Click here to go to the Home Page Razing the Voting Bloc - The Other Side of the Tracks By Perry Redd, Columnist

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I’ve said recently that there is a concerted “war on us.”  And who is “us,” you ask?  “Us” refers to the people that conservative Republicans despise: poor, working class, and/or people of color.  That definition is greatly expanded when you factor in the cross-sections of people that fit into that description: the unemployed, under-educated, illiterate and/or non-privileged American.

Now that we’ve defined us, let us define the war…the war is described as opposing anything that may empower those previously described; anything that may “even the playing field.”  The war is real, methodical and gaining momentum.  The war has always been active, but not always been seen.  Where it may have been covert, it is now out in the open.  The war on us has systematically gotten at the roots of change.  In America, that would be the vote.

Over the past 60 or so years, great gains have been made in this country on behalf of the poor, working class, under-educated, people of color.  These gains have benefited the country and raised its honor before the world.  Though that’s fact, there has been staunch resistance.  There have been murderers, contortionists and disinformation agents; they have been jurists, activists and legislators.  They have used force, legislation and media to maintain power and control over the poor, working class, under-educated, people of color.

Though conservatives made gains in getting their country back to the good ol’ days, overall they’ve lost.  But then, in 2008, they had an epiphany.  They realized that in order to win—and win consistently—they must destroy the genesis of American democratic power: the vote.

In any way possible, the conservative Republicans know that in order to take their country back, they must stop the poor, working class, under-educated, people of color from voting.  The national mid-term elections of 2010 began a resurgence of the Conservative movement.  Energized by the Tea Party and the Supreme Court ruling that allows elections to be fueled by unlimited corporate money, the Conservatives are coming after the vote.  They have come to demolish any electoral power blocs of the poor, working class, under-educated, people of color in America.

What they’re doing borders on the criminal.  In Florida, Republican Governor Rick Scott and his administration voted to rescind automatic restoration of voting rights and some civil rights to tens of thousands of convicted nonviolent felons in the state, effective immediately!  Sounds like a return to Jim Crow to me!

Scott, Florida Attorney General Pam Biondi, state CFO Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam voted unanimously to change the 2007 rules—adopted by then-Governor Charlie Crist, a Republican who became a political Independent.  Those rules automatically restored voting rights at the conclusion of a felony sentence.  Florida now joins Kentucky, Virginia and Iowa as the only states that deny felons automatic restoration of their rights to vote in elections.

Under the new rules, Florida felons will have to wait a minimum of five years after they’ve served their sentences to apply for the right to vote. More serious offenders would have to wait seven years.  Depending on the political affiliation of the deciding judge, the ex-felon could still be denied!  In the meantime, Republicans win because they’ve eliminated a traditionally Democratic-voting bloc of citizens. When Crist changed the felony voting rules in 2007, it gave more than 150,000 felons the right to vote, most of them Black.  Scott’s intent is  to dilute the Black vote in the 2012 presidential election.  What are we going to do about it?

The Conservatives know that in order to win, they have to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters from the polls (and why are they “likely Democratic” voters?  Because no person with any degree of humanity would go for Republican policies).  In the works now are efforts to prevent college students residing in their college towns from voting there - where they are living!  They’re demanding that the college students produce I.D. that they’re less likely to have.  For example, if they’re at Ohio State, but are from Michigan, then they wouldn’t have an Ohio state-issued I.D.  Therefore, with this new Republican legislation, the student at Ohio State—the likely Democratic voter—would be barred from voting.  That’s how Conservative Republicans are rolling…

The Conservatives are enacting legislation that mandates poor people have a type of identification card that they can’t afford.  Then, there’s the I.D. that Black people will need and are less likely to have…one many won’t be able to afford—a government-issued I.D.

And for the “first-time voter” who generally votes Democratic, they’re enacting legislation to abolish same-day registration and voting.  That, for the most part, quells the youth vote.  Republicans often rail against the lack of wisdom of young people.

They’re doing this restrictive I.D. thing all around the country, even in Texas.  But in contrast, their legislation did make two exceptions: for elderly and gun owners…the two voting blocs that overwhelmingly voted for Republicans.  They know what they’re doing…but do you?

My point here is, like a bulldozer used to raze a standing building, the conservative Republicans are razing blocs of voters.  They were transparent in 2010.  They said they’ve come to “take their country back” - to the days of their founding fathers - when white, male landowners ruled without opposition.  The electoral power blocs of the poor, working class, under-educated and people of color of America are under attack.  We cannot allow them to take us back any further. Columnist, Perry Redd, is the former Executive Director of the workers rights advocacy, Sincere Seven, and author of the on-line commentary, “The Other Side of the Tracks.” He is host of the internet-based talk radio show, Socially Speaking in Washington, DC. Click here to contact Mr. Redd.


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Mar 17, 2011 - Issue 418
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