Friday, August 3, 2012

Voter ID Laws

I'm in the middle of yet another fruitless discussion of this issue on Facebook, with the same person I've discussed this with in the past.  I live in Pennsylvania, where the new voter ID law is being challenged in court because it seems that the law is not constitutional, based on the Pennsylvania state constitution.  The lead plaintiff in the case is a 93 year old woman who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., and has voted in every election for the past 60 years.  Her purse, with all her ID, was stolen years ago, and the state can't find her birth certificate, which means she can't get a photo ID.  Which means she can't vote.  Some of the other plaintiffs were born in the Jim Crow south - they've never had birth certificates, because the state where they were born never issued them.

How hard it is to comprehend that voter ID laws, especially the one here in PA, are designed specifically to disenfranchise poor voters, older voters, and black voters?  One of our elected officials here as good as admitted it a few weeks ago!  The very people who created and voted for this law have admitted that there is no evidence of in-person voter fraud, the only kind of fraud this law would prevent.

And when I pointed this out to the person who I'm having the discussion with, the reply was something to the effect of  'with all the voter registration fraud we know about, it's not unreasonable to think that there's been voter fraud."  In other words, with out and out proof that he's wrong, he has to go to a hypothetical situation to 'prove' that the voter ID laws are a good thing.  Because heaven forbid that he ever admit that he's wrong.  If this conversation follows our usual pattern, the comment I just made will never get a reply, because I made a point he can't refute without admitting he's wrong.

And this is exactly the same sort of thing I've seen in many places where discussions on this topic have taken place.  Different people, different places, all spouting the same crap.  Can anyone tell me why?  I think it goes back to what I said in my last post.  Conservatives don't seem to comprehend that the laws they pass effect real, live, flesh and blood people.  And that's just too sad for words.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Just Don't Understand

Recently, I've been called to task on Facebook by family members who think that cutting Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other so-called 'entitlement' programs is the best way to balance the budget. The only entitlement I can see is that people who pay into the system are entitled to expect to see their money come back to them when they reach the correct age.

Now, don't get me wrong - I agree that the budget needs to be balanced. That isn't the part I don't understand. What confuses me is that these people (let's call them...conservatives) seem to think that it's only about the numbers.

When they talk about balancing the budget, it seems that they look at the figures and that's all they see. I look at the figures and I see the people who depend on that money to...oh, wait, what's it called? Live! Without that money, these people can't keep a roof over their heads, can't put food on the table, can't purchase the medications that their lives depend on.

As far as I can tell, people aren't a factor for these conservatives. And I don't understand how anyone can ignore/forget the fact that those numbers represent people. Living human beings. It's like people don't matter to them.

Yes, I know I'm being very general when I talk about conservatives. But I have yet to see one of them say that people matter more a balanced budget, or any of the other things they're up in arms about these days, like abortion, gay rights, reproductive and women's right, etc. And until I do, I reserve the right to generalize.

I love my country, but I'm not blind. It can, and should, do better. But that's never going to happen until the people who are this country become part of the equation.