Skip to main content

Today in Pennsylvania, our Republican-controlled state legislature passed a voter-ID law designed to disenfranchise democrats. Republicans know that many low-income democrats lack the forms of ID that the law requires. Of course, the Rs want to knock them out so Obama loses Pennsylvania in November.

452px-Jim_Crow_Jubilee_(Boston_Public_Library)
Jim Crow Jubilee
The concept that the law seeks to prevent voter fraud is an insult to our collective intelligence. It is also a baseless and incendiary indictment of the integrity and character of low-income voters everywhere. As we all know, the model for these voter-suppression laws came out of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative think-thank whose founder, Paul Weyrich, explained to a group of religious leaders: "I don't want everybody to vote... our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

Last year I had to get my son a non-driver's picture ID from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The process took hours and hours even though we had all the required paperwork at hand. Make no mistake: literally thousands and thousands of voters will not be able to meet the requirements to get photo IDs without overcoming tough, time-consuming barriers. The Right is counting on the strong likelihood that many Democrats will just give up. This dagger through the heart of democracy in our state is an outrageous, illegal and unconstitutional abuse of power.The gloves are off and have been for some time. This is how it is now in America: The Right has no interest in policy discussions and convincing people through peaceful dialogue that their candidates have better ideas. Forget about reasoned discourse. Instead they have chosen the politics of naked aggression and brute force. Here's what the Republicans are saying: Hey you, poor people and people of color, we don't like how you vote. So here's what we're going to do. We're going to insult your integrity. We're going to legislatively punch you in the face and knock you out of the ballot box. We're going to erect harsh legal barriers to your civic participation and use the muscle of our government to dominate you and minimize your voice in the political process.

We have to look in the mirror and ask ourselves a serious question. Are we going to lie down and take this??? I say, to hell with that. Below the fold I offer a specific idea about how to fight back. We need to move beyond complaining and demonstrating to strategic action. We need to use this stark injustice to gain momentum.

Democrats must respond to voter suppression by organizing the biggest voter registration and GOTV campaign in American history. The campaign will not only register voters. It will not only make sure they have IDs. It will go further: Educate them about exactly how this latest right-wing assault on low-income voters fits into the sordid history of voter suppression. Help the disenfranchised become passionate, life-long voters who never sit out another election.

Painstaking political organizing at the grassroots level is the only effective cure for what ails us at this moment. Our strategy:

1. We use their own voter suppression law against them as an organizing platform, connecting the act of voting in this specific election to the Civil Rights movement itself, showing that the tactics and purposes of their voter suppression law are the same as those used after the Civil War to suppress the votes of poor minorities.  

2. The new Pennsylvania law allows voters to use student IDs issued by accredited public and private higher learning institutions. We can use this to our advantage. We find an academic partner to create a short course -- a fifteen minute viral video about the history of voter suppression in America and the importance of political participation. The course will help citizens learn about the injustice of laws that make it more difficult for people to vote. Under the auspices of our accredited higher learning partner, people who register for the course will receive Student IDs that allow them to vote. They might look something like this. Those who complete the course will become instructors who pass on the course to others, issuing additional Student IDs in the process. This system will become viral as the course encourages waves of citizens to get their IDs, make plans to vote, and reach out to yet other voters who need IDs. We must develop an online strategy for this component and also employ a network of community-based partners: churches, CBOs and small businesses. In every state that has these laws, we need a viral campaign to get people their IDs that frames the act of getting your ID and voting in this specific election as an act of protest against those who would suppress the vote.

3. In this way we will transform a Republican-led attack using the nuclear missile of voter suppression into the biggest voter turnout in history. I want a T-shirt that says, "The Republicans tried to take away my vote, and when I voted, I told them to go to hell." Or maybe, "I'll give up my vote when you can take it from my cold, dead hands." Or substitute other appropriate words to express your anger at this outrageous attempted injustice.

Listen: It's not enough for us to be pissed off and rant. We can't just wail and march about this. It is time to act: swiftly, decisively, effectively.

We cannot stand by and do nothing while the Republicans turn our legislative process into a flagrant instrument of oppression.

Nietzsche: What does not kill me makes me stronger.

Gandhi: Be the change you want to see in the world.

King: No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

7:10 PM PT: Thanks so much to all who recommended... this is my first visit on the recommended list!

