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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 12:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Proving your a citizen
Hello George, i'm a new poster here.
I'm a liberal, and of course i agree with you about the need to remove every possible hindrance to voting, but i must admit that this mistrust towards the ID card puzzles me... Maybe i could give my 2 cents by pointing out how the card works in Italy.
In my country, still a free country, the Identity Card is something meant to help the citizen and not to control him. Almost everybody has one, because it's free and easy to get. Every town has an office that can provide you with your ID card in a few minutes and for free, no matter where you live (it happens that you are at the airport and realize that you forgot your ID. Well, in Rome you can immediately get a duplicate one without leaving the airport). The ID card is useful for many things, both when dealing with the state or with private entities, and helps preventing identity thefts.
On this card there's your picture, your full name, date and place of birth, and your address. No sensitive data whatsoever. You are NOT required to have it with you at any time, and it's entirely up to you wether to carry it or not in your daily life, because no law enforcer is entitled to ask for your ID card. If you are a suspect, though, you may want to have it in your wallet, because if you don't you may be taken to the police station until they check your identity.

So, from my point of view the italian ID card is just something good. It's a tool for the citizen, and it's useless for anyone who would want to spy on you. In this regard, the credit card is much much more disturbing.


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

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