Third Party & Independents Archives

Opposing Election Legitimacy in Georgia

Here’s yet another constitutional right invented by a federal judge: the right to vote without being asked to identify yourself. Absurd? Of course it is, but not as absurd as the idea that blacks and the poor aren’t capable of getting of photo ID.

But it's true according to a federal judge:

ROME, Georgia (AP) -- The same federal judge who threw out Georgia's voter ID law last year blocked the state Wednesday from enforcing its revised law during this year's elections.

U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy's ruling, which he delivered verbally from the bench, was much broader, also including the November 7 general elections and any runoffs.

If the rulings stand, Georgia voters will not have to show a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot this year. The state's primary election -- which would have been the first election for which the IDs were required -- is scheduled for Tuesday.

Murphy said the state's latest attempt at requiring voter photo IDs discriminated against people who don't have driver's licenses, passports or other government-issued IDs.

"That is the failure of this legislation as it stands," he said.

In October, the judge rejected a more-stringent voter ID requirement, saying it amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax because of the fees associated with getting the required ID.

This year, the Legislature passed a law that made the IDs free and available in all counties.

Murphy commended lawmakers for addressing problems with the previous version but said more work is needed. The latest version still denies citizens equal protection under the law, he said.

So it costs not a single penny to get a photo ID in Georgia, but to require one in order to vote is somehow an act of discrimination against the poor. Then we have critics who say the law was implemented to dissuade blacks and other Democrat-supporting minorities from going to polls, so therefore we compare a legitimate law aimed at stopping voter fraud to a racist poll tax.

But unlike the poll tax, a law requiring a photo ID is easy to overcome; all you have to do is get a photo ID! And did I mention they're free? Oh, but of course there's an excuse as to why even that is unreasonable. Maybe the next charge will be that the law is unfair because it "discriminates" against those who just don't like getting their picture taken.

Posted by Scottie at July 13, 2006 11:50 PM
Comments
Comment #167410

Scottie,

This is truly ridiculous. I always wondered why they never asked for the slightest bit of proof of who you are when you go to vote. Seems pretty basic to me. Couldn’t the same argument be made about registering to vote? Where I live, they even mail you a voter ID card when you register, but they don’t ask to see it when you go to vote. I do not get it.

Of course, I guess this is no more ridiculous than not getting a paper back up when using electronic voting machines.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at July 14, 2006 12:21 AM
Comment #167436

Scottie, good topic. I used to be adamantly opposed to a national citizen ID. I have over time reversed that position. At the heart of this issue is the ability of the government to verify people claiming to be citizens. It is a need which made more dire by national security, voting accountability, and dare I say it, for consumer protection.

Georgia’s attempts while in the right direction are too small. We need a national ID system for all Americans, and rigorous oversight and liberty protections from abuse of power by government agents in the use of these ID’s against its citizens. It can be done. This debate needs to permeate our local and national government in all branches of the government to insure that a national ID system is fair, accountable, and safe for individual liberty protections from intrusive and abusive government useage.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 14, 2006 2:31 AM
Comment #167437

David,

I think we should have to show ID for verification purposes when we vote, but I think a national ID card is going too far. Look at the mess that has been made out of the Social Security number.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at July 14, 2006 2:43 AM
Comment #167442

I have no problem with showing a photo ID to vote and for other activities, in fact I think one is needed, However a national ID is a VERY bad idea.

I can think of no reason why you should have to prove who you are unless you are doing something that affects others.

Posted by: tomd at July 14, 2006 5:47 AM
Comment #167455

I think some form of government ID be required. If you can’t drive then go get a government issued ID. Here in Michigan, if you don’t have a drivers license, you can still get a state issued ID.
Another thing that can be done is like they did in Iraq, you vote, your finger gets inked with a ink that does not wear off for a week.
I guess in Georgia it is going to get out and vote and vote often.

Posted by: KT at July 14, 2006 7:56 AM
Comment #167471
Murphy commended lawmakers for addressing problems with the previous version but said more work is needed. The latest version still denies citizens equal protection under the law, he said. Posted by Scottie at July 13, 2006 11:50 PM
Shouldn’t those complaining about the judges decision understand what those reservations are first?


