There is a saying that “all is fair in love and war,” and although at first blush it seems a reasonable proposition, it certainly is not true. For example, it is against the law for a man to kidnap a woman he loves and keep her imprisoned against her will, just as it is illegal to torture prisoners of war; unless it is America doing the torturing. But that is another story. The point is that in matters of the heart and war, like in politics, there are universally-accepted conventions that all participants are expected to follow regardless their intent to win at any cost. Obviously, Republicans embrace the “all’s fair” mindset in their drive to control the nation and since the election of an African American man as President, they have taken extreme measures to destroy democracy by disenfranchising voters who are not inclined to support the corporate-theocracy Republicans are fighting to impose on America.
Although America’s representative democracy is on the verge of becoming a laughing stock and collapsing, there are still some Americans able to enjoy unfettered access to participate in the electoral process. However, if Republicans and their money machine have their way, fewer Americans will be given access to the polls and they have abandoned any pretense of concealing their drive to limit voting privileges to white Christians dedicated to electing white Republicans to political office. Over the course of the lead up to the midterm elections, and since the conservative Supreme Court eviscerated key aspects of the Voting Rights Act, Republicans in the states have unashamedly launched vote suppression efforts in state after state targeting people of color, young people, working-class Americans, and the elderly. Crucial to their success is Republicans’ heavy dependence on one of the Koch brothers’ legislative arms, the American Legislative Exchange Council, to create template legislation for Republicans to block access to voting in what can only be termed as a direct assault on America’s rapidly waning democracy.
It should surprise no American that ALEC is anti-democracy since last February its members refused to sign a pledge supporting democracy, likely at the behest of their funders the Koch brothers. Dissatisfied that Republican-led states are doing enough to obstruct democracy, the Koch brothers tasked their other anti-democracy organization, Americans for Prosperity, to take what may be illegal actions to suppress the vote in North Carolina. Residents in the state have already witnessed a barrage of anti-democracy voter suppression tactics thanks to the Koch brothers’ ALEC legislation, but apparently it is not enough for the Kochs who charged AFP with the job of deliberately misinforming North Carolina voters to prevent them from participating in democracy.
North Carolina’s Americans for Prosperity sent out faulty voter registration forms and blatantly false information in what exceeds even the sleaziest dirty election tricks a few weeks before an election. In the mailings, Americans for Prosperity gave out the wrong deadline for registering to vote by cutting the authentic “registration window short by five days.” Included in the mailing was the wrong offices and zip codes for turning in voter registration forms as well as false information about how prospective voters would be notified about their precinct after they register to vote. That is providing they discovered the correct date and address to turn in the voter registration form on time to be able to vote.
The director of Americans for Prosperity, N.C., shrugged off the deliberate misinformation as “non-substantive” and just a “minor administrative error,” but it is not “minor” or “non-substantive” for hundreds-of-thousands of potential voters the Koch brothers’ thugs are attempting to disenfranchise. The AFP director revealed the Koch and Republican mindset is founded on their belief that N.C. voters unlikely to support Republicans are “non-substantive,” likely due to their racial makeup and economic station. That too is another story that is spreading across the former Confederacy where Republicans are actively thwarting the voting rights of working-Americans and people of color.
In Georgia once again, a second and third county are joining the Republican, ALEC, and Koch brother war on democracy by restricting voting of working-class people who have to work on Election Day. The reason? Republicans think the idea of every American participating in democracy is wrong because “it would mean too many people are voting.” Just last week, another Georgia Republican, Fran Millar, said he was working with other state Republicans to put a halt to African Americans voting because he “would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.” The idea of all Americans voting, especially African Americans, is something Republicans cannot countenance and like all Republicans, Millar hopes “it can be stopped.” The idea of not supporting, and indeed destroying, democracy is by all appearance now a major policy position of the conservative movement.
This anti-democracy crusade is not reserved to the Koch brothers’ legislative arms in the former Confederacy. A couple of weeks ago New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went on a rant condemning democracy as “shocking, underhanded, and a dirty tactic” and yet there was little response from Democrats at the national or state level. If, as Democrats claim, the fast-approaching midterm elections are critical to Americans, why are they not revealing the Koch-Republican dirty assault on democracy? For dog’s sake, Republicans have spent the past five years falsely accusing the President and Democrats of “destroying the Constitution” and attempting to rule as dictators.
These Republican, ALEC, Americans for Prosperity, and Koch brother attacks on America’s democracy are not solely targeting African Americans; they are targeting working-class Americans who are working longer hours to survive and have issues making it to the polls on Election Day. Regardless if it is eliminating early voting, sending out phony polling place and voter registration information, or threatening armed intimidation of voters, Republicans are attacking America’s fragile democracy.
It is, frankly, astonishing that Republicans are openly working to restrict all Americans’ right to vote with little pushback from Democrats because the concept of democracy is allegedly the defining feature of “American exceptionalism.” Regardless of any Americans’ political leanings, it is difficult to imagine that only die-hard theocrats and corporatists would condone destroying democracy, but it is just as difficult to comprehend why Democrats are not making the Republicans’ effort a major campaign issue; particularly in former Confederate states where Republicans are actively touting their efforts to restrict democracy to white, Christian, and Republican supporters.
Democrats need to come to their senses and put half the effort into informing Americans about the Republican attack on this nation’s democracy as they do promising to fight for middle-class Americans. Because at the rate Republicans are destroying democracy, Democrats are doomed to do nothing for the people because the Kochs, AFP, ALEC, and Republicans are easily eliminating Democrats’ chances of remaining in office by killing democracy with little to no opposition.
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.