There are a number of national issues that I find disturbing, but most of them I keep to myself, and I don’t use MillersTime to rail against them.
Global warming, and the unwillingness to face it, is one. Money in politics, and what that is doing to our democratic system, is another. Then there’s Congress’s inability to function when we have issues that need to be addressed. I could add the hatred and dishonesty spewed on talk radio, some of the cable TV outlets, and in other public places. I could go on but will spare you.
But there is one issue that for some reason rises to the top of my list and provokes me to action. It is the reason I went to Ohio this past year for a week to canvas in the 2012 elections and to help get out the vote.
The more I followed various states’ actions at limiting voter’s ability to go to the polls last year, the angrier I got. I followed this issue closely, and it seemed to me that rather than protecting the integrity of our voting system, these actions were meant to discourage or to inhibit voters from going to the polls. (In Pennsylvania, officials admitted to/bragged about using voting rights restrictions to make it easier for Mitt Romney to win in their state.)
For me, the cornerstone of our democratic system starts with the freedom to vote. When that is inhibited, whether by instituting a poll tax, disallowing certain classes to vote, or putting barriers in the way of voters, I think we head down a dangerous path.
Yesterday, the governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, quietly signed into law a voting ‘rights’ bill which, among other things, did the following:
- Require voter photo ID at polling places.
- Reduce the early voting period from 17 days to 10 days.
- Prohibit counties from extending poll hours by one hour on Election Day even in extraordinary circumstances, such as in response to long lines. (Those in line at closing time would still be allowed to vote.)
- Eliminate pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, who currently can register to vote before they turn 18.
- Outlaw paid voter registration drives.
- Eliminate straight-ticket voting.
- Eliminate provisional voting if someone shows up at the wrong precinct.
- Allow any registered voter of a county to challenge the eligibility of a voter rather than just a voter of the precinct in which the suspect voter is registered.
North Carolina’s new voting bill is just one of the many new laws that are working their way through state legislatures following the recent Supreme Court decision that declared Section 5 of the 1965/2006 Voting Rights Act unnecessary (unconsititutional?), saying there was little evidence of continuing racial discrimination in the states that were required to get preclearance before changing their voting laws.
If you think the Citizens United decision about money in the campaign system opened a floodgate, watch what is about to happen now as states begin to institute new voting rights restrictions under the guise of “protecting the integrity of our voting system.”
Romana Campos said:
My blood is boiling too and I keep asking myself, “how do these things happen?” Why didn’t anybody stop it? Is there anything we can do now to protest? Is it back to writing your own representatives in Congress? Why does that seem like such an act of futility?
As I’m sure you can imagine, my husband and I have many a conversation about this particular issue. As a lawyer, I find the SCOTUS opinion on Section 5 fascinating. The legal reasoning is completely sound and, frankly, Roberts did a brilliant (Machiavellian?) job of maneuvering the Court in a previous decision to bring this one to the table. The problem is the same one I have with the affirmative action decisions. Yes, it may be unconstitutional from a strict perspective, but what else are we supposed to do to actually level the playing field? Meritocracies, even for those who claim they espouse one, do not exist because of the basic differences in our education systems from day 1. But I digress.
This issue, of the hundreds out there that he had to deal with on the Obama campaigns, is the only one that makes my husband’s head explode. Yes, it makes perfect sense to require an ID or a full application weeks in advance. Until you realize that more people do not vote as a result of those requirements than engage in voter fraud. On the margins, it’s better to let people vote. Unless, of course, you’re a Republican.
Neither one of us have come up with an answer to this, and as long as Roberts is quietly working his own version of competent, middle-of-the-road magic with SCOTUS, we’re in this for the long haul. Just wait for the next opinion to address the commerce clause — Obamacare won, but at what cost?