Georgia’s attempts while in the right direction are too small. We need a national ID system for all Americans, and rigorous oversight and liberty protections from abuse of power by government agents in the use of these ID’s against its citizens. It can be done.
Posted by: David R. Remer at July 14, 2006 02:31 AM
Do you mean like requiring a warrant before searching or eavesdropping? Oh wait, we already have those laws. Yet this President decided he didn’t have to follow them. There is no protection from Big Brother once he has a tool to take from our liberties.

Posted by: Dave1 at July 14, 2006 9:54 AM
Comment #167472

Dave1, TomD, and Jay Jay, fearing big brother is a strawman argument. The government already has the the ability and legal authority to track any of us everywhere we go and surveil whatever we do. A national ID is not going to bring forth anything that does not already exist.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 14, 2006 10:01 AM
Comment #167486

David

“Strawman arguments” is used when someone creates a logical falacy based on a misrepresntation of your argument. You agree that Big Brother is watching, where is the fallacy? I will deny that BB has the legal authority to do so, although it certainly has the ability.

What you are arguing for is: to advance a narrow convenience you wish to enhance the potential for intrusions via a national ID “Your papers, pleaze!”
I, for one, argue that the Government does not have the right or need to intrude without Consitutionally mandated warrants and that any expansion of their capabilities is counter to the foundation of our freedoms. A keystone of which is freedom from unreasonable search or seizure in any form.
Since when would a Libertarian argue for greater authority of the goverment over your life?

Posted by: Dave1 at July 14, 2006 10:49 AM
Comment #167491

Dave 1,

So what the judge is saying is “Um, we should have more effort in this direction instead of this partial fix. Therefore I’m nixing the partial fix.”

Baby steps are better than no steps at all!! I thought judges were supposed to have common sense.

Posted by: Ken Strong at July 14, 2006 11:12 AM
Comment #167502

Of course we should not have to show an ID to vote. It’s a terrible idea!

In Chicago, that would eliminate all the dead people who vote (how do you think the mayor gets elected, huh?)…and all the people who get paid to vote in three or four different precincts.

Also, the national ID card is bad.

If we had a national ID card, we might actually be able to track down all the deadbeat dads…and all the sexual offenders…and all the others that are listed in a state-by-state database that isn’t shared with other states.

ID cards, state or federal, discriminates against all the law breakers and cheaters and dead people…and they have rights too, ya know.

Posted by: Jim T at July 14, 2006 11:55 AM
Comment #167511

Ken,

Now that is a strawman argument (for David:-).
The judge didn’t say

“Um, we should have more effort in this direction instead of this partial fix. Therefore I’m nixing the partial fix.”
He said
The latest version still denies citizens equal protection under the law
I’m confident you can discern the difference.


I’ll use another strawman to put JimT’s little rant into the “deductive fallacy” bin. I.e. “Since we don’t use National ID’s, dead people will elect the Mayor of Chicago.”

Posted by: Dave1 at July 14, 2006 12:30 PM
Comment #167515

I’m with Jay Jay and Dave. I don’t like the idea of a national ID — it does seem like opening a door to a path America has never gone down before. Why wouldn’t someone producing their voter registration card be enough? And why isn’t registering voters made easier and more convienient by the states — wouldn’t it be a good idea if this could be done at the same time people are applying for or renewing, their drivers license or state ID card?

Posted by: Adrienne at July 14, 2006 12:36 PM
Comment #167530

There is already a national id, and those that obey the laws are the ones that use it. It is called your Social Security Number, if you don’t think so, go into any Fed Office and ask for something, and they will asked for your SSN, if you don’t give it, they can deny you service.
Next time you do your taxes don’t put down your SSN and see what happens.
Not only does the fed’s have it, so do the state and probably the local governments.
As another said, Big Brother can watch you anytime they want. Take a look at Google Maps and see how close it comes to your house, now think of what the government has, which is a lot better.

Posted by: KT at July 14, 2006 1:18 PM
Comment #167562

KT,

Federal beaurocracy requires the SSN. Local does not.
Admittedly it’s a slippery slope argument to say “first the ID” then “federal police”. But history does repeat itself.

