Skip to main content

History Repeats, or, Voting Is Just Like Fishing

Today Democracy Now! interviewed Representative John Lewis, 13 term congressman from Georgia and Civil Rights icon They read a quote from his book about the how each progressive movement grows from the previous movement that I want to share:

"Just as Gandhi made it easier for King and King made it easier for Poland and Poland [made it easier] for Ireland [and] Ireland [made it easier] for Serbia [and] Serbia made it easier for the Arab Spring, [and] the Arab Spring made it easier for [the protests in] Wisconsin [and] Occupy."

It contrasts what I've been thinking lately about the voter ID laws. The conservative movement also learns from the previous generation, and they also get better at what they do. During the Civil Rights movement people were shot for registering people to vote, and beaten and arrested when attempting to legally register.

The new generation knows too well that this wouldn't fly (It's not "politically correct"). So the rhetoric now speaks of illegality and those who shouldn't vote because "if you can't get a legal ID you must be up to no good."

Things may not be as bad as on Montgomery of Selma, but codifying ID requirements for voting is not at all different from the IQ and literacy requirements of yore. And we all know how that went.
Whats so clever about the right's new talking points is how nice it sounds on the television. Normal everyday people see nothing wrong in the argument, I mean, they aren't advocating dogs and fire-hoses, they just want to be sure that everything is nice and legal, that when they go to vote they can be sure to have a nice fluffy feeling in their tummy.

One of my conservative friend made a comparison between and ID for voting to a Fishing License, that if he has to show and ID for a "stupid fish" why not for "the most sacred secular thing a citizen can do." Logical right?

Now it is easy for us to deconstruct that argument; that a fishing license is designed as a limit, a hindrance to over fishing and helps fund the policing of said limits. Similarly, voter IDs are a limiting factor, a hindrance to the "sacred act" of voting. Exactly what the Voting Rights Act made illegal.
Interestingly he also mentioned how easy it was to get an ID at the DMV so what's the big deal, while not a few days earlier saying how horrible it would be to get Healthcare at the DMV because those places are terrible and inefficient and hard to deal with. So you see that the place he is coming from is not a logical or well thought out place.

That being said their argument that they are simply trying to protect voting and make certain elections are legal and constitutional, is patently illegal and unconstitutional.

But those designing the rhetoric know that it is harder to deconstruct the "New and Improved Fluffy Legal" argument than the "Violence and Murder to keep Black people from Voting" argument. And they know well that nuance doesn't make good television, especially when pitted against Nice 'n' Fluffy.

Luckily, at least at the moment, there are pretty good people in charge who kinda know about what is legal and constitutional


  1. I see a mother and her 3 children standing in a long line labelled freedom where the electronic sign reads, "Now serving 39" and she's holding a ticket numbered 437.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Old News is Good News

Migrating my websites "news" section to the blog. So here's some old news: Save The World, UPDATE This Machine... I am glad to announce I was awarded Best In Show for my piece, This Machine..., by Off the Wall Gallery's community jury. What makes this a real honor is the overall strength of the show. There are some great artists who came up with a diverse array of answers to the show's theme. It will be up all summer, I encourage you all to go check it out. Save The World I have been accepted into the Off the Wall Gallery's community juried show, How Would You Save the World? Click here for event details and to RSVP. Opening Reception is Thursday, June 9th, 7–10pm at Dirty Franks. 'A' Is for Adjunct Interactive I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of great artists through the United Academics of Philadelphia (AFT Local 9608), including artist and activist Jennie Shanker. She put t

Unacceptable New Normal

While organizing on Temple's campus last semester, the FBI issued a blanket warning for a possible shooter somewhere in the Philadelphia area . The very next day, while driving to one of my Adjunct jobs,  this story  came on the radio, where an actual shooting occurred at the Community College of Philadelphia. As nothing happened the day before, my fears reemerged as I though the previous day's threat could still be in effect. After my initial shock and political indignation over America's irrational gun-boner, I attempted to rationalize away my fear with the fact that I work an hour outside of the city, and the likelihood of my small school in South Jersey falling under the warning was slim to none. But as I prepped for my students' arrival I found myself planning a defense from a shooter, fretting over the fact that my door doesn't lock, the largest barricade large enough is too far across the room, and the window openings may be too slim to escape throug