It’s my personal philosophy not to make politics personal. I may thoroughly despise everything you stand for, but I won’t think of you as a bad person or someone I can’t be friends with; but that tolerance fades for me when your political actions go beyond logical ideological and civic motivation, and instead are designed for power gains over duty and honesty.
My bone to pick is with the Republican all across the country, especially in Wisconsin, for enacting legislation that restricts voting rights. Since the early 2000’s, there’s been a push by the Republican Party to require photo identification or birth certificates at the polls, cut early voting days and hours, eliminate weekend early voting and same day registration. It’s all been in the name of preventing fraud, saving money, or my favorite, “uniformity”.
The Bush administration had the Justice Department conduct a huge investigation into voting fraud in an attempt to justify the voting restrictions and photo ID that Republicans began clamoring for after huge Democratic gains at the ballot box in 2006. They found at most a dozen cases of actual voter fraud ever. Voting fraud is not and never will be a rational crime to commit.
No more than 50-60% of the population of eligible voters in this country vote. That’s not terrible, but it’s pathetic compared to many of our counterparts in other Western industrialized nations with percentages in the high 80’s. We have the audacity to invade nations and depose of governments we don’t like in the name of Democracy and liberty when half of our citizens don’t give a shit about the process we preach. So why in the hell are Republicans doing all of this when they should be working with democrats to encourage more participation and civic engagement? There is no reason to cut voting hours so thousands can’t vote after work, or on the weekends, or days leading up to the election. ANY monetary expense incurred for adequately staffing the polls for convenience and simplicity is the necessary price of exercising a democratic society. No one in the country should have to wait 12 hours or take off work to vote.
The Republican Party is eroding the legitimacy of its entire ideology in the name of cheap political maneuvering that is the most disgusting of all political hack moves given our rocky start on franchising with denying women and minorities the right to vote for the majority of our existence as a “free” nation. There are no credible facts or studies to support voting restrictions, and the naked partisanship demonstrated by these policies will only serve to fire up get out the vote campaigns and counter movements.
It confuses me that instead of trying harder to educate and convince minorities and the poor that their policies are good for them, Republicans are just trying to discourage them from voting. If all of these “patriots” love democracy so much, they should stop trying to make it an exclusive club. If Scott Walker and the other goon Republican governors can gouge their budgets and throw generous corporate tax cuts around like candy, they can afford to provide an adequate election process for the public to hold a fair referendum on their valiant conservative cause. Democracy is a popular government by and of the people, not a government you can buy with tailored districts and voter suppression tactics. Or at least it shouldn’t be.
The thing that baffles me about American politics compared to other systems (take my native British government) is that it’s all about political advantage rather than what politics should be. Democrats vs Republicans and that’s it. Britain’s government is no saint, i agree, but our system isn’t built around who stays longest in power. Whenever I read up on American politics it always seems like the Democrats and Republicans would fight each other rather than actually do anything progressive. I know this is just another European giving his opinion on America and it’s faults, but it’s something that’s been on my mind lately.
American election cycles are much longer and more brutal. Gridlock is the norm lately with such hyper partisan politicians and billions of dollars in campaign funding.I wish we had the more mild nature of the British parliament.