Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A suggestion for George R. R. Martin on his anti-voter-ID rant



Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin has this post on his blog:

"Show Us Your Papers"
I am way too busy these days for long political rants. 
But I would be remiss if I do not at least make passing mention of how depressed, disgusted, and, yes, angry I've become as I watch the ongoing attempts at voter suppression in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, and other states where Republicans and their Teabagger allies control key seats of power. 
It is one thing to attempt to win elections. But trying to do so by denying the most basic and important right of any American citizen to hundreds and thousands of people, on entirely spurious grounds... that goes beyond reprehensible. That is despicable. 
It would really be nice if there were still some Republicans of conscience out there who would stand up and loudly denounce these efforts, a few men of honor and integrity for whom "win the election" does not "win the election at any cost." There were once many Republicans I admired, even I disagreed with them: men like Everett Dirksen, Clifford Case, Henry Cabot Lodge, William Scranton... yes, even Barry Goldwater, conservative as he is. I do not believe for a moment that Goldwater would have approved of this, any more than Robert A. Heinlein would have. They were conservatives, but they were not bigots, nor racists, nor corrupt. The Vote Suppressors have far more in common with Lester Maddox, George Wallace, John Stennis, and their ilk than they do with their distinguished GOP forebears. 
The people behind these efforts at disenfranchising large groups of voters (the young, the old, the black, the brown) are not Republicans, since clearly they have scant regard for our republic or its values. They are oligarchs and racists clad in the skins of dead elephants. 
And don't tell me they are libertarians either. No true libertarians would ever support a culture where citizens must "show their papers" to vote or travel. That's a hallmark of a police state, not a free country.

A proviso: this "Tea-bagger"(yours truly, that is) is a Martin fan. I'm just finishing Game of Thrones, and I marvel at Martin's skill as a writer. He is a joy to read. His work is beautiful and engaging.

His politics seem to be otherwise. I am dumbfounded by celebrity elites who argue against voter ID laws. Goodness gracious, our entire society depends on intricate systems of identification in order to obtain access, and rich famous folks like Martin use these ID systems more than most. Do you think that you can get onto Martin's estate/property without ID? Just show up at his front gate, he'll let you in, no questions asked, right? Can you walk out of a bookstore with one of his fine epics without presenting a valid credit card to pay for it? How about walking into his office and demanding a nice face-to-face meeting with the famous author, without providing any sort of identification?

Voting is the most most important political act we do in our democracy. If we must "show our papers" (our credit card) in order to buy Martin's books on credit or show some sort of ID to walk into Martin's home, surely we ought to show that we are legally entitled to vote in order to walk into a voting booth.

Verifying that people are voting legally isn't voter 'suppression'. It's just integrity. All of us-- Martin no less than each of us-- insist on ID in all sorts of transactions. We should ask no less when voting.

So George believes that asking people to show ID is a hallmark of a police state? How about this, George: let people walk into stores and take your books on credit, without showing credit cards or ID or anything. Trust them to pay on credit, without identifying themselves. Just like they were walking into a polling place without the need to identify themselves.

Do the same thing with your money that you demand we do with our democracy.

22 comments:

  1. Australia doesn't have voter ID. Neither does it have a problem with electoral fraud.

    All a prospective voter has to do is to appear at a local polling booth (there's usually several within walking distance) or even at a polling booth in another electorate or state, provide his or her name and address, and have it crossed off on the electoral roll, before being handed the ballot papers, no questions asked, besides 'Have you voted already today?'

    Only slightly more rigorous than walking into a bookstore and handing over cash to purchase a book. Are you really so stupid that you think that a prospective book purchaser has to use a credit card or even identify him- or herself?

    The one thing I regard silly about voter ID laws is that it's state based, reflecting America's ramshackle voting system. If it was a good idea, then it should be nationwide.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " Neither does it have a problem with electoral fraud."...

      And how Australia may find that a man voted on behalf of another ten in ten different places?

      Delete
  2. "Verifying that people are voting legally isn't voter 'suppression'. It's just integrity."

    Yeah, well...that's what they're against.

    Martin's post made me want to hurl.