Posted by: Dave1 at July 14, 2006 2:57 PM
Comment #167569

Actually it’s not an invented right at all, but rather a probable interpretation of section 1 of the 14th amendment. I personally feel it’s crazy, but it seems that states can’t deny a citizen the right to vote based merely on inability to prove citizenship.

(excerpt)
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

It seems that “Due process” can be construed to only apply to the deprivation of life, liberty, and property, and that the first clause has no dependencies.

Posted by: DOC at July 14, 2006 3:38 PM
Comment #167713

Dave1, the strawman is that the national ID card is some kind of boogeyman, and preventing its existence will make us better off. Fact is, a national ID will allow the people to hold the government more accountable by being able to trace government abusive action back to use of the ID cards in illegal ways. Currently, how can you acquire evidence the government is abusing private information. You can’t. There is no legally recognized trail.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 14, 2006 9:59 PM
Comment #167724

David.

You suggest “rigorous oversight” to prevent abuse. My pointing out that abuses are taking place right now is not a strawman. It might be a fallacy of cause or Post Hoc, but not a strawman.

You suggest that requiring a controlled path of information with an audit trail will resolve the lack of abuse evidence. I don’t believe that’s realistic. Current investigations stopped simply because the Feds said “No, you can’t see that”. As for other potential abuses, look at the Identity theft problem we have now. This is also just another opportunity for criminal fraud.

In the end, history proves that gov’t will abuse it’s power. If we are to ever stop making the same mistakes, Gov’t power must be limited(tr. v.).
QED

Posted by: Dave1 at July 14, 2006 11:40 PM
Comment #167727

Getting a ID card in Georgia wasn’t all that expensive to start with. Something like $10.00 for 5 years. A divers license coast $20.00 for 5 years or $35.00 for 10 years.
A lot the ‘poor’ spend more than that a week for alcohol. If they can afford the alcohol then they can afford the ID.
but now it’s free so they don’t have to do without their Night Train.
Judge Murphy’s ruling is about as dumb as not requiring registering to vote. And their are those that would like to see that.

Posted by: Ron Brown at July 14, 2006 11:57 PM
Comment #167730

As the battle of semantics occurs in other corners of this thread, I think I’ll just tell Dave 1 I’ll be voting in the next election as “Dave” … then go back and vote in my real name

… . and then depending on how much time I have available … hmmmm, where’s that Baby names book again? The possibilities are limitless! Yes, let’s trash the Voter ID idea. Who needs it?!

Posted by: Ken Strong at July 15, 2006 12:21 AM
Comment #167734

Ron, Ken,

No one said the idea of requiring an ID to vote was bad. But the judge said the law didn’t meet a standard of care:

The latest version still denies citizens equal protection under the law, he said
If you want to be respected in a discussion you need to address the actual issue and stop nonsense like:
Poor people drink so they should pay for an ID and without an ID I’ll just go and commit voter fraud.

Posted by: Dave1 at July 15, 2006 12:49 AM
Comment #167756

Dave1, thank you for agreeing with me. You said: “In the end, history proves that gov’t will abuse it’s power. If we are to ever stop making the same mistakes, Gov’t power must be limited(tr. v.).”

Which was my original point about a national ID. The government’s use of it must be limited. See how easy that was. Agreement isn’t hard once we get past our prejudgements.

You set up a national ID card as agent for nefarious government abuse, only to knock it down for the same reason. It is a straw man argument because there is no national ID, and you have absolutely no evidence that a national ID would endanger the public anymore than driver’s licenses or Social Security numbers, which are necessary if not fool proof.

A national ID is a necessary component of more honest and accountable elections in this country. Nothing is safe from crooks. But on balance, it is more important to a democracy that it have accountable and transparent elections than to abdicate them out of fear that a few crooks will abuse the access to the ID data. By your argument we should do away with the US Postal system and addresses for residences and places of employment, since they give direct access to the government of our whereabouts nearly 90% of the time.

