Archive for the ‘Voter Disenfranchisement’ Tag

If the Bed Sheets Fit, Wear Them.   Leave a comment

SUPPRESSING THE VOTES OF MEMBERS OF MINORITIES

Efforts at voter suppression are underway in 45 of the 50 states in the United States.  Republican legislators are erecting a fortress against changing demographics.

Today, in my state, Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp signed into law a bill that suppresses the votes of members of minorities who vote Democratic.  Kemp, experienced at voter suppression, has denied engaging in voter suppression.  He claims to have improved the security of elections, as well as public confidence in their results.

I have given the Voter-Suppressor-in-Chief of Georgia a piece of my mind.  Tonight, I sent his office an email.  I told Kemp to wear the bed sheets, if they fit.  I also said that going ahead and burning crosses would be consistent with what he has done so far.  Then I signed.  The Grand Dragon, Wizard, whatever, knows where I live and how to contact me.  So be it.

I stand by my words.  I say and write what I mean, and I mean what I say and write.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 25, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Anti-Democratic Politics   1 comment

What do the the military of Myanmar and the dominant wing of the Republican Party have in common?  Both consider elections they lose fraudulent, without evidence.  The military of Myanmar has staged another coup.  The wounds from the Donald Trump-instigated insurrection last January 6 have not healed in the United States of America.  And, in various states, including Georgia, certain Republican legislators, many of them citing discredited conspiracy theories, have launched renewed efforts to make voting more difficult.  When more people voted, Democrats fared better in the election results.  This has scared many Republicans, a host of whom favor rigging the system in their favor.

In a republic, the right to vote should be about as close to sacred as anything in the secular realm.  When more people vote, that is a positive result.  If a particular political party fares worse in the election results when more people vote, that party ought to work on getting more people to vote for it.  That party ought not to make voting more difficult, or to seek to make voting more difficult.  And that party should remain grounded in reality, not embrace discredited conspiracy theories.

I live in Georgia.  

Last year, I did all my voting via absentee ballots, for obvious reasons.  I registered for each ballot online.  My driver’s license number verified my identity.  The voting process was secure.  And, as Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger confirmed, the process was honest.  He pushed back against Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories regarding the elections.  At this weblog, I praised Raffesnsperger for doing so.

That was then.  

As I write these words, there is a Republican effort in the Georgia General Assembly to make voting via absentee ballots more difficult.  Raffensperger supports this effort.

I condemn him for doing so.

In the United States of America, all political parties should be democratic parties.  They should affirm the democratic process.  Sadly, anti-democratic political tactics of today are continuations of a morally unjustifiable tradition.  I think of the Federalist Party, realizing that male immigrants, once they naturalized then registered to vote, overwhelmingly voted Jeffersonian Republican, extending the length of the naturalization process to 14 years via the Naturalization Act (1798).  Being a son of the South, I think also of the Democratic Party in the former Confederacy, starting shortly after the Civil War and extending for the next century or so.  I refer to poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, White primaries, and outright intimidation, mainly.  I understand that the main purpose of these anti-democratic measures was to maintain White supremacy.  

Georgia did something remarkable last January 6.  We sent an African American and a Jew to the United States Senate.  That was astounding, given the long record of racism and anti-Semitism in this state.  We sent an African American and a Jew to the United States Senate because (1) the Democratic Party turned out its voters, and (2) Donald Trump and company depressed the Republican vote with baseless conspiracy theories.

I am a Democrat.  Far be it from me to break up the Republican Party’s circular firing squad.  Yet I, as an American and a patriot, want the other party in a two-party system to be sane and grounded in objective reality.  I want this because that party will win elections some of the time.  In the democratic system, any given political party wins some and loses some.  So be it.  And I want both parties in a two-party system to strengthen and maintain the electoral system and to make voting easier.  

It should be the American way.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 1, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Political Statement–November 8, 2020   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of the United States of America

Image in the Public Domain

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I, as one trained in historical methodology, prefer to think, speak, and write in the past tenses.  This tendency spills over into the rest of my life.  Therefore, when thinking, speaking, and writing of an episode of a completed series, for example, I do so from the perspective of one looking at the past.  I also place that episode in context of that series, for context is key to interpretation.  I know this from my historical training.  This is how I think, speak, and write.  To expect me to do otherwise is to expect me to be someone other than myself.

