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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.



Christopher Arthur
Aug. 14th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
Same issues I always see
I always like to see someone who isn't afraid to state their viewpoint and call out those they see as being wrong. However, It never ceases to amaze me how a perfectly intelligent person can fall victim to the same madness as everyone else. On the first page of comments you reply to a poster with this:

"You really to turn off Fox News and listen to some fact-based reporting.

Your post is full of so many misstatements, distortions, and outright lies that I hardly know where to begin refuting it.

Let me just state, for starts, that the "blocking the military from voting" is completely false, as one of the other posters documents below. Whoever told you that was case was a spin doctor, to be generous... but it's not true."

Without putting too fine a point on it, that middle paragraph is an excuse not an argument. Its a bullying attempt plain and simple. You are basically telling this poster that it isn't worth your time to argue any real points. Your just going to browbeat them with equally tilting opposite spin. You might as well have said simply, if you don't agree with me then quit posting on my rants.

The one that really gets me though is the part about spin doctoring. In your own post you use derivations of the phrase "Show Us Your Papers" which is obviously an attempt to evoke the U.S.S.R. or even Nazi Germany. That is a textbook example of spin doctoring if ever I've seen it.

One last little point I want to make is that I must identify myself with a non-anonymous signin and an IP address to make this post. Liberal high horse hypocrisy, "show me your papers" indeed Mr. Martin.

P.S. - My indignity aside, I am perfectly able to separate my like of you in general from my dislike of this post and possibly your general political viewpoint. Any disparaging remarks taken personally I apologize for, but I feel that this kind of thing must be called out and halted since it accomplishes nothing but bad feelings on both sides.
Christopher Arthur
Aug. 14th, 2012 06:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Same issues I always see
After some more thought it occurs to me and has been pointed out by a friend whose opinion I value, that I'm being petty. This issue really is a pretty cut and dry one. I never disagreed with the fact that your opinion might be correct just that maybe some of the opposite argument could be correct as well. I jumped on the chance to show where arguments tend to break down without taking the matter into full account. I apologize. This is a matter of rights and making sure those rights are enjoyed by all something I feel we have to protect with all our effort. I'd like to retract a good bit of what I printed above. I believe in using plain speech and allowing a point to make itself. I don't like spin doctoring or divisive phraseology and I allowed that to cloud my mind. The key point here is that a solution to a non-existent problem has been introduced in what could possibly be an attempt to gain traction for a political party at the cost of voter rights and that cannot stand. I'm very sorry, and a bit ashamed that I would allow myself to go too far down this path.
Sam Trenholme
Aug. 14th, 2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Same issues I always see
I can't speak for George, of course, but I think I understand his frustration. Orwell lamented, in his essay "Looking back on the Spanish War", that "The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world".

Let's look at just one point. A poster above me claims that "the Obama administrations lawsuit in Ohio is meant to prevent active duty servicemen from being allowed to vote early". This is a flat-out falsehood. The minitru of Orwell's 1984 could not come up with a statement any more false.

I could come up with a dozen links from Fox News' own web site, to Politifact, or to any number of countless web sites refuting this lie. Quite bluntly, I think the more conservative posters here will say "well, that's coming from a liberal source and I don't believe them".

The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. There are two stories being circulated around: One is that Obama is suing Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to allow the polls to be open for everyone the three days before the November 6 presidential election. The other is that Obama is suing Ohio to repress the military vote. The people on the right aren't even being told the same story.

This is the game the extreme-right-wing propaganda machine plays. A recent study (done by Fairleigh Dickinson University) showed that an average US citizen only correctly answered 1.8 (out of 4) questions about international news and was correct only with 1.6 out of 5 questions about domestic news. Fox News followers were worse: They answered correctly only 1.04 domestic news questions. That's worse than people who watch no media at all (1.22)!

There is no point in debating someone who stubbornly believes a lie and refuses to acknowledge any evidence contradicting the delusion they believe in. George's frustration is very understandable.

Edited at 2012-08-14 07:12 pm (UTC)
Christopher Arthur
Aug. 14th, 2012 08:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Same issues I always see
This is the kind of discourse I was hoping for. I'm not looking to be a yes man or the kind of person that simply takes offense because the opposite party stated something. I want to be an informed person whose beliefs also stem from logic and the consideration of the truth. Too often the truth can only be found by listening to both sides of an argument and weighing the reality of what's causing the problem. This is what I failed to do before my first post and what I hope I made understood in my reply to it.

I may not like terms like "extreme-right-wing propaganda machine", but I understand what you're trying to say. In politics these days it seems increasingly that hyperbole is the language of the realm. I imagine there is some truth to the existence of a concentrated group of extreme spin doctors on the right wing, but I'm fairly sure there exists a group of similar types on the far left as well. I would put myself somewhere a bit left of center.


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

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