Sunday, May 29, 2011

Repubs Challenging our Right To Vote Again

White women register Black voters in the 1960s. Who was excluded?
In the Old South, the idea was to keep African-American voters away from the ballot box. The law of the land was that everybody got to vote if they were citizens in good standing (felons weren't), but like abortion, which is legal, the fact of voting was quite different.

Southern legislators had poll taxes and literacy tests, designed specifically to keep former slaves and their ancestors from voting and--in many cases--taking over local governments. Those caveats to the nation's law were eventually struck down by enlightened Supreme Courts (which we don't have today with seven of nine members being Republicans). People could vote. Hell was paid by the Old South.

Likewise, abortion law by state is so restrictive that in 80 percent of the counties of the U.S., the procedure is not available, even though its legality is the law of the land.

Now, the Republican Party is attempting to reverse the voting law of the land by requiring photo IDs, limiting third-party registration and having fewer early voting days, among other things. Nearly every voting cycle Republicans attempt to limit the number of people voting. They hate the notion of immigrants being allowed at the ballot box because they believe almost none of them is a Republican. They're probably right.

A story in the NYTimes this a.m. details some of the efforts being made, including this: "Voters in predominantly black neighborhoods in Florida saw their votes challenged in the contested Bush-Gore election of 2000, Democrats made charges of disenfranchisement." Bush was sent to the White House and we've paid dearly for that.

The simple fact here is that no matter how it is framed, the Republican philosophy is not a majority philosophy and never will be. It is a cobbled-together coalition of rednecks (Southerners who used to be racist Democrats) and patricians who don't like or trust each other. Separately, they are about 20 percent of the electorate each. Together they reach the magic 40 percent level and have to move 10 percent from the middle with bogus issues like "socialism," gay marriage and abortion. Determining who gets to vote can remove five to 10 percent from the Democratic side, as well, so it's worth the effort, they believe. It's also un-American in a country that likes to think itself fair.

(Public domain photo.)