    As I mentioned before, there's a small town voter fraud scandal going on in my area right now. The perp is a Republican. That makes no difference in my mind. Republican cheaters are no better or worse than Democratic cheaters.

    http://www.wwlp.com/dpp/news/i_team/i-team-voter-fraud-in-east-longmeadow

    I think there are three points that have to be made. Opponents of voter ID laws are in denial of all three. They are.

    1) People cheat in elections, just as they do in all competitions. Sometimes I catch my kids cheating at Monopoly, for crying out loud. In politics, the stakes are much higher and the urge to cheat is that much stronger. The "honor system" is neither necessary not effective. In a country of over 300 million people you will find plenty of people with no honor.

    2) In many states, it's ridiculously easy to cheat. Like mine, for example.

    3) No amount of cheating is acceptable. The anti-ID people love to pooh pooh any example of voter fraud by claiming that it's not widespread. I disagree, though I don't care how widespread it is. I don't care if it's happening "only" a few hundred times across the country. It shouldn't be happening at all.

    TRISH

    ReplyDelete
  3. When Obama starts letting guests into the White House without ID, I'll take him seriously.

    He obviously hates black people and the poor because the ID requirement is an impenetrable barrier to those two groups. Supposedly.

    --Francisca S

    ReplyDelete
  4. In Great Britain no photo ID is required to vote either. Voters are merely required to present a polling card sent to the home of every registered voter which is handed to a volunteer at the polling station in your district. At that time the corresponding name is removed from the electoral roll. In effect, one person could vote multiple times a day using different cards sent to the same home with the only means to prevent it being if they handed over one with a name quite clearly of the opposite sex. We don't have a problem with voter fraud here, nobody does that. Perhaps more effort to motivate people into actually taking part in the democratic system would be time better spent than worrying whether of the worryingly small percentage of people who do vote if an even smaller percentage is trying to subvert it.

    Credit card transactions also require no valid ID to perform them in Great Britain. Nor do they in any country I've visited when I've used my cards.

    This issue reminds me a great deal of the ID card act of 2006 debacle we had here which was repealed in 2010 by the Conservative/Lid Dem coalition and had no real benefit during the time it was implemented. It was too costly (over half a billion pounds annually), arguably discriminative (immigrants and non white ethnic groups were encouraged to register at the first opportunity), it weakened the effectiveness of internationally used identification (Brits were given the option of having either a passport or ID card if they wanted, which would have made traveling to the USA a laugh) and no tangible evidence that ID cards prevented the kinds of criminal activity they were meant to prevent (in this case, terrorism. In Spain, ID cards were in use and had no effect on preventing the 2004 Madrid train attacks).

    I do however agree that celebrity endorsement or criticism of ideas should not be enough to sway anyone's opinion, that's a given. In most cases I separate art from the artist, unless they're espousing something truly deplorable.

    First Time Caller (calling again)

    ReplyDelete
  5. The only type of voter fraud that voter ID laws address is voter impersonation. This doesn’t happen hundreds of times a year, more like tens of times per decade.

    Meanwhile there are numerous bigger problems with our voting systems, Large scale absentee ballot fraud (the preferred Republican tactic), poor ballot design, easily manipulated electronic voting systems (which Republicans expressly don’t want to fix), and bogus overly broad felon lists (when administered by Republicans anyway), and inconsistent voting requirements and voting opertunities from place to place.

    See the pattern here, huge problems that aren’t problems at all as far as Republicans are concerned because they tend to favor Republicans, and a virtual non-problem blown way out of proportion in order to disenfranchise tens of thousands of mostly poorer voters.

    Our very Democracy is at risk and you asshole racists are responsible.

    -KW

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a "racist" for opposing voter fraud?

      Delete
    2. Poor ballot design? Really?

      Delete
    3. I'm a "racist" for opposing voter fraud?

      You're a racist for supporting an onerous measure that deters a form of voting fraud that happens fewer times per election cycle than you have fingers and toes.

      Meanwhile, you and your ilk overlook other forms of voter fraud that benefit you without raising so much as a peep.

      You're not only a racist, you're a scantimoniously hypocritical racist.

      Delete
    4. KW:

      Absentee ballot fraud is a problem? Okay, let's fix it. Any ideas?

      When are you going to learn that this isn't a question of R's and D's. It's a question of the integrity of our elections, which is vital. It's almost as if you think that by demonstrating that Republicans cheat too, that I--who am not a Republican, by the way--will see that there is cheating on both sides, and then be shamed into silence. Cheating on both sides needs to stop. The "both sides" argument is an argument for reform, not against it.