7:14 PM PT: I have a meeting with a University President Sunday night to pitch the idea; wish me luck.

Originally posted to DavidMCastro on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 12:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by State & Local ACTION Group, Your Government at Work, and Philly Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

dstein, Pat K California, JekyllnHyde, Alumbrados, vicki, CJB, Upper West, hannah, filkertom, hester, teacherken, SaveDemocracy, mickT, Geenius at Wrok, Joan McCarter, lost, Shockwave, eeff, xynz, SallyCat, musicsleuth, bookbear, linc, regis, joynow, bronte17, missLotus, KibbutzAmiad, BPK, Bionic, shanikka, JPZenger, Aquarius40, chimpy, roses, bwren, fumie, Iberian, Cedwyn, aitchdee, revsue, edrie, Nag, nancelot, sockpuppet, Kamakhya, NYFM, 42, Steven Payne, lcrp, Lilith, outragedinSF, zerelda, Curt Matlock, Emmy, vacantlook, Armand451, Gowrie Gal, sb, maybeeso in michigan, historys mysteries, Bluesee, PBen, kuvasz, juliesie, kiri, Brooke In Seattle, Laurence Lewis, boofdah, owlbear1, Viceroy, where4art, Ice Blue, Hastur, Bob B, petestern, Aint Supposed to Die a Natural Death, peacestpete, Mother Mags, BachFan, WB Reeves, tarheelblue, Clytemnestra, edwardssl, tobendaro, Son of a Cat, fou, Alexandra Lynch, MJ via Chicago, gpoutney, jerseyjo, Crashing Vor, JVolvo, Dinclusin, onionjim, CA Nana, Texdude50, blueoregon, kurious, Bernie68, Little, Pandoras Box, AntKat, old wobbly, FlamingoGrrl, Polacolor, donnamarie, jessical, AdamSelene, ninkasi23, crankyinNYC, gloriana, edsbrooklyn, Matt Z, Dave in Northridge, certainot, bnasley, RosyFinch, martyinsfo, Oreo, citydem, uciguy30, spearfish, trueblueliberal, gizmo59, Mighty Ike, JDWolverton, MKinTN, davidseth, wayoutinthestix, Sixty Something, Brian76239, Involuntary Exile, bythesea, elwior, Laughing Vergil, ajr111240, lineatus, jamess, Therapy, mikeconwell, Lujane, dewley notid, petulans, MarkVA71, slathe, GrannyOPhilly, shortgirl, vmdairy, maggiejean, prettygirlxoxoxo, pileta, Rhysling, greengemini, bondibox, Don Enrique, maryabein, janmtairy, Tara the Antisocial Social Worker, h bridges, CamillesDad1, Obama Amabo, virginwoolf, Denise Oliver Velez, Shelley99, Northern Light, sfarkash, Knarfc, jfromga, astral66, PittsburghPete, Nannyberry, Larsstephens, Amber6541, commonmass, politik, BenderRodriguez, freeport beach PA, PLGwannaB, Otteray Scribe, eclecta, Oh Mary Oh, nosleep4u, soaglow, theKgirls, PaDemTerry, kerflooey, Dretutz, spooks51, Bob Duck, lady blair, jardin32, cv lurking gf, asterkitty, OhioNatureMom, kevin k, lillyspad, deeproots, gravlax, princesspat, Ebby, boophus, marleycat, soysauce, Cinnamon, CritThink, BarackStarObama, CherryTheTart, worldlotus, UtopianPablo, enhydra lutris, MuskokaGord, gnbhull, organicus, chira2, Liberal Mole, StateOfGrace, Oilwellian, RockyMtnLib, SteelerGrrl, Book of Hearts, caryltoo, longtalldrink, hulibow, ridemybike, Liberal Granny, RhodaA, Chrislove, Siri, teachered, IndieGuy, AnnieR, a2nite, Deep Texan, congenitalefty, Horace Boothroyd III, This old man, MartyM, BRog, notdarkyet, wxorknot, Victim of Circumstance, Kinak, FrY10cK, Glen The Plumber, CalBearMom, Lizabet, allensl, GoGoGoEverton, blueoldlady, Chaddiwicker, nomandates, countwebb, GwenM, bob152, Smoh, DaisiesnDaffodils

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site