Sorry, you didn’t get it. I will try to be more concrete in my allusions when discussing topics with you in the future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 15, 2006 4:07 AM
Comment #167805

Dave1
I don’t see how giving free IDs ‘denies citizens equal protection’. Murphy is an activist judge that just wants to see the left gain power. He’s not the lest bit interested in ‘equal protection’. He’s most likely against voter registration.
Not having to show an ID will allow folks vote under someone else’s registration. Doesn’t this deny ‘equal protection’ for the voter who’s name is being used illegally? What happens when that person goes in to vote and their name has been signed off as having voted already?
All the legislator was trying to do is stop voter fraud. Something that y’all have been hollering about for the last 5 years. Now Murphy has insured that it can run rampant in Georgia.
I’m not against a free ID, or drivers license for that matter, but the argument that the poor can’t afford it don’t hold water with me. Like I said they can afford liquor. They also can afford tobacco. Why can’t they afford $10 every five years for and ID card?
BTW, a whole heap of poor have a drivers license that they still have to pay for. So how does a free ID deny ‘equal protection’?

David
How would a national ID insure equal protection? And given the Federal Governments record how could you trust it not to abuse it?
And what about the right of the States to decide how to issue ID? National ID would be just another infringement on the rights of the states and put more power in the hands of an out of control Federal Government.

Posted by: Ron Brown at July 15, 2006 1:02 PM
Comment #167807

Ron, how can you trust citizens with firearms not to abuse them? How can you trust teachers with your children. The answer is by holding them accountable in the election polls. Without reliable and verifiable ID at the election booths, I ask you how you can possibly trust election results?

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 15, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #167808

Ron Brown, this is one of those times when the stakes are so high, and the ability of the states so diminished and incapacitated, that a national standard for elections is called for. Much like the interstate highway system was absolutely necessary for defense and growth of interstate commerce. It was too important and beyond the capacity of the individual states to create and maintain such a huge and costly highway system at the time.

Can our nation afford to continue to have 50 states each making up the rules, methods, and standards for our national elections in ways that throw doubt and division into the nation’s populace over the issue of who really won the right to lead? The very legitimacy of government is being threatened by current system. Democracy cannot thrive and inspire confidence in government if election results cannot be trusted and empirically tested.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 15, 2006 1:17 PM
Comment #167813

David
Without reliable and verifiable ID at the election booths, I ask you how you can possibly trust election results?

I’m not against voters having to identify themselves to vote. This is why I believe that Murphy has screwed the pouch on this one. But I’m not sure a Federal ID is a good idea.
Standardized election laws might effective in helping curb voter fraud. But the states would most likely have to oversee these laws. And you can bet you last buck each state will oversee them differently. So are you suggesting that the Federal Government goes into the voting place to oversee the elections? Scary!

Posted by: Ron Brown at July 15, 2006 1:30 PM
Comment #167834

David:

“Without reliable and verifiable ID at the election booths, I ask you how you can possibly trust election results? “

Putting the onus of dishonest elections on the voter flys in the face of the much more egregious disenfranchisement by voting officials and political hacks. Scrubbing voter rolls of “felons” when in reality it amounts to disenfranchising legitimate minority voters, handing out provisional ballots and absentee ballots, then not counting them, voter intimidation, changing poll locations in minority precincts without proper notification…the list goes on and on. If a Skinhead or a Communist votes illegally five times in an election, it doesn’t equal the damage one computer hacker can do in five minutes to touch-screen machines.

Government has a number of ways of ascertaining who a legitmate voter is without creating another entire layer of bureaucratic nonsense. And I believe it’s about time this country errors on the side of caution when it comes to percieved minority disenfranchisement. After the short-changing of working voting machines in minority precincts around Cleveland in 2004, we don’t need another black eye. This country’s Jim Crow heritage cannot be ignored.

This is a mis-placed, mis-directed aim to clean up elections by blaming the victims, and sweeping under the rug the true malfeasance in the American electoral system.

Posted by: Tim Crow at July 15, 2006 2:38 PM
Comment #167840

I think the government should implant an RFID chip into every citizen. This would ensure proper identification at all times, your ID could never be lost or stolen or destroyed, and the kidnapping of children would become an exercise in futility because they could be instantly tracked. Win, win, win, for everyone.

Posted by: Truelib at July 15, 2006 2:59 PM
Comment #167861

Tim said: “Putting the onus of dishonest elections on the voter flys in the face of the much more egregious disenfranchisement by voting officials and political hacks.”

What a preposterous statement. We the people, in order to form a more perfect union…. Elections are the people, voting for the people of the people’s choices, to represent the interests of the people. Your Buddhadamned right the onus is on the people, Precisely where it must be if they want honest and accountable election results for their efforts.

