Friday, October 26, 2018


"On Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) acknowledged that voter suppression efforts by Republicans are significant enough to swing key Senate races in Arizona and North Dakota.

In Arizona, where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema is virtually tied with Republican Martha McSally, outdated voter databases which do not automatically update new home addresses could mean up to 300,000 Arizonans will be unable to vote on Election Day, according to the ACLU’s Dale Ho.

In North Dakota, a new and strict voter ID law requires a home address to vote. However, over five percent of the state’s population is Native American, and Native Americans living on reservations typically do not have traditional home addresses. Because the state’s population is only 800,000, every vote is crucial.

Students at Texas State were surprised to learn that the polling station on campus closed after only three days, when normally polling locations are open for two weeks during early voting periods.

Students have contacted election officials to re-open the polling location. When Democratic official Debbie Ingalsbe contacted Republican official Wally Kinney to ask about the Texas State polling location, Kinney responded, “If Debbie is bringing it forward, it probably means that it is going to favor Democrats, so maybe I should not be in favor of this.”
Dodge City, Kansas, which is 60 percent Latino, was recently told that its one polling location would be moved beyond city limits — over a mile away from the nearest bus stop.

Further complicating matters, newly registered voters in Dodge City were mailed a document directing them to the former polling location.

Dodge City is home to 27,000 residents, most of them Latino, and as many as 13,000 voters are expected to vote at this one polling location. The average polling location in Kansas sees about 1,200 voters.  

The Republican nominee for Kansas Governor, Kris Kobach, has been a vocal proponent of strict voter ID laws, even heading President Donald Trump’s short-lived Voter Fraud Commission.

Maybe all this stuff sounds crooked as hell, entirely unprecedented, to people in Washington, D.C.  Here in Montana we all know the history of loading drunks onto trains and taking them to vote as told to in some designated place.  In those days it wasn't the people who were crucial as much as where the powerful people built their county seats.  Except, oh, wait . . . there were Indians but they weren't allowed to vote because they weren't legal human beings.

I follow Rachel Maddow very closely but sometimes I consider her kinda naive.  This week's bombs shook us up a bit but probably not as much as the formidable efficiency of law and order.  They aren't done yet, of course.  The troubling part is that the President of the USA appears to be on the side of the bomber, as well as the proliferation of violent groups who not only target nonviolent groups and individuals that Trump dislikes and acts out assaulting, but also takes pride in their viciousness and vid themselves for bragging purposes.

Rachel worries about Trump's determination to make himself immune to all correction or discipline or good will, and his willingness to try to make himself the head of the military, his own personal military.  When you consider his closeness to Erik Prince, who wants to subcontract his own private military in Afghanistan. and his son-in-law's buddybuddy relationship with the Saudi prince who allegedly has his critics sawn in pieces, he sounds pretty tough.  But when you think about the possibility that he may muss up his hairdo or even --- horrors -- get hurt, the crawly unseemliness of pulling in people to sin on his behalf gets pretty intense.  Rachel apologized for even mentioning this mingling of military with authoritarian hatred.  But she left a third force out.

Two cities I've read about so far have not just tried to limit voting to people like themselves, but have also tried to bar people who were "not Christian" from living in their town or using their library.  They don't seem to realize that most of the immigrants in the caravan ARE Christian, though maybe not Protestant.  The most numerous religion on the planet is Muslim, not Christian. Maybe they do realize it.  Plainly the people with this exclusive attitude are or are becoming the minority.  And that's the problem: they don't like it one bit.

Yet humans' greatest survival strength is adapting to new conditions and not inviting unnecessary violence.  A great many people in this country are doing exactly that.  Most folks around here have no idea of the level of hatred.  Even in cities there's not much awareness of people building the real tomorrow.  I used to say that was a good thing, because then the monsters won't spot them and try to kill them.  But now I wonder.  Sometimes I think it's time to stand up and fight back -- not necessarily violently.  I remember the men on the Portland, OR, commuter train -- of all places -- murdered for doing the right thing. They were innocent of possible outcomes.

But then I think about a woman I sat next to in the Valier clinic a few years ago.  Her face was bruised, her arm was broken.  They lived up the street.  The cops got after them (she collaborated in her abuse because she was alcoholic and dependent on her abuser) so they moved to another small town that was more tolerant, more tough-guy.  It was the day after the Fourth of July.

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