Comments of the Week: Voter ID Laws, Ayn Rand and the Rights of Transgender People

Each week

Storified by The Nation · Fri, Aug 17 2012 12:53:25

Each week we highlight some of our readers’ best critiques,questions and comments. Using the platform Storify, we pull from Twitter,Facebook and our own comment threads. Let us know what you think–in thecomments!

In response to Ben Adler’s “Paul Ryan Doesn’t Follow Ayn Rand on Civil Liberties,” our readers had a lot to say on Paul Ryan’s love for (some of) the beliefs of Ayn Rand.  
Michael Wiles: 
Well, they both took public assistance benefits, so there’s that….The Nation Magazine
R. Joseph Owles: 
Why wouldn’t Republicans treat Ayn Rand the way they treat Jesus, the Bible, and Reagan–only highlight the few portions they agree with and pretend the rest doesn’t exist?The Nation Magazine
Shanny Longlegs: 
@thenation …Ayn Rand? Seriously?! He and my 8th grade cousin should talk "mediocre political conceptualization" literature sometime.Shanny Longlegs
This is the second analysis I have read that attempts to show Ryan is not really a Randian (the previous was a recent Times op-ed). Why try and make him more attractive to moderates ? Let’s take him at his word, that Rand is his lodestar — the reason he got into politics — everyone in his office must read her, etc. etc. It fits perfectly with the bleak, selfish world he has been working to achieve.Paul Ryan Doesn’t Follow Ayn Rand on Civil Liberties | The Nation
After Ari Berman and Brentin Mock reported on a Pennsylvania judge’s decision not to block that state’s voter ID law, readers discussed the suspect motives of Republicans who claim to be combatting “voter fraud.” 
I find it exceedingly curious that it took nearly 225 years of statehood, with no such strictures as those currently being proposed on its citizens’ voting rights, for Pennsylvania to reach the startling conclusion that in-person voter fraud suddenly represents a major threat to the integrity of its election process. Equally curious is that a number of other states have experienced that same epiphany at approximately the same point in time. And even more curious is the fact that in all the states concerned, those rushing to rectify this grievous oversight all share, coincidentally, of course, a markedly similar political outlook. So, I suppose we all should assume an excess of enthusiasm on the part of Mark Turzai  (R-PA) which led to his comment that the voter ID law was "gonna allow Governor Romney to win the State of Pennsylvania," and not infer that the various voter ID or similarly intentioned laws which have recently appeared have any such motive behind them..Partisan Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Wrongly Upheld by Court | The Nation
Stephen Graff: 
The Republican Party claims that it wants to get government out of the lives of every day Americans but it doesn’t have a problem infringing in the exercise of that most basic of rights–the the right to vote–by setting up a state apparatus, a bureaucracy within the bureaucracy to attempt to process and systematically suppress the voting eligibility of citizens who, for the very first time in their lives, will not be permitted to engage in the greatest exercise of a citizen in a democracy.  For what purpose? To stamp out an epidemic of voter fraud that is among the great manufactured myths of histrionic republicans? No.  To prevent Obama from taking Pennsylvania in the upcoming election?  Yes.  An orchestrated effort in a bought and paid for election. A republican legislator admitted as much.In Wake of Voter ID Ruling, Pennsylvania Rep Pushes Myth of Voter Fraud | The Nation
In response to Jessica Valenti’s “All in the Family: Is Blood Thicker Than Politics?” many readers shared moving stories about their own political disagreements with relatives. 
Mary Carroll: 
I still remember the Christmas (sometime in the late ’80s, after my parents had died) when my aunt (my mother’s sister) remarked that she just couldn’t understand how anyone could be pro-abortion.  Slowly and respectfully, my sister and I tried to explain that no one on the face of the earth thinks that having an abortion is a terrific way to spend an afternoon, but that, for some women in some circumstances, having an abortion is sometimes the best choice among a set of less than ideal choices.  That, of course, was long before talk radio and Fox New Channel, so we were able to have a halfway sensible conversation.  I’m not sure that could happen today….All in the Family: Is Blood Thicker Than Politics? | The Nation
Terrific article. I relate to it quite a bit. Several of my older relatives, including my mother, went to the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and bragged about it, including to me. They know that I’m bisexual and married to another woman. If they’d gone July 31st or August 2, I’d think they just craved chicken, but the message was so unmistakable that night. My wife and I had dithered on whether we’d like to skip Christmas with the family and go watch our favorite NHL teams play in Pittsburgh instead. My relatives made the decision quite easy the night of August 1st. While my mother has since apologized, her siblings have doubled down. We’re going to Pittsburgh. If there’s a NHL lockout, we’re staying home, saving our money and vacation time, and enjoying how beautiful NYC looks decorated for the holidays. *Nothing* will convince us to go to my aunt’s house. We feel welcome in the sense that a pair of 10-point bucks would feel welcome at an NRA convention. I love my cousins and respect that my aunts raised them. I love my older relatives deep down. I want to get along with them and be able to have a discussion with them again. I want to remember the good things and have Christmas or Thanksgiving with them. However, I’m disgusted that they believe Fox News personalities and easily discredited e-mail forwards over me, someone they claim to know and love. I feel welcome to cook, but not sit at the table. And I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way. Thanks, right-wingers. Great "family values" there.All in the Family: Is Blood Thicker Than Politics? | The Nation
In response to Dr. Zahid Bukhari’s “Attacking Shariah, Attacking Religious Freedom,” Mistral Myers pointed out the hypocrisy of many of those looking to pass laws banning Shariah law. 
@thenation I wonder what would happen if Muslim-Americans tried to ban "Biblical law" or laws inspired by the Bible? #ridiculousMistral Myers
Finally, reader Jessica Bussert responded to Marisa Carroll’s “What the Affordable Care Act Means for Transgender People.” 
Dear Publishers and Staff of "The Nation", I’ve just finished reading "What the Affordable Care Act Means for Transgender People", written by Marisa Carroll for your August 14, 2012 online edition.  Ms. Carroll’s grasp of the issue and her powerful writing style helped to bring light to a very important subject. I am a nurse currently working in the emergency department of a small regional hospital.  I am also a gender variant woman who has experienced first-hand many of the challenges presented in this article.  Even though I care for others on a daily basis I am denied many aspects of care simply because of my gender history. Every single day in hospitals all across America people abuse the system.  Drug-seekers come in droves claiming fake illnesses just to access narcotics.  Others call an ambulance to race them to the ER for a stubbed-toe or a splinter removal. People arrive in the ER for a stuffy nose in hopes that we’ll write them a prescription for Benadryl so Medicare will pay for it.  Each of these are actual examples of abuses that occur on a daily basis across the nation. That said, two months ago when a trans friend of mine needed an emergency gallbladder surgery she was denied care so long that the organ became gangrenous.  The reason for the delay?  The surgeon on call wouldn’t operate on her. Unlike previous civil rights movements in America we don’t have the numbers to mount a "Million Person March" on Washington.  Whenever we do assemble you can bet that the Right will be there in force to mock and ridicule us while their puppet media will focus all their attention on the most outrageous of the participants.  The sad fact is that as a group we have no voice, no power, and no rights. For any meaningful change to ever take place we need the help and support of those who are brave enough and strong enough to take a stand for what is just.  By helping to tell our story, Ms. Carroll and The Nation did just that. Thank you, Jessica BussertWhat the Affordable Care Act Means for Transgender People | The Nation