The Arguments Against The Voter ID Laws Are Really Pissing Me Off


Over the past year, the republicans are doing whatever they can to hold on to power. However, instead of trying to appeal to the vast diversity of the electorate they are suppressing the right of the electorate to vote. The right of minorities to vote, because–let’s face it–republicans don’t support issues that are important to minorities. They don’t believe in same-sex marriage. They don’t believe in equal opportunity legislation to help minorities get a fair shot at employment. They don’t believe in a safety net for the poor and working poor in the form of welfare and food stamps. They don’t believe in upward social mobility that is immigration. They like to wage war, but have a problem with providing the veterans coming home with benefits. They don’t even believe in the right for women to chose what actions would be best for their own bodies. So, who can blame them for trying to discourage minorities from voting.

Republicans have passed strict voter ID laws in 37 States in this Country. They argue that presenting an ID to vote will preserve the sanctity of the voting process by eliminating voter fraud. However, when asked to cite any cases of voter fraud over the last year, ten years or thirty years–they can’t.

The other side of the argument (that the democrats are launching) is that these voter ID laws disenfranchise African-Americans and Hispanics. They go on further to say that Blacks, Hispanics, the poor can’t afford the $30 for identification. And many of the older African-Americans don’t have the documentation required to obtain identification. Oh really?

As a black man living in America I have spent my whole life trying to fight against the typical stereotype that has been painted on my race. You’re lazy. You don’t like to work. You deal drugs. You like to steal cars. You listen to rap music. You like to beat women. You raise pit bulls. You have a bad credit score. You rent your furniture at Rent-A-Center. You like to engage in gang violence. You like to turn out women for tricks. You like to live off of welfare. You sponge off of Government. You call people racists, because they don’t hire you. And now I’m being told that I’m not responsible enough to carry identification to vote.

Well, I have news for you America…

I have had identification for over 25 years of my life. Growing up as a black man living in a white neighborhood it was a necessity. It was also the law. I was made aware of this law, one day, by a police officer that pulled me over while I was walking to work one day. “Where are you coming from?”, he asked. “I’m coming from my house” “Let me see your ID”, he said with a stern face. “I don’t have any ID. I’m 15”, I replied with nervousness. “Not possessing ID on your person is against the law and can carry up to a $100 fine. Are you aware of that?”, the officer stated with authority. “No, I’m not aware of that. I’m only 15 years old, and you’re making me late for work”. I had my father help me get an ID the very next day.

See, I learned–at an early age–that possessing an ID was not only within the law it was powerful. The next time a police officer asked me for my ID I gave it to them, and I let them know that what they were doing was wrong. As a black person, I refuse to believe that I am lazy. So, I spend my whole work day working smarter, faster and harder than any other person in my company. As a black person, I refuse to let people think that I have a bad credit score. I worked my ass off to repair my credit and maintain the 800 credit score I have today. You think I listen to gang-banging rap? I am a Jimi Hendrix fan, and I’m fucking proud of it! You think that just because I’m black I’m too lazy to go into work? I show up to work every single day–every single fucking day.

The correct argument against the voter ID laws should be that voting is not only a right afforded to us under The United States Constitution–it is also one of the most secretive things that we do as Americans. When I vote I go to my polling station, get my ballot, go into a booth, close the curtain and I’m all by myself. I have the freedom to vote for anyone I want. I even have the right to vote for myself as a write-in candidate, and I don’t have to tell a single person how I voted. In fact, once a person feeds their ballot into the machine there is no way to prove who you voted for.

The people defending the voter ID laws say that it is no big deal to present identification, because we do it in so many aspects of our daily lives. We show ID when using a credit card. We show ID when making a withdrawal at the bank. We show ID when flying on a commercial aircraft. However, in all those cases we get an actual benefit. I get a product or service that comes with a receipt. If I’m not satisfied with the product or service I can receive a refund. When we vote; we can’t take back our vote. In fact, we can’t say with certainty that our vote was even counted.

Living in California, I take advantage of the mail-in ballot. I vote in the privacy of my home. I fill out the ballot, stuff it in an envelope and mail it in hoping that someone on the other end feeds it into a machine. However, I have faith in our democracy that my vote counts. And if my candidate doesn’t win I have to live with the consequences. We all have to live with the consequences.

As I stated earlier; possessing an identification is a powerful thing. When someone wants to preserve their power by coming up with a law that they think will disenfranchise the voters that won’t vote for them, then I think it’s time for all of us to play by their rules. Go out, get an an ID and vote. If all of us vote against them–the better off we will be as a nation. 2012, in my opinion, is the most important election year in my generation. It is time to act. It is time to get your ID, and it is time to send a strong message. The republican party is insane. The republican party hates minorities, and us minorities need to make them the minority party.

It’s all in our hands. Do you want to be a victim? Do you want to be lazy? Do you want to be silenced? Do you want to fall into that typical stereotype that they have painted for us. The same stereotype that so many of us fight everyday–or do you want to have the power to wipe the republican party and the fringe majority of that party to oblivion. It’s all up to you. Don’t you think that waiting a few hours in line for ID is worth the power?

It’s all up to you

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