The alternative is to have biased partisans in control of the election process and we have seen time and time again where that has gotten us. Does the Daly Machine in Chicago ring any bells?

The malfeasance in the election system is both constitutional and political party. Constitutional because the archaic notion of 13 different standards for voting a very small number of the colonies population (white, male land owners) is woefully out of step and date with modern times, universal suffrage, and political parties (only 2 of the many dozens) in control of the voting machinery.

That’s where the malfeasance lies. The failure of politicians to compensate our voting system for a rapidly growing nation with rapidly growing corruption in government and at the polls.

I will tell you. With 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants and millions of business dollars available to pay illegals to vote according to their payer’s direction, I think we can start a whole new cottage industry to give illegal immigrants a hand up at election time. If you think I am the only one thinking this, you would be very, very mistaken. Watch and see…

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 15, 2006 4:00 PM
Comment #167876

Dave 1,

This judge has been historically and consistently behind a voter ID. Obviously he’s going to make up a reason to reject it, his profession, if not law itself, requires an opinion on the matter … so he has to say something.

I feel quite confident that this proposed legislation could’ve been as close to perfect as possible and this judge would’ve turned it down. The opinion would go something like this:

“Ahem, even though this proposed legislation has bended and twisted in infinite directions to meet my requirements, I feel now that the proposed legislation has thus become to complex and difficult to grasp for the average Georgian, especially those not well off and without the benefit of a proper education. So, to protect those folks, I hereby reject this proposed legislation until the program understandable to someone with a 5th grade reading level.”

Then he would exit stage left.

Posted by: Ken Strong at July 15, 2006 6:05 PM
Comment #167877

“This judge has been historically and consistently behind a voter ID”

… I obviously meant to say “against” and not “behind”. My apologies.

Posted by: Ken Strong at July 15, 2006 6:06 PM
Comment #167899

David:

“What a preposterous statement. We the people, in order to form a more perfect union…. Elections are the people, voting for the people of the people’s choices, to represent the interests of the people. Your Buddhadamned right the onus is on the people, Precisely where it must be if they want honest and accountable election results for their efforts. “

My statement was orginally intended to indicate my disatisfaction with national ID card idea. Your belief in sweeping out incumbents as a cure-all to an already compromised electoral system is questionable, one, because of the time factor—you’re talking four, five, six electoral cyles at least before there is enough momentum to do any good, and maybe not even then; secondly, the mechanisms for compromising federal elections are already upon us, as witnessed in the last two presidential elections. On top of that, the country is polarized more now than it has been in a generation. We’ve witnessed probably the worst presidency in my lifetime and there are still 30-35% of the country that will walk off a cliff for this president.

So, you think a national voting card would head off unscrupulous politicos from buying votes of illegals? They have other methods—I’ve already mentioned a few in my previous post. And a lot of them are racially based, for the simple reason that 90% of black voters vote Democratic.

The whole ID card thing smacks of Jim Crowism. It’s not lost on a lot of Americans that this issue has been initiated in Georgia, of all places. And after demonstrably questionable voting machines made by partisan companies are shrugged off, the duplicity of suddenly coming down on the already largely disinfranchised (the poor and minorities)with this ID card idea smells suspicious. It treads very closely to a state-sponsered disinfranchising of the elderly, the infirm, the poor and minorities.

If the Right thinks we’re being hypersensitive about this, too bad. The track record on disinfranchising minority voting rights in the South and elsewhere speaks for itself.

The onus is on the State of Georgia to make absolutely certain that obtaining and using such a voting card respects every voter. If the courts aren’t satisfied, I’m not either.

Posted by: Tim Crow at July 15, 2006 8:58 PM
Comment #167941

Tim Crow
Just how is requiring someone to identify themselves before voting disenfranchising the poor and minorities? Georgia has made ID cards free to everyone. All anyone has to do is go get one. Or is that the problem? Y’all don’t think anyone should have to go get an ID card. The state should take it to them.
Or maybe y’all think no one should have to identify themselves before voting. That way the left can stuff the ballot box.
I sure hope that aint it.

