Saturday, July 20, 2013

Editorial: Drunk on kool-aid again

The editor thinks it's silly to be fighting over whether people should be required to show proof of citizenship to vote. To him and his fans it seems like a no-brainer, so he appropriately offers up a no-brain approach and no-brain solutions.

   He shows the depth of his naivete about voter suppression in the third graf, writing that because slow progress has been made in the courts and legislatures and it's now against the law to discriminate, "These biases, of course, have disappeared with time."
   What strikes me about this piece is that you have to buy into four separate cracked premises to even get to this argument. You have to believe that non-citizens want to vote, that there is enough voter fraud going on by non-citizens to make a difference, that demanding ID from every voter would be effective in preventing fraud, and that there is negligible cost to citizens in requiring proof of citizenship.
   Extreme bunker mentalities really do believe that hordes from beyond the borders want to subvert our electoral process using illegal voting, and even that they are having some success with it. But the argument for motivation is preposterous on its face, and the evidence of actual fraud utterly nonexistent. With no problem to solve, the approach to solving it is a waste of energy, but if someone were motivated to cast an illegal vote, fake documents are easily produced and acquired. Finally, there really is cost to every voter, ranging from annoying bureaucratic procedures to full disenfranchisement, and we have the results to prove it, varying from heartbreaking individual stories of voters who have been prevented from registering and voting to statistical anomalies in voter turnout and electorate makeup where these laws are in effect. I've seen for myself unjust disenfranchisement and discouragement as a poll worker right here in Prescott, and in doing my lawful job I've had a direct hand in it.
   The editor has literally no idea what he's talking about, and appears to have no interest in learning.
   I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he's not motivated by conscious racism or political hegemony. He could easily be seeing the trumped-up BS on his teevee and soaking in the idea that if people seem to be worried about a thing, it must be worrisome. But that's not why it's an issue.
   The concern-trolling about voter fraud in the media and on the political stage came as a direct result and hard on the heels of the invented "immigration crisis," positing immense cost to society of inimical aliens bent on the subversion of the American way of life and stealing us blind (presumably by leaving the country by the millions). None of that is true either.
   As I've written before here and elsewhere, this issue is invented entirely to scare Americans into voting against their own interests, by appealing to their completely unjustified, parochial fears of The Other. It's the Southern Strategy all over again, and its authors are the same crew that Nixon used to win the South in '68.
   It's not working as well this time around, though, because voters born after the struggle for black civil rights are generally far less afraid and more likely to identify with those who are being hurt. That's why the darksiders have to continually up the ante with increasingly unhinged, reality-divorced rhetoric.
   This editorial carries a reasonable tone, but it is based entirely in the frightened, helpless flailing of the slow death of white supremacy and a crass and cynical political elite willing to do literally anything to extend its power. For them the editor is just a tool, and doing a good job at it.


Anonymous said...

Steven, I left the Republican party in 2003, after all the mealy mouthed excuses for a completely misrepresented and botched Iraq war. Up until that time, I had never voted for a candidate from any other party, but, finally something clicked in my head and I couldn't carry water for politicians who minced words about such a serious subject. I mention that because that is what I see Republican faithful around the country. They are believing that these voter I.D. laws are about voter fraud. They are 100% voter suppression. What is amazing is that two Republican state politicians have inadvertantly said that was the case on camers.These laws are so ubiquitous around the country, that I think they could change the electoral process signifigantly. This frightens me, a hard right congress along with all of the republican state legisltures working together can do a lot of damamge.

Steven Ayres said...

Your comment and others like it that I've seen give me hope that reasonable people can still stand above the red-team-blue-team silliness and see through the smoke and mirrors to reach responsible, fact-based conclusions. Thanks!