In today’s Portsmouth Herald, Robert Azzi examines the racist motivation underlying restrictive voter ID laws.
“Harriet Beecher Stowe would return from the grave if she knew that Simon Legree had been resurrected to put uppity blacks back in their place,” he writes, “this time using the ballot box and intimidation rather than the whip.”
Beyond the caricatures of President Obama, beyond the finger-wagging in his face and the cries of “You lie” at the State of the Union Address; beyond the effigies, and the cartoons of watermelon patches on the White House lawn, the 2012 Republican campaign appears to synergistically link the individual interests of conservatives, Republicans and Tea-Partiers, together with racists and bigots, each group with its own separate agenda, to the attempted disenfranchisement of the president.
Azzi documents the flood of restrictive voting laws that have been enacted since 2001 — despite the fact that individual voter fraud is extremely rare. He points out those most likely to be disenfranchised by restrictive voting laws are people of color, the poor, the elderly and the young. And he assails Mitt Romney for his cowardice in not confronting the racists in his party.
I don’t care about his wealth and success. I disagree with him on both economic and foreign policy almost without exception; differences which I can express at the ballot box — if I can get there.
I do care he hasn’t condemned the attempts to disenfranchise voters. I do care that he hasn’t had the courage to separate himself from “birthers,” from climate-change deniers and creationists. I care that he cares more about winning than he cares about truth.
I care that high-tech lynchings, so decried by Clarence Thomas in 1991, have become political weapons of disenfranchisement that threaten to return America to its dark Jim Crow days, and away from the promise of America, where, “All men are created equal.”