Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Republican operatives who cheat, smear, suppress votes, etc. must have an extremely low opinion of themselves. No longer can they rely upon the real excellence of their candidates or any aspects of their platform beneficial to the public. They obviously don't believe they are good enough to win elections fairly. Thus they plot long-term more and more insidious ways to cheat the American public. Their philosophy is that the end justifies the means and they will stop at nothing to win. I've read that there is a cheating "computer guru" who does it "for the babies." His single-issue devotion to ending abortion rights justifies, in his mind, any method to achieve his end. Yes, a religious fanatic might have gotten us into the horrible mess we're in right now, by rigging the 2004 election. Let's all pray to whatever gods that be, and to any spirit of fairness that can prevail in what was once a democracy we could be proud of, that this election is won by the rightful winner, Barack Obama.

Joan Sutton

San Francisco, CA

Oct 27 2008 - 12:00am

Web Letter

I admit I haven't paid much attention in past years to allegations of voter fraud or voter suppression. But this year's flap about ACORN has forced me to take another look (though no one has convinced me yet that ACORN has done anything wrong). And between what I'm seeing in the news and what I heard from Allen Raymond's appearance on Bill Maher's Real Time, I'm more than concerned, I'm terrified. Mr. Raymond went to prison for something that looked more like an adolescent prank, but was very effective in its purpose. He jammed phone calls in a certain area to stop action centers from encouraging people to vote. He and his cohorts just called the action center numbers over and over and over and essentially overloaded the lines, stopping calls from going out or coming in. As effective as that "prank"was, Mr. Raymond admits that it was just the smallest of tips on the largest of icebergs. His next assertion, that the vast majority of this kind of suppression, designed and implemented by the GOP, was aimed at minorities, specifically blacks, didn't really come as a surprise. African-American voters make up 90 percent of the Democratic vote.

Now, I'm not naïve enough to think that this stuff is all one-sided, but most of the fingers are pointing at the GOP. Mr. Raymond said, and I quote, "I was contracted by the RNC" to carry out this voter suppression. Contracted? Doesn't that imply conspiracy, and if so, where are the people that "contracted" him, and how long were their prison sentences? When asked why Karl Rove didn't share the next cell with him, Mr. Raymond replied, "Oh, he's smarter than me."

I will say on behalf of Mr. Raymond, who has paid his debt to society, that he is to be commended for stepping up when he got caught. He said he drew the line at lying because he had always told his kids not to lie and he wouldn't be a good dad if he didn't fess up.

Shifting gears here for a moment, some years ago I saw a movie where some of the characters were having a political discussion and one said, "You don't really think the vote has any bearing on social change, do you?" I had to admit that I was leaning toward that belief myself. A candidate says one thing to get in office and once he gets his foot in the door, does the opposite of what he said he would do. So did my vote do the good I thought it was going to?

But voter suppression... what the hell is going on? Is it that the GOP doesn't think it can win an election honestly? The Republicans are the first ones to stand up and wave a flag--so why are they essentially trashing the one thing that makes this country great, the vote?

We love to call ourselves the greatest country in the world. If that's the case, and I believe it is, then surely we can find a way to regulate, police and enforce the most important right of all citizens. Now, Mr. Raymond seems like a nice, personable fellow who made a mistake. But he served only five months in prison. It seems to me that if our right to vote is as sacred as we like to believe it is, there should be the stiffest of penalties for anyone or any group that tries, in any capacity, to block or discourage people from voting.

So between wondering if my vote actually does any good at all, and wondering, if I do vote, will it be counted, I must admit to being very discouraged. But my greatest concern is our young people. This stuff happens so much, it looks as if it's "business as usual" in politics. I don't know about you, but I don't want kids seeing people do this kind of thing and getting off with a five-month prison sentence. I want kids to see that if you attempt, in any way, to discourage or block our most sacred right in this country, you will pay a high price.

Samuel Hayes

Oklahoma City, OK

Oct 26 2008 - 10:03am

Web Letter

Do you really think that requiring a photo ID in order to register to vote is no big deal? I recently moved to Montana from Georgia.

I went to the courthouse to get a driver’s license. I thought it was like the old days, or like the last time I got a new state license, where you trade in one valid state license and get another in return. Oh, no! That would be too easy and sensible. Now the federal government has stepped into the arena and screwed everything up for the private citizen. One has to produce proof of residence, a Social Security card and either a passport or a birth certificate. Al Qaeda bombed the United States, and now United States citizens are all suspects. It matters not that I served my country in the armed forces during a time of war. What a stinking pile of horse pucky! Is there nothing the feds can’t make a mess of?

I discovered that there are more hoops to jump through to get a driver’s license these days. The local licensing bureau advised me to go to the online website vitalchek.com to obtain a birth certificate. After filling out two or three pages of info and agreeing to pay $29 by credit card, I was only then warned that I must still submit a signed hard copy application along with a photo ID to the Florida State Office of Vital Statistics--which charges only $14! The website obligingly gave me an address to use in Tennesee. One can download the .pdf file from Florida’s website, but I don’t have a printer at present. So I had to drive twenty-four miles to town, join the local Carnegie Library (not a bad thing) and use their computer, and then mail in the application with a check. Now it will take snail mail time both ways and ten days for processing. It’s a good thing I used the Internet, huh?

John Stephens

Big Timber, MT

Oct 23 2008 - 6:32pm

Web Letter

Forgive me for saying it, but it appears that stealing votes and denying them in presidential elections is--shall we say?--"situational." where liberal outrage is concerned.

In 2004, liberals let the antiwar candidate Ralph Nader fight a combined effort by Democratic Party operatives and Republican law firms with nary a wimper. The ACLU was silent.

For those who have forgotten or never cared, here is my short take on that anti-civil rights campaign: "An Election Day Look at Kerry's Undemocratic War Against the Nader Campaign."

stephen conn

Point Roberts, WA

Oct 23 2008 - 4:15pm

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.