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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/5/12

Strange Fruit Redux?

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2oth century redux, especially if you're an American who happens to be Black, wants to vote in 2012, and lives in a state where the Roveian-Norquist voter suppression strategy has been unleashed.    They'll substitute "fraud" as the operative word.   They'll claim that's what their efforts are all about,... 'nationwide prosecutions for fraud have escalated, therefore, voter ID in all of its legal manifestations must be enacted to preserve the system of Democratically elected representatives.' And Apple Pie.   

Preserve?   That's not what happens when state legislatures enact laws which serve as barriers to the ballot box. It's analogous to pre-1965 deep south polling place efforts to make Black voters guess the number of jelly beans in a bowl, and worse.        

These paragons of the 'democratic way' have broadened their net to assure the purity of voting in America; now, they want seniors and college students to jump through voter ID hoops.   God forbid an eighty year old man or woman gets to vote without first, presenting a driver's license with a picture ID, or an original birth certificate. And, those college students better return home to vote.   You know if they can get phony IDs, they'll do the same to get access to the ballot box. So, no absentee ballots, no slack, nada. Make them go all the way home.   As for those church goers, sorry, you're not getting a break either with longer hours for voting on Sunday at or near your church. And those of you who use absentee ballots, we've got your number too, those ballots are the very essence of liberal plots for fraudulent voting.

From the Bush administration's five-year national "war on voter fraud, " there were only 86 convictions of illegal voting out of more than 196 million votes cast. Of those 86 convictions, only 26 were attributable to individual voters , and most of those were misunderstandings about eligibility. (click here)

What is more, connection to voter fraud in a federal election carries grave punishments, including a $10,000 fine and five years in prison, in addition to any state penalties. This is a risk that very few people are willing to take, particularly for the result of one incremental vote.  

This Roveian-Norquistian guise, this smoke screen is thin and fails to mask capricious hypocisy, blatant racism and the throw back to Billy Holiday's words "Southern trees bear strange fruit; Blood on the leaves and blood at the root; Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze; Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees." That became the ulimate expression of suppression and much more.       

It is during times of economic hardship and deprivation when certain elements of our population need little or no external urging to abuse the civil rights of their fellow citizens who differ only superficially as too age, pigmentation, or economic status.   Introducing the possibility that voter fraud is intended by members of one or more of these disliked groups ignites the long simmering disaffection for that group, ushering in a rush to judgment and pursuit of vigilante justice.

Rove and Norquist share a psychotic hubris as they direct their political objectives along undemocratic paths in the name of democratic principles. Their rationalization, as we view it, is wholly consistent with conservative tactics and strategies coveting power at any cost. Stridently marching with a minority of registered voters they are compelled to confront the opposition's numbers not by encouraging participation in this democratic voting process but rather by creating legal barriers placing the failure to vote on those who become victims of capricious disregard for fairness.   Shifting the onus, Rove and Norquist will claim,  'those people don't vote because they don't want to obey voter ID laws sanctioned by their duly elected representatives.' 

America has a choice.   Strike back and support the simplification of the voting process while maintaining its integrity or remain silent and allow a fascistic minority to determine the longevity of your freedom.   If tens of thousands are disenfranchised by voter suppression how much anger will it take by those victims to spark an epidemic of retaliatory actions and counter actions?      

In 2011, the state of Florida imposed a short deadline for the submission of voter registration forms, with stiff penalties for late filing. [ 1 ] The bill led to the end of voter registration work by one organization, the League of Women Voters, whose spokesperson said, "Despite the fact that the League of Women Voters is one of the nation's most respected civic organizations, with a 91-year history of registering and educating voters, we will be unable to comply with the egregious provisions contained in [this bill]." [ 2 ]  Suppression of Organizations Getting Out The Vote The League will counter in court.

The United States is the only democracy in the world that regularly bans large numbers of felons (over 5 million) from voting after they have discharged their sentences. Many countries including Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Norway, Peru, Sweden, and Zimbabwe allow prisoners to vote (unless convicted of crimes against the electoral system). [13] Some countries, notably the U.K., disenfranchise people for only as long as they are in prison.

This form of vote suppression in the United States disproportionately affects minorities including African-Americans and Latinos.[13]Disenfranchisement of felons and ex-felons is opposed by some as a form of the medieval practice of civil death.[14] 

A Mockery of Democracy

Will this nation be able to avoid the Redux of "Strange Fruit: Hanging from the Poplar Tree?"



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Retired ('92)after working for every Administration since Truman, with the exception of the last 3 administrations. Mainlining golf is a major addiction, along with grandchildren, travel, great books, and the leisure to really absorb it all. A (more...)

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