The Purge

Readers of my blogs will know better than most that there is a movement afoot in this country to disenfranchise those who might vote “the wrong way.” The “wrong way” is defined as voting in opposition to those who decide what criteria voters must meet in order to vote — for their candidates. It begins with photo IDs which are now required in a number of states, and now has spread, in Florida, to the movement to purge “illegals.” A Yahoo story recently gave us some of the details that highlight the governor’s push along with the disappointing number of people who seem eager to follow along.

By a margin of 60 percent to 35 percent, registered voters surveyed by Quinnipiac University’s Polling Institute say they back the state voter purge, which has been legally challenged by the Justice Department for appearing to violate the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act. The American Civil Liberties Union has also filed a lawsuit to stop the effort.

Governor Rick Scott of Florida is a Republican, of course. I say “of course” because I am not aware of any Democrats who are eager to purge the voting ranks of undesirables. But if there are they are subject to the same sort of contempt that Rick Scott has coming. The problem is, of course, to decide who the “illegals” are and who it is that determines who they are. I dare say Rick Scott has a plan.

I must admit I have a problem with people who speak derisively of “illegals” because it has always seemed to me that we are all on this continent illegally. There was no political code prohibiting the theft of this nation from the indigenous people; but there were in place at the time numerous moral codes which were ignored. If indeed we all believe we are fortunate to be able to share space on this continent, then we should welcome those who also want to be here — for many of the same reasons we and our ancestors wanted to be here. I always supposed that’s what the inscription on the Statue of Liberty is meant to say:

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

The weak economy has truly brought some nasty creatures out from under the rocks and the mood of the times is one of hatred and suspicion — and deceit. The idea is to grab the White House and control the Congress at any cost, even if we lose our collective soul in the process. The movement to purge voters from the land, along with other “undesirables” is ugly and not worthy of us as a nation of free people. I deplore it even while I find myself helpless to do anything about it — except vent. It would help to think that Florida is an isolated case because we have come to expect these sorts of political games to be played out in that state. But I know better. We should be ashamed of ourselves!

8 thoughts on “The Purge

  1. I have absolutely no patience for efforts aimed at discouraging voting. And this is just another of those. And ALEC has their fingeprints all over this. Thanks for highlighting! By the way, my mother in law came to visit from Argentina last night and we told her about this movement to make it harder to vote and she had such a great point. She said “How can a country that says that democracy is the mots fundamental principle try to stop people from voting?” I love how someone who is not immersed in our culture can reframe things in a way that really changes your perspecttive! Thanks for another great post!

    • Your Mother-in-Law is spot on! It is not unusual for people from another country to point out to us what we take so much for granted. I do think, as Dana says in his comment, this is an attempt to intimidate many who are in this country legally but whose vote would go to the “wrong” party. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  2. There was, at least as American principles are supposed to be lived, a political code and certainly legal documents for how we should have treated the American Indians — the implied code of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is that we were to be a nation of higher moral standing than others and treat others accordingly (yes, I know, many of the Framers were slave owners, but in theory …). The more concrete problem is that the American government in its sundry forms and tentacles signed legally binding treaties with tribes all over the continent and yet shredded them whenever it suited the government’s purposes. The proverbial one-way street partnership that has defined American policy for decades.

    With this Florida thing, illegals would not be able to vote anyway. The rooting around to find illegals among those here legally seems akin to the Jim Crow voter-intimidation actions. Rotten stuff.

    • I think much of the damage (certainly not all) to the native people was done long before the Declaration was written. But it certainly continued long afterwords. I do think the Florida furor is an attempt to intimidate many who are perfectly “legal” but who would vote the “wrong” way — as I said in my comment above. I agree with “news”: I’m opposed to any attempt to discourage eligible voters from going to the polls.

  3. I would equate these to some of the Jim Crow efforts, although that is denied. It seems to be part of a play book to win the game. Yet, when we chip away at freedom, we all lose in the end.

  4. I’m in agreement with the others. Since I happen to live in the state of Florida, last week I went purposely to the courthouse to re-register. I wanted to make sure there will be no funny business when I get to the poll to vote in November,

    • Good for you! I hope others will have your courage, because that’s what it will take. The idea here is obviously to make it as difficult as possible for certain people to vote — namely, those who will vote the “wrong way”!

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