      You seem a little hypocritical as well. If I am racist and want to disenfranchise people because I want people to show ID at the polls, are you also racist and do you also want to disenfranchise people because you want to crack down on voter fraud via absentee ballot? Might I take a guess at what kind of person you don't want voting? Active duty military, perhaps?

      And you still haven't given me a single good reason why any person in our society can't get an ID.

      --Francisca S.

      Delete
    5. What the hell is an "overly broad felon list"?

      A felon is a felon. A list of felons is not overly broad, so long as everyone on the list is a felon.

      Ben

      Delete
    6. KW can't get past partisanship. It's always, Republicans cheat more! Blah, blah, blah, blah.

      How about this--crack down on voter fraud of all kinds.

      KW, did you see what happened in the recent Charlie Rangel (Democratic) primary? Still think everything's fine?

      Ben

      Delete
    7. Egnor said: I'm a "racist" for opposing voter fraud?

      Yes. You're racist against people who aren't supposed to be voting.

      --Francisca S.

      Delete
    8. What the hell is an "overly broad felon list"?

      A list that includes people who are not felons, which is a common problem as people with names similar to those of a felon get swept into the list. Also, a list on which people who should have been restored to the rolls aren't. Both issues account for many orders of magnitude more voters than the vanishingly rare kind of fraud voter ID laws are supposed to foil.

      Delete
  6. This is all about voter suppression of certain races. After all, we all know that no one could ever expect people of those races to be able to carry an ID card.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just to reiterate a point you made in a previous post....
    Are they not the same people who Mr. Martin says will be disenfranchised from their vote because have no ID who MUST show ID to receive housing assistance, food stamps, welfare payments, medical care, day care and bus passes? Or does the government just hand over all that stuff without ID?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are they not the same people who Mr. Martin says will be disenfranchised from their vote because have no ID who MUST show ID to receive housing assistance, food stamps, welfare payments, medical care, day care and bus passes?

      It is interesting that you assume that the people who will be disenfranchised by this law are recipients of public assistance. And you wonder why your racism slip seems to show under your dress every time you talk.

      Delete
    2. @anon:

      I see. So you assert that there are a substantial number of people who are self-sufficient and don't need public assistance but who have no ID?

      And what do my views have to do with racism? After all, I'm a member of the party that has always opposed racism, unlike you.

      Delete
    3. I see. So you assert that there are a substantial number of people who are self-sufficient and don't need public assistance but who have no ID?

      Do you have evidence that there are not? Or just some racist assumptions?

      And what do my views have to do with racism?

      When you spout racist viewpoints, then you get accurately called a racist. What party you are a member of is irrelevant to that question.

      After all, I'm a member of the party that has always opposed racism, unlike you.

      The Nazi Party has always opposed racism? The Republican party might have been able to claim the anti-racist party, but then it adopted the "Southern Strategy" and attracted all the racists into its own ranks. Also, you have no idea what party I am a member of. Once again, you make assumptions with no basis for making them.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous:

      People on welfare are not a race. They include people of every race, including a majority of whites. Travel to Kentucky or the Ozarks and you will find white welfare recipients galore.

      But the issue that has been raised in objection to voter ID laws is that they disenfranchise the poor because they can't afford an ID. Poor = no ID. That's the contention, and if we are to assume it for the sake of argument, then the question raised in the previous post deserves a real answer. Aren't welfare recipients proving their identity when they claim their bennies? If they can just walk in and pick sign up for EBT and WIC and every other program, what's stopping them from collecting multiple times? Do we have any idea at all how many people are collecting?

      You play the race card as a smokescreen.

      --Francisca S.

      Delete
    5. Aren't welfare recipients proving their identity when they claim their bennies? If they can just walk in and pick sign up for EBT and WIC and every other program, what's stopping them from collecting multiple times?

      And the assumption made, which you seem to join in, is that those disenfranchised by this law will all be people on public assistance. Do you have any basis for this assertion, or are you just pulling stuff out of your ass?

      Delete
    6. "I am way too busy these days for long political rants. ..."

      Translation: I am way too busy these days to to even attempt to ground my political opinions and preferences in reality.

      Delete