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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Republican War on Freedom

Trash cans marked 'VOTE HERE'
Conservatives can put away their three-cornered hats now, we're on to them. They aren't patriots. They're the opposite. For those of you unclear on the concept, patriotism is not demagoguery over stupid little flag pins. Patriotism is standing up to defend the concepts of freedom, fairness, justice, and democracy, among others. The nation will never stop being free as the result of someone hanging the flag wrong. It will cease to be free when the flag becomes more important than the democracy it represents. There is no free country that is not a democracy, so it stands to reason that the enemies of freedom are the enemies of democracy.

And Republicans are the enemies of democracy.

Associated Press:

When Edward and Mary Weidenbener went to vote in Indiana's primary in May, they didn't realize that state law required them to bring government photo IDs such as a driver's license or passport.

The husband and wife, both approaching 90 years old, had to use a temporary ballot that would be verified later, even though they knew the people working the polling site that day. Unaware that Indiana law obligated them to follow up with the county election board, the Weidenbeners ultimately had their votes rejected - news to them until informed recently by an Associated Press reporter.

Edward Weidenbener, a World War II veteran who had voted for Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential contest, said he was surprised by the rules and the consequences.

"A lot of people don't have a photo ID. They'll be automatically disenfranchised," he said.


Think about that, the Weidenbener's legal votes were thrown away and they were never informed. They could spend the rest of their lives casting provisional ballots in every election, only to have those votes later ash-canned and them none the wiser. If you wanted to hide the fact that legal voters were being disenfranchised -- and wanted to hide it from those very legal voters -- this is exactly how you'd do it.

There is no doubt that Republican voter ID laws are about disenfranchising voters. This is a war on Americans' most fundamental right to vote. And the purpose is to subvert democracy. "[Voter ID laws] could throw the election," says journalist Ari Berman. "[T]he states that have passed restrictive voting laws account for 214 electoral votes, nearly 80 percent of what is needed. We’re talking about very, very significant swing votes -- swing states, like Pennsylvania, like Florida, like Wisconsin."

When the voting population is manipulated to produce a predetermined result, that's not free and fair elections. Free countries don't do that. That's a sham election -- and sham elections aren't held by freedom-loving people.

The Associated Press story tells us, "As more states put in place strict voter ID rules, an AP review of temporary ballots from Indiana and Georgia, which first adopted the most stringent standards, found that more than 1,200 such votes were tossed during the 2008 general election."

It then goes on to point out that, "As part of its effort to build support for voter ID laws, the Republican National Lawyers Association last year published a report that identified some 400 election fraud prosecutions over a decade across the entire country. That's not even one per state per year." What they don't mention is that a lot of the voter fraud the RNLA found was vote buying or double voting -- which wouldn't be stopped by voter ID laws at all. So the argument is even weaker than the AP suggests.

But consider the impact; 1,200 votes thrown out in just two states, in order to fight crimes that amount to "not even one per state per year" -- and many of those wouldn't be stopped by these laws anyway. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water. "Several election administrators, even those who support ID laws as a barrier to potential fraud, said the rejected ballots in their counties appeared to be legitimate voters who simply did not fulfill their ID obligations," the AP reports.

Free nations don't throw legal voters' ballots in the trash. And lovers of freedom don't cheer that act on. It's not demagoguery to say that Republicans do not love freedom and, therefore, do not love America. Because they're demonstrating their disdain for the principles of democracy, fairness, and freedom on a daily basis.

It's about time they started to get called out for it. Because identifying the enemies of freedom is a necessary step in stopping them. And if we don't stop them, we can kiss democracy goodbye.


[photo credit: Wonkette]

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