Also, did you see this? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/12/hillary-clinton-nc-voter-id_n_3746321.html
Richard Margolies said:
As the person who worked the poor neighborhoods of Columbus, Ohio, day and night for the week before the 2012 election with you, we know how satisfying it was to learn that one of the precincts we canvassed voted 602 for the President and 8 for Mr. Romney. Anyone knows who has done this rewarding and educational work (it educates the canvasser, as well as the voter), it is not easy to turn out voters. It is especially hard to get poor people to vote, since they have a lot to do to just survive, take care of and feed the kids, and work, if they can find a job. There is also not believing it will make a difference if they vote. Or not knowing where to vote. Or being cynical or self-centered. Like the poor African American man of about 60 or so years who I found working in a used car lot. He was on my list. When I asked if he would be voting for the President again, he looked at me directly and said, “He didn’t do shit for me!” I responded that the President had a hostile Congress after the 2010 election and the House said no to almost everything he proposed. This former Democratic voter said, “Yeah? Well, he didn’t do shit for me!” [adding more emphasis on the key word of his phrase]. Of course, he had a point. The President saved the Detroit car companies, so presumably many customers might opt for a new car, rather than used cars like he was selling, although buyers of new cars might be selling their old cars. In any event, he wasn’t in a mood to have an economic discussion.
The Republicans understand very well what they are doing. When the Supreme Court struck down that provision of the Voting Rights Act, they were aware that that section was created mainly for the states of the former Confederacy. Racism is a theme in American culture. The fact that there has been progress in former Confederate states toward greater equality is in part because of the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act and other similarly-purposed legislation. The constitutional reasons to remove that part of the Act do not refute the logic of keeping it in place. In other words, because something is effective in fighting an evil is a good reason to leave it as it is so it can continue its effectiveness. If most people start driving the speed limit as posted, do we remove the signs and stop issuing tickets to those who continue to speed and endanger the public?
Similarly, Republicans know very well what they are doing in restricting voting. And they know what they are doing when they go on TV and develop rationalizations and speak swarmly phrases to the public. The underlying reality is that the Republican Party offers no ideas about how we as a nation can advance the common good. And they have abandoned the ideals of equality of their first President, Abraham Lincoln, who believed that our country could be “the last best hope for mankind”. The Republicans don’t care about that. They care about the few amassing a continually expanding percentage of the wealth created by the American people. And they believe that when the wealthy get wealthier the whole country will do better. Or so they like to say. However, history is not on their side. By 2032 over 50% of our country will be non-Caucasian, and likely to vote Democratic, unless the parties realign. At the moment I don’t see much movement in the Republican Party toward a different future. I’d love to see some Lincolnesque leaders emerge from their party.
Ben Shute, jr. said:
A single citizen denied the opportunity to vote is as outrageous as a single case of “voter fraud,” and much more frequent.
you were once my teacher. you have always be a cousin and family. however, as i have grown up and experienced things, learned many other things, listened carefully and watched even more carefully ~ all the things we were taught to do, when you were teaching ~ i find that you have NOT continued to learn. you have NOT continued to progress (unless it is towards the more radical progressive left ~ as opposed to the radical progressive right). YOU (and those like you) have become the problem. YOU are the people that YOU warned us against. YOUR lack of understanding of the simplest of concepts relating to the topic STAGGERS me and makes me wonder what happened to the teacher.
in his book “The Life of Reason” Vol 1, 1905, philosopher George Santayanna stated that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” you are SUPPOSED to be a scholar and teacher of history, yet it seems to me that you are teaching the sal alinski version of re-written, progressive history, to attain an agenda, and are failing to use facts, based on actual history.
you need a photo id to drive. you need a photo id to buy alcohol or cigarettes. you need some sort of id to check out a book at a library. you need an id for almost EVERY facet of existence in MOST of the world. an id is a GENERAL security to the party(ies) you are dealing with, so that it says you are who you say you are.
one of the most fundamental and POWERFUL rights that we enjoy in this country is the constitutional right to vote. this determines who of those are to represent the direction of the most powerful country in the world. the undeniable proof and facts exist that voter fraud is and continues to be rampant and it is well documented that dead people vote, (several times, in fact) and that many people vote as many as 24 times, with not only impunity, but with braggadocio pride to the extent that they speak openly and shamelessly of it in even the most liberal of news interviews. (this is not speculation… this is a scandal!!) you would suggest that this most fundamental right should be given, without question, to anyone just CLAIMING to have it. you are a fool for propagating this agenda with the fallacious and spurious arguments you present. you are encouraging MORE and GREATER fraud and deception, in order to facilitate a political agenda. you are failing to see not only the POTENTIAL dangers, but the actual damage that not only has already been accomplished, but the logical outcome of the direction you are pushing. your years of training in logical thinking has either been wasted or atrophied. you no long have a thought of your own, but only spew the party line, almost verbatim. you are a good little nazi (except that they were progressive right, not progressive left) but the effect is, none the less, comparable.
