heads of this journal is a breath of fresh air.
Third: Two Presidents? I remember a history conference (I teach) where this was debated and it was fun! The issue is that America is reluctant for such a change - left and right together. I say - what the heck - let's try it!
Keep up the posts - you need to be heard over celebrities!
Aug. 13th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
lets invade canada
Lets be truly roman. We need money to pay for our social issues. So lets invade Canada, subjugate the population, and take their oil. South Park had it right, Blame Canada!

They are right next to us, so its a lot cheaper than bombing yet another middle eastern country over oil. There are not that many of them and in general Canadians are kind of whimpy. We have to watch for insurrection. French Quebec will surrender as soon as we sneeze. Then they will whine and complain about everything and in general be as annoying as humanly possible.

It is the traditional Roman way to solve economic issues. We can call the war 'Rematch from 1812'.

Aug. 13th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
Canada......Hmmmm. I didn't think of that. We do owe them a war. I say for now on we settle our disputes in the ring. Leader vs leader in a caged MMA fight. The ratings would be epic.
More seriously, America learned nothing from the Roman republic. Seems to me the lesson there is to make lobbying a Capitol crime.
Aug. 13th, 2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
It's not just the cost - it's the red tape
Elders who were born at home, people who moved multiple times as a kid may not be able to get a birth certificate. Some places, you need to show up in person WITH ID to get your birth certificate. More than a bit costly if you were born in Ohio and now live in Seattle.

Many city dwellers never have a DL, or surrender it when they are unable to drive anymore. Members of my own family have never had a DL. They were known at their bank, their grocery store, so why did they need to go through the hassles of applying for a new state ID? You ever taken a 80 year old wheelchair bound woman to the DMV for a day?

My own maternal grandmother and her sisters were born in a small town on the banks of the Ohio river. All delivered by midwives at home. About once a generation, the river floods the town hall, and the public documents are destroyed. If she was alive now, she wouldn't be able to vote.

My father had possession of my original birth certificate. When he died, his second wife threw it and other family documents into the trash can. A few years ago I had to struggle for months to get a new birth certificate to submit to get a passport. Why? Because my Dad died in 1975, and I hadn't sent him a birthday card in a while, and I couldn't remember his birth date. There's no one left in my family who remembers his birth date either. A friend who is a research librarian was visiting my Dad's hometown and went through the city records for two days to find the recording of his birth so that I could use that information to get my own birth certificate. I paid her expenses, and then had to pay $45 to get that new copy ofmy birth cerficate. How many people on a students' stipend or Social Security have that luxury?

These cases alone are just a few examples on why obtaining your proper ID under varied state laws and regulations can be difficult and expensive. Read some of the other posters comments on their experiences and knowledge of what the local laws are now to register to vote. There's a pretty obvious pattern there if you have the eyes to see. Hell, WW2 heroes are being denied the right to vote in a city and state they've lived in for decades. My dad didn't go to the European theater to win the war just to come home to find he couldn't vote because of some rule that requires ID that is impossible to get for millions of citizens.

Aug. 14th, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC)
The government has every citizens birth certificate, SSC, adoption records and or immigration papers on file in a data base.
Easy solution to your problem is to have the government establish a verify system based on the info they already posses. What of the cost? You may ask. The government spends absurd amounts of money on pet projects. We can reallocate that money to pay for the new system and maybe even pay for a universal healthcare system. This way, no taxes are increased. It will not be an easy accomplishment because they have effectively divided the people which In effect, striped the population of power.
By taking a common sense approach, no one is disenfranchised and the current system is a little less broken.


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

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