Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

"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 Keelty
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
"People Without ID"
Folks, I want to clear up one major misconception here - and mind you, I can't speak for every state, but I'm well informed about Pennsylvania. When a scientific survey was done of eligible voters in PA ("eligible" meaning citizens who are 18+, but not necessarily registered) it turned out that more than 99% of those people possess some valid form of photo ID that they use for day-to-day requirements. However, because the state's voter ID law (like those in many states) is so restrictive, only 84% of those same individuals have photo ID that is VALID FOR VOTING PURPOSES. For example: hospital ID cards, veteran ID cards, and 80% of college ID cards, including those issued by state-run universities, DO NOT COUNT. The crisis, you see, is not that "lazy people can't be bothered to go get ID," as many proponents would have you believe. The crisis is that Pennsylvania legislators passed a law that invalidates many otherwise valid forms of ID.

Why did they do this? I can't tell you for sure, but it certainly appears they intended to disenfranchise and suppress a portion of the electorate in order to sway the election a certain way. The best proof of this, IMHO, is to look at Rhode Island's voter ID law, which has been on the books for some time. RI's law is clearly written with the intent of verifying identity while minimizing the number of people it disenfranchises - to that end, the ID requirement is phased in over several years, accepts a wide variety of forms of ID, provides a reasonable period of time for verification of provisional ballots, and permits eligible voters to register at the polls. This law was an existing model in PA, TX, WI, and the other states that passed voter suppression laws. In PA, when the existing law was being debated, many amendments were proposed to make it less burdensome. The people pushing these laws through weren't interested. They also happen to be the same people who have been extending early voting in predominantly GOP areas while reducing it in predominantly Democratic areas; reducing the hours at DMV locations in heavily Democratic areas (so as to make it more difficult to obtain photo ID) and purging voting rosters of "presumed dead" voters, but only in Democratic areas.

It's not that the concept of verifying identity at the polls is a bad one. It's that these laws aren't really intended to verify identity - they are intended to suppress the vote and swing the election. They're quite effective at doing just that, and that's why they need to be repealed. These laws are patently undemocratic, and defending them, at least once you are informed about their background and their obvious effects, is outright anti-American.


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

Latest Month

April 2018


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner