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December 9, 2011

When All Else Fails…Scream Racism

Joe Charlebois

Why is it then when certain members of the political elite class are in a position to defend the indefensible they claim racism?


This week Rep. Barbara Lee (D., CA), claimed that Republican legislators are making a concerted effort to deny people of “color” the right to vote. She makes this accusation based on increased efforts to pass voter identification laws throughout the country.


Ms. Lee’s statement asserted that 1 in 4 blacks, 1 in 5 Hispanics and 1 in 5 Asians will be denied the most important and basic right in America – the right to vote. She fails not only to identify how these statistics were gathered, but also how many “white” Americans will be denied the right to vote – as they were in Philadelphia in 2008 by armed members of the New Black Panther Party.


She and the chairman of the Democrat National Committee – Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who addressed the same concerns in weeks past – have failed to show how this acts as a “poll tax” and the return of “Jim Crow.” What it does show is the fear that those who voted in the last election illegally will not be able to do so again.


Ms. Lee also failed to prove how asking for identification is racist or a throwback to the days of segregation when people of color were treated as second class citizens. She also failed to address whether or not it is racism when others require identification at venues outside of the electoral polling places.


There are currently laws that require proof of name, age, and residency for federal, state and even local reasons. Whether withdrawing a book from the county library, purchasing tickets for certain movies, buying a beer at a restaurant, or getting on a flight to Orlando, there are laws that require individuals to provide identification.


So, I must ask if it is racism when a driver is pulled over by law enforcement for a traffic violation and asked for his driver’s license or other identification.


Is it “denying” or “suppressing” one’s ability to travel when someone is required to present their driver’s license or passport as well as their boarding pass upon entering the boarding area at an airport.


Is it a return to segregation and “Jim Crow” if before anyone can purchase cigarettes or alcoholic beverages they are required to provide identification to prove they meet age requirements?


Of course, the answer to all of these questions is and emphatic NO.


There is nothing in voter identification laws that prohibit anyone from voting unless they are ineligible to do so. These requests for identification are meant to provide different levels of protection. The request for identification at the polling center offers the greatest protection of all – the right to vote – and provides the assurance that one legally cast vote will not be cancelled out by one that isn’t.


No one would dare compare the privileges associated with boarding a plane, driving a vehicle or buying alcohol with the right to vote. The right to vote and the ability to elect our government officials is the single most important action that protects our rights as citizens of this country.


For those who would hide behind the skirt of racism and afford bad characters the opportunity to have unregistered voters influence the future of our country is demagogic. It is also un-American.


We must be allowed to protect the process, or we will be destroyed by it. Ms. Lee should be leading the fight to protect the electoral process, not undermine it.


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