requiring people to prove that they, IN FACT, LEGITIMATELY OWN that fundamental right to vote and to control the destiny of this (once ~ and can be again) country is NOT an unreasonable requirement. further, there are so MANY, EASY and well documented ways to LEGITIMATELY obtain this proof of identity, that it is beyond belief that you claim that it is, in ANY way, being obstructed, or controlled in any way that makes it hard for ANY legitimate person to have this.
what it DOES do is to HELP to remove SOME of the underhanded, political manipulations to push a specific agenda that allows people to illegally vote multiple times, or make it more difficult for those who are aliens, to swell a specific agenda by tipping a balance, or to allow the dead to rest in peace.
you frighten me, cousin. i was required to read “the decline and fall of the roman empire”, possible in that 600 book reading list that you MAY have contributed to. as it is of some historical significance and, also of some current relevance, it makes me wonder if you may have required US to read it, but that you did NOT. the parallels are undeniable, and so blaring that even YOU can’t miss them, yet, it appears that you have. i can only assume that you also either have not read or that you do not comprehend the writings of George Santayanna, either, as you do NOT seem to be drawing from these lessons.
patrick henry talked about EXACTLY what is occurring in this country right now. he warned of a king. we now have one (one who would rather be a messiah) now. he has circumvented almost every law, and relegated congress to a subordinate and inconsequential and impotent group of moronic sheep. he has usurped the power of both houses, the courts AND the STATES. the STATE was supposed to be the fundamental ruling body in this confederation. i hold the congress responsible for abdicating their rights. i hold the people responsible for not KNOWING their rights. i hold liberal and conservative PROGRESSIVE for obfuscating and failing to TEACH and MAINTAIN and PASS ON those rights.
go back to talking about baseball. while you have some knowledge of the game, it is more suited to the lemming intellect that you are displaying in this (among many other) incredible ignorant post. you frighten me, cuz. i used to think you knew something, and had something to teach. it has been almost 45 years and much has occurred in my life. how could i remember it so differently.
i will end this reply with the following. i will need to save without reading your “missives” so that i do not have to walk around in shame of a cousin and past teacher who has lost all that makes a teacher a teacher. you no longer have an open and active mind. you no longer can differentiate between dogma and reality. you have reach 1984 and you have BECOME that. it is people such as and like you that are dismantling this country and it’s ideals, and the saddest part is that you likely do not even realize it.
PLEASE…. next time you go to a baseball game, bring a book, a HISTORY book, NOT one re-written by modern alinski-ites, but perhaps a book of the constitution, or the bill of rights, or something from which our founding fathers studied. you need to regain your sanity and your center.
i leave you with the following thoughts…. though i fear i have wasted my time…
“those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
~ George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people,
it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government
– lest it come to dominate our lives and interests. ”
~ Patrick Henry
“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled,
public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be
tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be
curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt.
People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”
~ Cicero, 55 BC
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from
those willing to work and give to those who would not.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“There are two kinds of people in this world: Those with guns with bullets, and
those who dig….. you dig…..”
“~ the good..”
Of course I hear as many falsehoods and nastiness from Democrats as from republicans
Clearly, not all republicans are only for the rich and dislike the poor or minorities ( even we realize the demographics are changing)I am concerned that rational thinking is being thrown away because of liberalism. I see it in educational programs and in news reporting .showing ID should not be such a Hugh issue when there is so much chaos and paranoia in the world
Instead of our president and Congress being so occupied with their party or re-election, I really wish they cared more for the American people and the decent people of the world
The class and political divisions seems to have exacerbated exponentially in the US in the last few years. I am active reformer of voting processes in India. What puzzles me as an observer of the evolution of voting in the USA, is the seeming amnesia in the country about the fact that Lincoln and his team were Republican, bringing in the right for black men to vote; so also women’s suffrage which was finally voted in thanks in large measure to support for the Amendment from Republicans, more so than Democrats. Black and white characterization along party lines might create shadows and conspiracies where there are none, and shining knights of those that are less than deserving?
I think you are correct at the exacerbation of the political divisions here. And as that intensifies, I think the Republicans, lead by the more radically conservative ones, know that they must find ways to limit the vote as the demographics are against them. The Democrats are aware that any limiting of the vote will largely hurt their constituencies. And so the battle is on.