(The following information comes from the May 20, 2001 edition of the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC. I can't give you a link, as her website launches right into the video without providing a link to the story. If you are interested, click the link below about the voter fraud bill moving ahead.)
I think anyone who cares about what is going on in American politics right now is probably aware of what is happening in Wisconsin. The governor there, once elected, declared war on public unions. The legislature there pulled some fast ones and pushed the laws through, even though the Democrats tried everything, including leaving the state, in order to stop the Republicans. All of this was supposed to be because of the grave “financial crisis” the state found itself in. Of course, the crisis was not so grave that the governor couldn’t afford millions of dollars in tax breaks for corporations and the upper 2%. This is all very much in line with what Republicans are doing all over the country, of course.
The latest effort by the Republicans in Wisconsin is to pass laws, which they have done, that make voting a LOT more difficult that it had been. Photo I.D. will now be required at polling stations, even though that had never been a requirement in the past. You might think that might not be that bad. But apparently, it must be a very specific kind of photo I.D. Students are allowed to vote, but the I.D. offered by every single public college and university in the state does not meet these new standards. Retirees will probably not have these I.D.’s If someone is going to vote by mailing in their ballots, they will have to include a photo copy of their I.D. (which makes no sense to me, given that the person will not actually be present for anyone to check their face against the picture on the I.D.). There are a lot of other restrictions, of course. The estimate that Rachel gave was that this affects around 20% of the voting population of the state. It will cost the state millions of dollars to implement and millions of dollars each time there is an election, at a time where the state supposedly is in the grasp of that “financial crisis” we heard tell about. And all of this is to combat a problem, “voter fraud” that absolutely no one can prove is really a problem.
Take a guess as to which political party that the elderly, students, new voters, and those of ethnic heritage usually vote for? That’s right. Correct. Democrats. THAT is what is behind this. It is not about “voter fraud.” It is not about anything other than an absolute power grab. They know that their attempts to crush unions is not popular with the voters and that there is now a special recall election scheduled for, I believe, something like six Republicans who voted for that bill. Republicans know that the public is not happy with their agenda, especially since they didn’t mention ANY of this in their campaigns. That was all about jobs and bashing Democrats for how bad the economy is. So where did this come from? Many in Wisconsin, right now, are having severe cases of buyer’s remorse. They didn’t vote for this kind of crap, they didn’t see it coming. I don’t blame them for being upset. I do blame them for not looking into the matter of the Republican agenda, both stated and unstated, before casting their votes.
Look at what other headlines there are about Republicans and Wisconsin right now.
Wisconsin governor threatens to call National Guard on state workers (Somewhat old now, but still gives you an idea of how Gov. Walker operates.)
Bill would extend bargaining restrictions to police, firefighters
Walker gives himself more power to fill high state jobs
Assembly votes to give Walker veto over administrative rules
Wis. Secretary of State duties stripped (Who was the last Democrat in the state holding a high office, of course.)
Amid rancor, voter-ID bill moves to Senate
So, do Republicans start changing how they vote and back off on this attack on institutions that have been around for decades to be more in line with what Wisconsinites really would like? No, of course not! That is not how the current Republican Party does things! They have their agenda and they are going to stick to it. It doesn’t matter what everyone else wants. They want to destroy all the social programs and everything else that government currently does that they don’t like. And they will do this in any manner they can. It doesn’t matter if their actions are unethical, immoral and sometimes possibly illegal. The end justifies the means, in all cases. It doesn’t matter to them. They are so enamored of themselves at this point that they truly think they are superior to everyone else and they will crush all opposition. Rigging elections is just one of the tools in their toolbag. Yeah, so what if a lot of people are unhappy with how they govern? If those same people who aren’t happy also can’t vote, then that’s all to the good, right?
When I heard this story, I was just so disgusted. I have said this many times before on this blog. I really do not understand how these people live with themselves. What they are doing isn’t democracy. It isn’t freedom. Their actions are remarkably similar to other groups of people attempting to hijack government. I won’t mention any names, as then I would open myself up to criticisms about Godwin’s Law and other such “How dare you make that comparison!” self-righteous indignation.
This is what I was referring to in my last blog entry about being very fearful if these types of Republicans ever get total control over the government. They will never willingly let it go. Democracy, at that point, will be no more. Do you think that is hyperbole? I don’t. Just look at what is going on in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Florida. That is the future of the entire country if Republicans ever take control again. They already have the Supreme Court stacked, such that any appeals there will not be supported. We see how Republicans operate in both Congress and the White House. Put all of those different legs of government, the ones that are supposed to be the “checks and balances” against abuse of power by the others, under control of Republicans and you will get Wisconsin multiplied by about 10,000.
I know that many voters are not happy with Democrats and with President Obama. I am not terribly happy either about a number of things. I really thought President Obama would be able to change how things worked in Washington. Sure, Democrats have passed Healthcare Reform. It isn’t what progressives wanted and we all thought Dems kept caving to Republican demands that weren’t even made in good faith. But, even with its flaws, that piece of legislation is still quite an achievement. Democrats have been trying to do something along those lines since Truman. But there is a lot of stuff I am unhappy with. We did not close Gitmo. We refused to investigate the abuses of the Bush presidency. The rich and powerful are still quite in control. Dems aren’t standing up for unions, which are really the only organized support that the Democratic Party has these days.
I can see why people might not want to vote for Democrats. They seem spineless and are willing to let Republicans run over them without anything more than a weak, “Hey, that wasn’t nice!” But I will tell you something. If people are thinking that they will either not vote or vote for Republicans as some sort of symbolic gesture, don’t. Please don’t. Do not hand control of both the House and Senate to the Republicans. Do not give the White House to one of those idiots (with possibly the exception of John Huntsman) who make up the list of contenders. Don’t even vote Republicans for your local and state offices. Republicans do things differently once they are in office than what they said they were going to do on the campaign trail. I don’t care how nice they seem. Republicans lie. They will do anything to get their way. Go do some research into Wisconsin and you will see what the country will look like if that happens.
These people are monsters.
Update: Here's more detail from Parsley's Pics.