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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. 14th, 2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Say what?
Part II (Read Part I first):

Personally, although I am a Democrat, I disagree with labeling an ID requirement for voting as part of some vast right-wing conspiracy to disenfranchise Democratic voters. I don't agree that it is too hard to obtain a photo identification card, that the expense is too high, or that the risk of fraud is not a very real thing to be concerned about. I see ID being required in just about every transaction and interaction with the government (including for obtaining various benefits, such as welfare, food stamps, Medicare, and other items from the government), so I don't view it as a high obstacle at all to voting (a higher obstacle is single day voting on a Tuesday with long lines). Just as I don't think it any obstacle at all to obtain a license to purchase a gun, which those on the right seem to think will trample their rights. Moreover, there have been many claims of "voting early and often" in close elections over the years. Some claim that the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon election was tainted by extreme fraud in Lyndon Johnson's (then-Democratic Texas) and the Democratic-machine town of Chicago. Chicago, in fact, always seems to have stories of non-citizens and dead people voting multiple times. (And, even though Johnson carried through the Civil Rights laws, he, personally, was a terrible racist - constantly using derogatory language for African-Americans - but seeing the political value in them voting for the Democratic party).

So, on the face of it, it seems reasonable to have the same checks for voting as we do for getting on a plane or buying medicine at a drug store, but it is the historical abuse of the more downtrodden in our society that makes many view any restriction at all as a hidden agenda for oppression and a Republican-party ploy to win. I don't view the other side with as much suspicion - I think a lot has changed in 40+ years. As much as many people despise President Bush, some of his highest ranking officials were African-American and Hispanic (e.g., Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Alberto Gonzales). There are plenty of things that divide Democrats and Republicans, but I think that overt programmatic racism by government officials in establishing voter identification is not one of them - it seems to me to be a phantom argument driven by one party despising the other to such an extent that dishonest motives are always suspected.


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

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