Republicans, now motivated more than ever to suppress the vote for Obama, are continuing their fight to implement laws which purport to stop a form of voter fraud which has been clearly shown not to exist, asking courts to ignore the obvious intent of the laws to depress voter turnout for partisan political reasons.
How plainly evident this all is only emphasizes how galling it is. This is not “thinly disguised” voter suppression; it is clear-cut and outright. Many of the people directly behind these movements have made public statements clearly noting the intent and purpose. This follows many efforts by the same party (e.g., voter caging, or movements to shut down voter registration, all by conservatives and all against liberal voting blocks) which were clearly illicit, and clearly political attacks against voter’s rights. They have simply taken the dirty-tricks vote suppression tactics to the legislative level.
And yet, somehow, it continues, and is taken seriously by the courts. How obvious does it need to be before courts and the media simply say, “Jesus, you assholes, you can’t just stop the other side from voting!” I’m serious. All Republicans have to do, apparently, is to make a separate appearance in court or in public, baldly claim that they are not being partisan about it, and their claims are accepted as honest.
Imagine that I have a history of fighting with my neighbor. For whatever reason, I hate his guts, so I do all kinds of nasty stuff. I order pizzas and other COD items in his name all the time in order to harass him. I step that up to cancel his water, power, telephone, and gas subscriptions. When that doesn’t get rid of him, I even try to get his name on pedophile and terrorist watch lists. All of this traceable back to me, it is clear what I have been doing to anyone who looks. Then I get myself elected to the city council, and submit a law that would build a street through his house. I even state publicly that “This law should help me get rid of that goddamned neighbor.” When he challenges me in court, can I get my law backed simply by claiming that I have no intent to harm him and the law is really for the public good? Of course not; hearing the history and my public statements, the judge would probably have me thrown in jail on top of throwing out the law. In this situation, reason would prevail—or at least we hope. If the judge were to accept my obvious dissembling and rubber-stamp the law, anyone in sight would be disgusted at the decision. Unless they also hated the neighbor.
How has it come to this, where there can be such a brazen, open attempt to suppress the vote on such plainly partisan grounds, built upon a foundation which is 100% proven to be fictional—and yet it is not being called for what it plainly is? How can any judge see this and not be compelled to call bullshit for bullshit? How can the media report this and not say the blindingly obvious?
The answer: because half the nation is in favor of it, whether actively or passively. Perhaps because they believe that politics is a contact sport, and if you can’t defend yourself, you don’t deserve the power to control. Or perhaps because it’s one of those many things which you accept peripherally because it serves you and so you can easily just ignore it or divorce yourself from it. Either way, half the country is giving it credence—a half of the country which is willing to call “partisan politics” if it is publicly noted. This half of the populace has weight; they buy, they vote, they protest, they boycott. You do not take them lightly. You cannot dismiss them, and you cannot ignore them.
As a result, so long as even the most transparent of pretenses can be invoked, we have to pretend that the other side is not committing a grave crime, else we are somehow “biased.” In other words, the Republicans have worked the system so thoroughly—by, over time, raising the bar bit by bit, legitimizing corruption one small step at a time, using the media to push their point of view further and further—that they can now violate virtually any ethical boundary and hide behind the simple claim that they didn’t mean it in a bad way. It’s the same principle as a member of congress voting for a law that benefits a corporation while receiving huge campaign contributions from that company, and yet remaining pristine simply by claiming that there is no connection between the two.
The fact is, however, that it is simply wrong.
Any politician who forwards and/or fights for such legislation should be ashamed, because they have violated their oath of office and have failed to represent the people.
Any judge who does not dismiss such laws on their clearly groundless merits, or does not at least rule that they are forced to respect it but personally and professionally are repulsed by it and that such laws should all be repealed, should be ashamed, because they have failed to uphold their oath to the Constitution and to uphold the rights of the people.
Any reporter who considers themselves an actual journalist, who reports on this story and does not clearly state this these laws are an obvious attempt to subvert the legislative process so as to subvert the electoral process, should be ashamed, because they have failed to serve the highest, and frankly, the only important principle of journalism, which is to inform the public in a truthful manner, especially concerning issues which are of public import.
Any citizen who allows this kind of law to be passed because they don’t know any better should be ashamed, because they have failed in their highest civic duty, to be an informed voter.
Any citizen who is aware of these laws, sees what they are, and accepts them—especially in cases where it serves their personal interests—should be ashamed, because they have violated and abandoned the core principles of democracy, and thus no longer deserve its benefits or protection, even though democracy is bound to benefit and protect them regardless of whether they deserve it. They should be ashamed because they have selfishly corrupted the system they purport to live by.
All of these people should be deeply ashamed simply because they have done something that is wrong.