Friday, July 23, 2010

Republicans Hate the People

The right views the sole criterion by which one is eligible for the franchise to be their personal virtue rather than the fact of their citizenship. And the right's notion of virtue is, at root, indistinguishable from the extent to which they're likely to vote Republican.

It isn't hard to come up with righty views from the fifties and sixties about Jim Crow and black disenfranchisement that, in retrospect, make your hair stand on end. Nothing new about this. They are afraid of the people of the country. Not, as they claim, because, in the unconstrained democracy that supervene over the majestic deliberations of elected representatives, the government would degenerate into two wolves and a sheep voting on the dinner menu. But because universal enfranchisement directly threatens Republican political viability.

The franchise is a fundamental right of citizenship in this country. If you can't demonstrate compelling state interest, you can't even begin to approach it. So you require photo IDs. You ask for papers. You demonize those trying to enfranchise the poor. You'd ask for a literacy test if you could. You defend rural states' excessive power, counterfactually, I might add, on the basis of their higher rate of property ownership over the more populous states, their relative lack of parasitic poor folk, and a virtue absent in a city. And so on.

You don't trust the people. You demonize all but those who vote for you, and bend every rule to exclude those who might oppose you. You claim that a republic is entirely different from a democracy, rather than accept the two as informing each other. And then you paint yourselves as populists.

This, friends, is patently absurd. People should say it's absurd, repeatedly, out loud.

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