For many Americans that are not aligned with the conservative movement, it is likely they believe democracy is what used to make America exceptional. Although throughout the nation’s history all Americans were not allowed to participate in the democratic process, a herculean, and bloody, struggle did at one point appear to have expanded the right to vote to every citizen. It is highly likely that if they had the opportunity, Republicans in Congress would follow their brethren in GOP-led states and embrace the Koch brothers’ American Legislative Exchange Council’s drive to put the brakes on democracy by blocking the right to vote of any American who was not a white Christian conservative.
Over the past six years, at least, there has been a steady assault on democracy from state level Republicans with valuable assistance from ALEC that led one to wonder whether the Koch brothers had directed the Republican legislative arm (ALEC) to disavow and destroy American democracy one state at a time. In December 2013, ALEC members refused to sign a pledge supporting democracy and coupled with their intense crusade to create legislation blocking minorities’ right to vote, it became crystal clear the conservative movement not only does not support democracy, they are actively working to bring it to an end and replace it with oligarchy.
It is indeed stunning, but Republicans are no longer couching their disdain for the democratic process with phony assertions there is overwhelming voter fraud, or the need for specific forms of identification, they just hate democracy. Last week it was reported here that corrupt New Jersey Governor Chris Christie lashed out at states’ efforts to make it simpler for citizens to vote and called it “shocking” and “underhanded.” Christie is certainly not alone in hating the idea of the democratic process as evidenced by the conservative Supreme Court issuing three decisions, Citizens United, McCutcheon, and gutting the Voting Rights Act to assist ALEC’s drive to abolish democracy.
Within weeks of the High Court eliminating the major provisions of the Voting Rights Act, Republican states went berserk passing ALEC-written legislation to block minority access to the polls; particularly in the former Confederacy. Duly disturbed by the overt assault on voting rights, groups in North Carolina and, more recently, Georgia have made efforts to register African American voters as well as provide a better chance they will be “allowed” by Republicans to vote. In Georgia, specifically, an effort by African American churches to help their members get to early voting locations has enraged Republicans to the point that one Republican state senator, Fran Millar, issued a solemn vow to shut them down.
Millar is livid about the “Souls To The Polls” effort by Black churches to bus their congregants who want to participate in the democratic process to nearby early voting locations according to a Georgia state law. Millar did not couch his belief African Americans have no legal right to vote and said, “Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall. This location is dominated by African American shoppers and the Democratic Party thinks this is a wonderful idea – what a surprise. This is a blatantly partisan move.” Millar’s claim that helping all Americans regardless of color to participate in America’s democracy is a “blatant partisan move” echoes Chris Christie’s assertion to the letter and Millar is not about to allow Black Georgian’s to vote if he can possibly block the vote.
Millar says he is actively “investigating if there is any way to stop this action (Africa Americans voting) before the November election,” and if he fails in that assault on democracy, he promised to join forces with another anti-democracy Republican, State Representative Mike Jacobs, “to eliminate this election law in January.” Obviously, most of Georgia’s democracy-loving citizens were rightly outraged at Millar’s blatant crusade and openly-stated plan to block Black American citizens right to vote, but the anti-democracy Republican held his ground and defended his crusade to block the Black vote. He said, “I never claimed to be nonpartisan; I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.” If there was ever a direct statement exposing Republicans’ true beliefs that African Americans are not educated enough, or deserve, to participate in American democracy, Millar uttered it without reservation; Black Americans, wherever they live should be enraged. In fact, all Americans should be outraged and they likely are unless they are Republicans and their teabagger cohort.
Congressional Republicans may not have the power to block minority citizens voting rights yet, but they have spent the past six years faithfully blocking Democrats, and likely some Republican, legislators’ right to vote. If one goes to any search engine and types in “Republicans block vote,” they will find page after page of instances of Republicans in the House and Senate blocking votes on various legislation and amendments; the overwhelming majority of them to help the American people. In fact, in less than a year-and-a-half, Republicans religiously blocked votes on no less than 73 amendments in this session of Congress. Their efforts are not about defeating legislation by voting against efforts to help Americans; they are about blocking other legislators’ right to vote to help Americans according to their mandate as legislators because they hate the democratic process.
It is important to note that the Republican states actively thwarting minority voting are driven by the American Legislative Exchange Council’s template legislation promoting attacks on democracy. ALEC claim it is because there is out-of-control voter fraud, and yet in a long-term comprehensive “analysis of primary, general, special, and municipal elections since the 2000 general election, out of over a billion ballots case there were only 31 credible incidents of voter fraud.” Lacking any credibility on their claim of voter fraud, it is glaringly apparent that ALEC and Republicans’ block the vote efforts are borne of a deep-seated hatred of democracy. It is not the least bit shocking that when ALEC members were asked to sign a pledge “upholding the will of the people and support democracy,” none of the ALEC members signed the pledge. Republicans may not have refused to sign a pledge upholding the people’s will and supporting democracy, but their actions in the states and Congress are proof enough that blocking the vote is their war on democracy, minorities, and America.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.