With pain, even today, I recall the struggle to get through the billowing black clouds of smoke that curled ubiquitously heavenwards, staining gray the sky above. But I fought on, coughing, tears cascading down my cheeks; just a few blocks more and I’ll have made it to the CVS pharmacy and the eye drops . . . oh those precious eye drops.
And I also recall, as one Republican after another after another after another marched solemnly to the well of the Senate in support of an amendment that might be preemptive of another such onslaught to my eyes and lungs. “Mr. President (The senator sitting in the elevated chair is called that, and must be addressed as such, wherein actually he or she is the president pro temp.), there is no more important issue before us today than the need to pass the bill before us, to amend the Constitution, to make it a crime to burn the flag of the United States of America.”
That was in 2006. The country that year faced nothing composed of a greater urgency than to put an end to the flag burnings that were blackening America, and preventing me from finding my way to the liquor store.
Also, that same year, Republican after Republican after Republican marched to that very same well, to propound magnificently on the dire need to save every American family from the enticing horrors of gay marriage that threatened our very core. One senator in particular, I recall speaking most eloquently and forceful on the matter: Idaho’s Senator Larry Craig. “Mr. President, I have come before this body to take a wide stance in support of the amendment that will combat the scourge of the spreading gay lifestyle.” I was glued to C-SPAN’s televised coverage that revealed how the senator’s heated eyes bulged and legs quaked with every word.
There were also GOP members of the House that gave similar speeches. But many of them are gone now; in jail or retired, providing them with more time to contemplate the visions of the naked little boys that danced in their heads.
How I long for those halcyon days of yore. It was, alas, so long ago.
Ain’t no secret folks: in the 2006 election, Republicans in the states of Ohio and Florida besmirched the election process with tamperings and roster purgings and failing to count the ballots. Florida’s Fighting 13th, the illustrious seat that once was warmed by Katherine Harris’ shapely derriere, found that 18,000 ballots had somehow gone amiss.
This morning I caught the press conference, held outside the United States Supreme Court by Todd Rokita, Indiana’s Secretary of State, and Karen Handel, Georgia’s Secretary of State. (http://www.cspan.org/VideoArchives.asp?CatCodePairs=,&ArchiveDays=100&Page=2) It was a conference that only a Theodore Geisel, Dr. Seuss, or Stanley Kubric, or George Orwell could confect. These two very white Republicans from very Republican states were commenting on the case they’d presented, the crying need that their respective state laws requiring the presentation by every voter at the polling place, of state issued identification cards, be upheld.
Both claimed that while their state could not produce, as evidence in support of their case, even one instance of voter fraud, that didn’t mean voter fraud — folks going to the polls to cast a ballot on false premises of entitlement to the privilege — wasn’t rampant. In fact, the fact that no case existed both claimed was all the more reason such a law was needed. “We know it’s happening. Just because we can’t prove it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and that it’s not a serious problem. That we can’t prove it is why we need a law that will enable us to find out to what extent the process has been corrupted.” (By the way Number 1, (1.) to be registered to vote, one must present valid identification at the registrar’s office, and (2.) the need for identification is 100% absent for absentee ballots.)
The other side of the coin, however is the surfeit of evidence that demanding presentation of personal identification at the precinct, just prior to voting, negatively impacts minorities and seniors — many of whom no longer drive and do not carry on their persons a drivers license — and either prevents them from voting or so discourages them from doing so that they don’t. By the way Number 2: (1.) overwhelmingly those same folk are identified as registered Democrats, and yes, they have, in large numbers, been obstructed from exercising their franchise; and (2.) it was the refusal of US attorneys to look hard enough, to find evidence of voter fraud, even where none existed, that led the administration to fire nine of them. What is beyond any doubt is that obstructing American citizens from possibly voting is not deemed a criminal activity Republicans feel is worthy of investigation.
Reports describing the questions put by the assembled justices seem to forecast the Republican members of the Court will likely disregard the state’s first essential need to establish it has a “compelling interest,” and find for Indiana.
Whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Senator Obama or John Edwards or some other Democrat, it should be clear why our country simply cannot afford to have in the Oval Office another Republican; especially one who has proclaimed the intent to nominate more “conservative” judges. And every one of the GOP contenders has proclaimed loud and clear his intention, if elected, to name judges to the federal bench in the molds of Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas.