December 14, 2011

"The ballot is stronger than the bullet"

"A man without a vote is a man without protection." Lyndon B. Johnson

Charlie Pierce goes ballistic, and righteously so, over the subject of voter suppression.

I admit it: I am a fanatic about voting. I vote in every damn election every damn time. I buy stuff I shouldn't be eating at the bake sale. Pay attention, I tell people. A while back, when nobody was looking, a bunch of creationist fanatics took over the school board in Dover, Pennsylvania and rammed through an "intelligent design" program in the local high school. Parents sued. The fanatics lost, and it eventually cost the local school board over a million bucks in legal fees. All because not enough people paid attention to a school-board election. Don't take an election off, because you never know what the bastards are trying to pull. I say this all the time to young people and, most of the time, they act as though I've asked them if they've heard the new Wishbone Ash album, or seen the latest Pennebaker doc. But things changed over the past 10 years, and especially in the last five. The 2008 campaign was a revelation to cynical old souls like me. It took a lot to break down a generation of apathy about how government works and our place in it. That new spirit is still very fragile. One hinked-up national election and it's gone again, maybe for good. That is what I'm worried about.

The same thing that can be said about the people in Dover could also be said of the people who stayed home in Wisconsin and woke up with Scott Walker as their governor, and Ron Johnson as their senator, and a legislature full of wingnuts whose respect for actual American values doesn't extend much past what fits in their wallets. And this is why they are making it so hard for people to vote there. Not because they're concerned about the "integrity of the process" (Scott Walker? The integrity of the process? Stop me before I bust a rib here) but because they're afraid the basic integrity of the process — one man, one vote, all together — will reassert itself against the inattention that gave them the power to screw with all John Lewis accomplished.

There's also a very telling comment from Barry Friedman.

Just because there are two sides to every story doesn't mean there are two legitimate (and sane) sides to every story.

This Republican canard about "voter fraud" should be rebutted at every opportunity, because It. Simply. Is. Not. True. Period. But by using this fear-mongering myth, elderly people, and poor people, and brown people, and students, are being denied their right to vote. (Hopefully, Eric Holder will put his money where his mouth is and crack down on this odious practice.)

Still, one must ask why this is so popular among certain Republican governors and legislatures. Well, which party do poor people, and brown people, and students, and even a fair amount of elderly people, vote for?

I'll give you one guess: it sure ain't the Gerrymandering Obstructionist Pinheads. (The only useful word Bill O'Reilly ever made up.)

This should be a national scandal. Hearings should be held, and journalists should be shouting this from the rooftops. The Repugs basically hate President Obama so much they are willing to do anything to defeat him, including rigging the game in their favor. Of course, the Republican propaganda machine, Fake Noise, is a big help in convincing people this falsehood is true.

We can't afford to get distracted with this election, folks. The Republican endgame is in sight.

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