There's only one reason anyone or any people adhere to fair elections within a democratic umbrella for determining who will govern: The alternative risks bloody upheaval, and as John Bradford observed while observing a condemned prisoner being carted to the scaffold, "There but for the grace of God goes John Bradford."
You can never know for sure when YOU might be among those tossed out, and it's much healthier on the neckline that the change in political fortunes occur via the ballot box.
Remove fairness and removed is the rationale for not taking to the streets; angry, armed, and seeking opponents to terminate "with extreme prejudice."
The manipulating hands of the Democratic Party have not been always clean; mid-twentieth century Chicago being perhaps the most notorious example of just how corrupt corrupt boss rule can be. Over the ensuing years, the GOP has become exquisitely more sophisticated, burying the underlying notion of clean beneath layers of the most patently disingenuous and foul-smelling self-righteous garbage. Legislation requiring the presentation of a government issued photo-ID at the polling place, all to thwart voter fraud, is the most supreme example of what I'm talking about here.
January 9, this year, I posted the following:
"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. (click here 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.)
Yesterday, the Republican United States Supreme Court upheld the lie. To "Of course I'll still love you in the morning," "The check is in the mail," "We feel you'd be happier working for some other company," add "It's to eliminate voter fraud."
Perhaps what I loathe most about the GOP's efforts in the Court and in those states and others is the insult: I'm so utterly stupid that they can tell me anything, no matter how obviously outrageously nonsensical, and I'll believe it.
News bulletin to the GOP: I'm not.
Look, if Republicans really gave a gnat's piss about election "fraud" they'd be up in arms, coming down hard on (A.) "caging," (B.) on the voter-roll purgings that transpired in 2000, 2004 and 2006, and (C.) the sudden and mysterious disappearance of tens of thousands to perhaps as many as hundreds of thousands of cast ballots - all of which occurred in Democrat-leaning precincts! They would raise a hue and cry about the firing of the US Attorneys who were fired only because they did not "yas-suh, yas-suh" and bake the cases against targeted Democrats. Now those were clearly cases of trying to rig and successfully rigging the electoral process. But I'll tell you: their silence there is oh so telling.
The reasons these tactics are dangerous to all our health are two. One, it's divisive. It splits us into very cacophonous and hostile factions at exactly the moment when the extraordinarily complicated difficulties facing us require us to be calm-headed and contemplative in pursuit of equitable solutions. Two, taken much farther, to the streets in quest of economic, legal, and political justice may well be perceived by some or many as their only remaining available remedy. And do not forget that violently to the streets is enshrined in our Declaration of Independence as a legitimate path, when all others can be seen as exhausted.
Let's bottom-line this, okay. Your Republican relatives and associates, ethically, are bottom-dwelling slime. Want proof? If and when they suggest, "Everyone does it, Democrats are just as guilty," ask them for the first scintilla of evidence. Do not permit them to take you back to the 60s and before, in the South. Those Democrats are all 100% Republicans today! Rather, who was responsible for the Willie Horton ad? Who painted triple amputee, Vietnam War hero, Max Cleland, as insufficiently American? Who sent the rumors flying through South Carolina that Senator John McCain was some philandering sire of a black child? Who stridently accosted all who raised questions concerning the wisdom of invading Iraq as unpatriotic, cut-and-running, un-American cowards? Who developed "caging" and voter-roll purging as political strategies? How did "swiftboating" become the name given to a scurrilous political tactic, and who was responsible for it? And specifically what Democratic Party strategies can they suggest are somehow equivalent?
The most consequent question I ask is, unless the political climate changes rather soon, how far are we from settling our differences violently in the streets, rather than by a ballot box that seeks to be genuinely inclusive, as opposed to excluding?