Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Schlafly and Suppression

Just read this piece on voter ID laws by Phyllis Schlafly.  

Amazing that the same people who want to enable the purchase of guns with little or no obstacle "because it's a right" have no problem imposing barriers to vote "because it's common sense". These other nations that are cited for their voter-ID laws all have gun-control laws that would never fly in the USA, so this is a pretty sad instance of cherry-picking the restrictions you want while ignoring the ones you don't.

It's also hypocritical and ridiculous that Schlafly thinks early voting is bad because votes might be cast before all the debates are over. Early voting benefits people who are locked in to their choice and want to exercise that choice as conveniently as possible. Would someone like her really have changed her mind and voted for Obama after seeing a particular debate or campaign ad? Since when did these these "small government" people decide that the government should now have a say in how much time you need to make a well-informed vote? 

The same goes for the "modest fees" and "minimal effort" to get official government photo ID's because others that were fine in the past are now disallowed. Suddenly the people who hate big government and regulations love the idea of government regulations getting between you and your constitutional right to vote. Need to get a government ID? Take a look at how limited the hours of access are for the offices you need to go to in order to get one - in many cases there are no after-hours or weekend access, so while you're free to get an ID, it would mean missing work or school to do so. Even if the fee is five dollars, or just one dollar, how is this not a poll tax in principle when voting was free before?

And finally, notice how Schlafly nor anyone else behind these suppression laws can cite hard evidence showing that the rate of actual proven fraud justifies these laws. In Pennsylvania last year when their voter-ID laws were challenged in court, the challengers statistically proved that tens of thousands of previously-eligible voters would be blocked from voting in 2012 by these changes, while the state could not provide even one actual case of proven fraud as a counter-example.

Anyone who says they believe in upholding Constitutional rights, but then supports the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of actual American voters to prevent hypothetical fraud that has never been shown to happen in a meaningful way, let alone put an election into doubt, is the worst type of hypocrite. They are the cowards who realize that most Americans do not actually share their vision, and instead of attracting votes with better ideas, their choice is to deny votes to their opposition. 

They may win small tactical battles in states where they control the local government, but time, demographics and exposure of their tactics will inevitably make this right because as Colin Powell and others have observed, these tactics will provoke a backlash. This was attempted in Florida last year, and instead of suppressing the opposition it drew out long lines of patriotic Americans willing to put up with hours of waiting and overcome the obstacles thrown in their path by the GOP. They remembered who did this to them, and in all the other states trying these tactics, the party responsible for them will be remembered too.

Schlafly and her ilk may think that a better America is one where conservatives are armed with guns free of restrictions while new restrictions disarm the votes of those who'd disagree with them. At the risk of being confused for Tea Partiers, I'd suggest that every person who had to overcome new obstacles to vote this year wear something with the Gadsden Flag or the words "Don't tread on me" on it, and use that vote to remove the people attacking their rights from office.Ugh

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