Many people have attempted to transform me into someone other than myself.  All of them have failed.  They have not transformed me into a fundamentalist, a social-cultural historian, or anything else I find repugnant.  I have maintained my integrity as myself, sometimes at a high cost.  I have decided to accept the advice (ironic within the context of Hamlet),

This above all:  to thine own self be true

And it must follow, as the night the day

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

I have long been reluctant to issue statements about unfolding events.  I have wanted to watch them play out before commenting on them.  I have had opinions, of course.  I have “cussed and discussed” in private.  And I have kept almost all of that between God and myself.

Today, however, I am ready to make the following statements, in no particular order:

  1. I continue to reject debunked conspiracy theories and those who peddle them.  I reject the vast majority of conspiracy theories anyway.  I prefer Ockham’s Razor and have a healthy respect for objective reality.
  2. I reject politicians and pundits (especially Donald Trump and cultists thereof) who lie at least every other time they speak or tweet.
  3. Donald Trump and cultists thereof are menaces to the republic.
  4. Counting votes cast within the scope of the law is crucial to the democratic system.  Doing so is not a threat to that system.  If counting votes in a state in which one’s preferred candidate is winning is okay, so should counting votes in a state in which one’s preferred candidate is losing.
  5. Presidents of the United States of America come and go.  The United States of America persists.
  6. Nobody who uses totalitarian language and tactics (certainly not routinely) is worthy to be the President of the United States of America.
  7. Remember that members of the United States military swear loyalty to the Constitution, not the President, of the United States of America.
  8. As many leading Republicans lament, voter suppression has become a major tactic within that party.  Whenever a political party’s base keeps shrinking, that party’s responsible path forward, for the sake of the country, is to broaden its base, not seek to decrease the number of voters.
  9. The United States of America will be stronger when both major parties accept objective reality, including science, such as that of climate change and COVID-19.
  10. People are entitled to their own opinions, but never to their own facts.  Objective reality is what it is.
  11. The United States of America should have a finely-honed election infrastructure.
  12. Given the Electoral College and the state (Georgia) in which I reside, my vote may count this year–for the only time since 1992, my first Presidential election.
  13. I support the abolition of the Electoral College.  Every vote should count.  I grant that this is easy for me to write, given that the Democratic Presidential nominee has won the popular vote in every election from 1992 to 2020, except for 2004.  I also note that the Democratic Presidential nominee lost the election in 2000 and 2016.  Furthermore, I acknowledge that John Kerry would have become President, despite coming in second place in the popular vote count, in 2005 if he had carried Ohio in 2004.  I try to avoid hypocrisy.  “Every vote should count” is a mater of principle for me.
  14. Bigotry should have no place in electoral politics.  It does, unfortunately.
  15. I have spent most of the last four years tuning out the news most of the time.  My refuges have included cat videos, Bible studies, hagiographies, and science fiction.  I have tuned out most of the news to preserve my spiritual and emotional health.  I may pay more attention to the news on a regular basis soon, if the political atmosphere becomes less toxic.
  16. I stand by every statement I have made about Donald Trump on this and other weblogs I maintain.
  17. I anticipate the administration of President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.  I do not envy them, however.  They have their work cut out for them.
  18. This country and the world will suffer from the effects of the Trump Administration for a very long time.
  19. Whenever a political party becomes indistinguishable from a religious cult, something has gone terribly wrong.
  20. I, as a matter of principle, refrain from participating in a political cult.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 8, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Disenfranchisement in District 6 of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia   Leave a comment

The State of Georgia has disenfranchised the residents of District 6 of the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County.

Until a few weeks ago, my councilman was Jerry NeSmith.  He ran for a third term, and I voted for him.  Why not?  NeSmith was a man who did much to build up the community, especially vulnerable members thereof.  He was, according to his colleagues, a bridge-builder.  And NeSmith was responsive to his constituents.  He even sent out nightly emails about COVID-19/Coronavirus, including the most recent numbers for Athens-Clarke County.  NeSmith died suddenly at home on the weekend before the election.

I understand that a dead man cannot be my representative.  However, I insist the fair course of action after a dead candidate has won an election is to hold a new election, not to do what state law specifies:  declaring the losing candidate the winner.  Per state law, the votes of the majority who voted for NeSmith are void.  The losing candidate will join the council forthwith and start his full term in January.  There will be a special election for the last two months of NeSmith’s second term this November.

I resent the State of Georgia for disenfranchising all of us in the majority of voters of District 6 who supported NeSmith.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 19, 2020 COMMON ERA

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