Posted by: Ron Brown at July 16, 2006 12:09 AM
Comment #168055

Ron, there are many on the left and right who want to keep the option of stuffing the ballot boxes open. Literally trillions of dollars ride on elections, and that is just too much money to afford leaving elections to chance and the voters.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 16, 2006 2:45 PM
Comment #168062

Tim said: “because of the time factor—you’re talking four, five, six electoral cyles at least before there is enough momentum to do any good”

On what logical or empirical basis do you base this guestimation? We know it won’t happen in one election cycle, but two is possible and 3 is likely if the right people climb on board.

“On top of that, the country is polarized more now than it has been in a generation.”

It appears that way if one observes nothing but the shows who make their advertising dollars on the extremes. But, there is some evidence that the left - right polarization is not affecting as many Americans today as in 1992 and 1994. That evidence comes in the form of large increases in Independent voters who are divesting themselves of the polarized Dem. and Rep. parties.

“The whole ID card thing smacks of Jim Crowism.”

The state level concept of ID cards for voting in the 1960’s was used to discriminate against blacks. But, we are talking national ID cards here, and not exclusively for voting, but for national security and federal benefits, and a host of other uses that would cut down on 100’s of billions being lost to things like identity theft, and credit card fraud.

The Voting Rights Act is likely to pass through the Senate, and that is a level of protection that was not afforded prior to the initial passage, when Jim Crow had carte blanche to discriminate.

“The onus is on the State of Georgia to make absolutely certain that obtaining and using such a voting card respects every voter. If the courts aren’t satisfied, I’m not either.”

I am with you 100% on this. The Courts up to and including the S.C. need to sign off on the specific safeguards which must protect suffrage for all.

The beauty of a national ID card however is, that misuse and abuse becomes an FBI matter, and the FBI is far better equipped to investigate and bring to trial through the DOJ misuse of ID cards than state resources which themselves may have a bias or prediliction toward disenfranchisement. The South however has learned not to mess with the Feds for the most part. And a national ID card will invoke Fed’s investigation - something state officials and politicians have nightmares about.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 16, 2006 3:02 PM
Comment #168073

David said to my belief that his VOID plan would take 4, 5 or six election cycles to implement:

“On what logical or empirical basis do you base this guestimation? We know it won’t happen in one election cycle, but two is possible and 3 is likely if the right people climb on board. “

Yet, David also says:

“… there are many on the left and right who want to keep the option of stuffing the ballot boxes open. Literally trillions of dollars ride on elections, and that is just too much money to afford leaving elections to chance and the voters.”

And this is my point. The incentive to sabotage the federal election process is far outstripping efforts to make the election process secure, more open and a level playing field for third parties.
My belief that it can’t be done in two or three election cycles is because the sophistication and the tenacity of the forces that want to subvert the election process. The efforts to disinfranchise voters have gotten more sophisticated and pronounced—and frankly, they have a many-election jump on the forces that want to make the system work. Besides the mere physical act of manipulating elections, there is the vast wall of conspiritorial silence of media, the maufacturing of ‘news’ the ignoring of reasoned debate and alternative viewpoints in the name of money and the bottom line.

As an example, if you don’t think we’re in serious trouble with a compromised electoral process, look at how the media steadfastly refuses to discuss the election issues of the last three federal elections. The status quo is sacred.

I believe that VOID has a good idea—eliminate incumbents that are gumming up the works. But it takes commitment and sacrifice and persistence and sheer out-and-out anger transmuted into action to maintain a healthy government (assuming that is even possible). Most Americans don’t even have the patience or energy after a long day’s work to discipline their children, or train their pets, much less monitor and guide a political system they think is always going to do what it does best—screw them over.

I know, I know, you have to start somewhere, it’s an educational process, cynicism is the voice of resignation and weakness. I know all the arguments.

But it seems to me that the trillions of dollars and the power and the perks won out a long time ago—and government is an edifice to insure those things to people who can’t live without them and will literally kill millions of people to get them—and will prettify the whole mess with fourth grade patriotism and first grade religion.

I am beginning to wonder if government isn’t always corrupt, and trying to reform it is largely a waste of time.

The only ‘reform’ that ultimately means anything (and that is only for a short time until some other thug steals it) is revolution and economic collapse. Its clean, its irreverent to the status quo, it is uncompromising, and it demands attention. And the old bromides ain’t gonna cut it.

