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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. 13th, 2012 01:08 am (UTC)
I don't get what the big deal is
I live in a blue state and have had to show ID when voting for as long as I've been able to vote. So obviously Democrats passed that law here sometime in the past. I really don't see why checking out a library book should require more ID than voting.

I get it that the very poor or some legal immigrants may not have a state issue ID, but I don't think the solution is to use the honor system for voting, and stick our heads in the sand like ostriches and pretend voting fraud does not exist. You yourself, GRRM, have joked on your blog that the Chicago way is to vote early and often, so you must know it exists to joke about it.

As far as I know only states with a history of slavery have to get permission from the feds to change voter ID laws, all the northern and western states can do so as they please, and I'm sure I can't be the only one living in a state that has had photo ID requirements for years.

Why not give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they merely want to stop voting fraud. Maybe you think this is the wrong way to stop voting fraud. Okay, what is your solution then? The honor system doesn't work, we need some system. If a photo ID isn't good enough, why not give some token when you register to vote or something. Mail a single use swipe card and outsource verification to VISA (who processes billions of transactions securely every year). The left will say the right is just trying to disenfranchise people, the right will say the left just wants to commit voter fraud. Lets assume both want honest and legal elections and figure out a system that is both open and secure.
Aug. 14th, 2012 07:03 am (UTC)
Re: I don't get what the big deal is
The honor system doesn't work, we need some system. If a photo ID isn't good enough, why not give some token when you register to vote or something.

I live in California and we do not have to show ID in order to vote and the honor system works fine for us.


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

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