I think VOID, election reform, campaign finance reform, lobbying reform, electoral college elimination, all these things are rational, well-measured, logical (except, of course, to the people that benefit from the way things are now). All of it will disappear overnight if there is a economic collapse that makes it difficult for Americans to feed their families.

In short, the challenges we are facing as a nation (and a species) I believe are not being addressed. Corruption, power and money controls the agenda, from politics, to the environment, to education of the masses, to economic policy.

We change what we can change, we reform what we are allowed to reform, but the revolutionary spark that actually formed this country over two hundred years ago is definitely off-limits. We have become the Great Britain we fired so long ago. I think it’s time we fire our government—literally and figuratively. I have come to believe more and more that government cannot be fundamentally changed and reformed in any meaningful way by obeying the parameters IT ALLOWS.

Posted by: Tim Crow at July 16, 2006 4:13 PM
Comment #168081

Ron Brown:

Let me tell you a little bit about myself so you can understand where I coming on this. I’ll try not to be overblown.

When I was a boy, our family lived in Montgomery, Alabama. My father was in the Air Force, a chaplain. He was a remarkably open-minded individual, especially considering that he grew up in a coal-mining town in West Virgina. He was well-traveled, well-educated and a confirmed New Deal Democrat. But he considered himself a Virginian, and he loved the South.

I was in junior high school the day JFK was killed. What I witnessed from my fellow students was a jovial, celebratory, party atmosphere—they hated Kennedy and every thing he stood for. Certainly, there were those that were in shock and mourned—but I will never forget the ones who didn’t.

I saw the ‘seperate-but-equal’ South, the seperate drinking fountains, bathrooms, the segregated restaurants, the squalid black shantytowns along Bell Street and the bright-white marble and domed state capitol building. The US flag flew on a pole in the back of the capitol building, almost as an afterthought. Flying above the dome was the Confederate battle flag and the state flag of Alabama. This was the first capitol of the Confederacy, after all.

I lived in Montgomery from 1954-58, then again from 1963-65. And the parameters of the Civil Rights movement fit very neatly into those times—In December of 1955, after spending the entire day on her feet, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man. And in March of 1965, two months before we left Alabama, marchers in Selma were brutally attacked and beaten by state troopers and their dogs at the Edmund Pettis bridge. They were trying to march to Montgomery, 40 miles away to petition the state government.

They planned their march again for the next month. The national outcry compelled LBJ to bring in federal troops to protect the marchers. I remember them training in riot tactics on the golf course on the air base we lived on, complete with gas masks and fixed bayonets.

And on the day the marchers reached Montgomery, every downtown street corner had a soldier on it—our school bus passed by a lot of soldiers, and a lot of grim-faced white people.

So what does all this have to do with voter ID cards? Voter ID cards strikes a nerve in me, an irrational, disquieting, and yes, bigoted reaction in me. It triggers all the racism and hate and bigotry I witnessed as a boy, and could not for the life of me understand.

For many years afterward, too many years, I held the South in contempt. Their politics, their religion, their social mores, their racial policies. I had become a bigot, and I still am. The scars run too deep to overcome. Black people, themselves have shown more resilience, forgiveness and courage as the objects of racism than I have as an innocent, but much affected, by-stander.

I am not proud of this side of me. I am ashamed of it. The South has grown and prospered over the years, and the Southern people have made strides in racial understanding that other Americans from all over the country could learn from.

But it is a never-ending battle. When I see racism, it kicks off all the old tapes of growing up in the South. It’s anger, mixed with despair and an overwhelming sadness that I didn’t, couldn’t do more to ameliorate the situation. But I was a boy.

This ID issue is Georgia’s issue, for now. Yes, this card is for free, just go and get one. If you don’t have a car, take the bus, get a cab—walk. With your cane, your walker—get a friend to take you, call your church. It’s all very reasonable, anyone can do it.

Except for the damaged ones, the people that have been marginal all thier lives., the ones that have lived with persecution and hate all their lives. Perhaps they are beyond our help, maybe this is all lib-feel-good hooey.

I believe you live in Georgia. You obviously feel that this idea is a good one, that bending over backwards to placate a marginal, ideological fringe is ridiculous. But the South has a past. This country has a past when it comes to race relations—it has an ugly past.

As a fellow American, all I’m asking is for you to walk in the other person’s shoes for a time. And if this becomes law, that you take some nice old black lady who doesn’t walk very well and who remembers more than you, to the office to get her card.

Posted by: Tim Crow at July 16, 2006 5:07 PM
Comment #168102

Tim Crow
Your right. I live in Georgia. I’m a native Georgian. I was a kid in the 50’s and saw the racism first hand.
I’ve seen Black men beaten in the street because they looked a White person in the face. I’ve seen pregnant Black women kicked to the ground because she didn’t move out of the way of a White person fast enough. I saw the segregated gas station restrooms. And the ones for Black weren’t label very nicely.
Our Black neighbor was hung when I was 10 because he walked into his employers barn and caught the man’s wife naked with another neighbor. He was hung because he saw a White women naked.
I’ve seen it just like you. But I wasn’t raised that way. I was raise to believe that we are all equal in the eyes of God and as such are to be treated as equals. I had my mouth washed out with soap when I was around seven because I said the N word and Momma heard me.
I’m not a racist but I do have a problem with anyone regaurdless of race, creed, or other being able to say they’re anyone and being allowed to vote. I believe that everyone should prove they are who they say they are.
As for taking a Black person to get an ID card goes I’d do it if they asked. I’ve given them rides to the polls so they can vote, even when I know they won’t vote the way I do. It’s every Americans right to vote. I won’t stand in their way. Just as long as they can prove they’re really who they say they are.

Posted by: Ron Brown at July 16, 2006 9:32 PM
Comment #168122

Ron:

Thank you for your post.

Posted by: Tim Crow at July 16, 2006 11:32 PM
Comment #168160

Tim, I understand your pessimism and cynicism. But, I have to counter that as long as we the people have the vote, and use it, hope for positive change lives.

The people must also start voting out election commissioners who allow the Diebold unaccountable machines in their districts and states. Something to add to my todo list of things voters must begin taking responsibility for.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 17, 2006 4:59 AM
Comment #168243

David:

I honor your tenacity, and I appreciate your efforts.

I sometimes wonder if my frustration is a cop-out for not doing anything at all.

I am thrashing around, trying to find a crack in the wall, so that I can inch my own personal wedge in there and try to make a difference.

My natural inclination is to think nationally—but I think the biggest difference I can make now is to act locally. Election protection and reform is an area I feel strongly about. But, above all, I am committed to economic justice. Its a subject that has grabbed a hold of me, and it won’t let go.

Posted by: Tim Crow at July 17, 2006 1:51 PM
Comment #168287

Why I reluctantly agree that the ID law is inappropriate, at least for the time being (perspectives from a student in Atlanta):

1. Many people living in the City of Atlanta who are poor or elderly either lack transportation or are dependent solely on public transportation. Unfortunately, there are no locations for obtaining IDs within the city limits, causing the need to travel a long distance during working hours to obtain an ID.

2. Voter fraud is not a major problem in GA. The only type of voting showing any signifigant levels of fraud is Absentee Ballotting, something this legislation does not address or solve.

3. There currently aren’t even as many ID issuing establishments as there are counties in GA causing more people to need to travel during working hours to obtain ID cards.

Honestly, I don’t know how people function without some sort of gov’t issued picture ID, but apparently enough do that this bill would disenfranchise a significant portion of the electorate. This disenfranchisement may not be direct, but giving people the added burden of acquiring an ID in a state that makes it a challenge constitutes an indirect burden on voters.

Increase the availability of IDs, however, and this argument becomes moot.

Posted by: LXIX at July 17, 2006 5:36 PM
Comment #168411

LXIX
There is a drivers license office in Atlanta.
450 Capitol Ave SE.
A check of the office locations by code shows that no one in Atlanta is more than 8 miles from a drivers license service center. Compare that to 14 mile to Valdosta for me. And most poor folks here have at least an ID card.
Most the offices are outside of Atlanta. But I’ll bet Marta goes by or with in a couple of blocks of most of them.
You mention that the poor can’t get to an office very easy. I find that interesting as they can get to the welfare office easily enough.

Posted by: Ron Brown at July 18, 2006 12:10 AM
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