IS THERE WICKEDNESS IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY? – PART II

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Since the 2010 election, thanks to the funding by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankroll the Tea Party, 38 states have recently introduced legislation design to impede democratic voters.  For example, Kansas and Alabama now require voters to provide proof of citizenship before registering. Florida and Texas made it harder for groups like the League of Women Voters to register new voters.  Maine repealed Election Day voter registration that had been in effect since 1973. Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia have shortened their early voting periods. Florida and Iowa barred all ex-felons from the polls, disenfranchising thousands of previously eligible voters.  Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin will require voters to produce a government-issued ID before voting. More than 10 percent of U.S. citizens lack such identification, and the numbers are even higher among constituencies that traditionally vote Democratic including 18 percent of young voters and 25 percent of African-Americans.

Undoubtedly, these drastic measures could significantly diminish the Democratic turnout in 2012, possible enough to help the GOP.  “One of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time,” Bill Clinton told a group of student activists in July.  “Why is all of this going on? This is not rocket science. They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate” – a reference to the dominance of the Tea Party last year, compared to the millions of students and minorities who turned out for Obama. “There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.”

Republicans justify these unprecedented actions by saying they are cracking down on extensive voter fraud, an interesting take since Republicans took control of the White House in 2000 although Gore had the most popular votes.  According to Republicans, community organizers like ACORN were actively recruiting armies of fake voters to misrepresent themselves at the polls and cast illegal ballots for the Democrats.  Of course, there was no evidence to back up such outlandish claims and they have already been debunked by credible sources.  An investigation by the Justice Department between 2002 and 2007 failed to uncover anyone for impersonating an eligible voter which the anti-fraud laws were supposedly designed to stop. Out of the 300 million votes cast during that time, federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud, most convictions involved immigrants and former felons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility.

According to Rolling Stone Magazine, GOP outcries over the phantom menace of voter fraud escalated after 2008, when Obama’s candidacy attracted historic numbers of first-time voters.  In the 29 states that record party affiliation, roughly two-thirds of new voters registered as Democrats in 2007 and 2008 – and Obama won nearly 70 percent of their votes.  In Florida alone, Democrats added more than 600,000 new voters in the run-up to the 2008 election, and those who went to the polls favored Obama over John McCain by 19 points. “This latest flood of attacks on voting rights is a direct shot at the communities that came out in historic numbers for the first time in 2008 and put Obama over the top,” says Tova Wang, an elections-reform expert at Demos, a progressive think tank.

Rolling Stone goes on to report that, “No one has done more to stir up fears about the manufactured threat of voter fraud than Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a top adviser in the Bush Justice Department who has become a rising star in the GOP.” We need a Kris Kobach in every state,” declared Michelle Malkin, the conservative pundit. This year, Kobach successfully fought for a law requiring every Kansan to show proof of citizenship in order to vote – even though the state prosecuted only one case of voter fraud in the past five years. The new restriction fused anti-immigrant hysteria with voter-fraud paranoia. “In Kansas, the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive,” Kobach claimed, offering no substantiating evidence.

Kobach also asserted that dead people were casting ballots, singling out a deceased Kansan named Alfred K. Brewer as one such zombie voter. There was only one problem: Brewer was still very much alive. The Wichita Eagle found him working in his front yard. “I don’t think this is heaven,” Brewer told the paper. “Not when I’m raking leaves.”  This suppression of voter rights that’s going on in the states primarily run by Republican governors and state legislators undoubtedly fits the definition of “wickedness” and clearly reveals “one’s evil intentions; to expose one’s malicious, venomous, or insidious nature.”

What’s amazing to me is that most every Republican governor, legislator and presidential candidate claims to be a “Christian.” According to Wikipedia, the term “Christian” is also used adjectivally to describe anything associated with Christianity, or in a proverbial sense “all that is noble, and good, and Christ-like.”  Christians are taught to model their behavior and actions on the virtue established by Christ.  A virtue is a positive trait or quality subjectively deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being.  Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting individual and collective well being.  The opposite of virtue is vice.   Vice is a practice or a behavior or habit considered immoral, depraved, and/or degrading in the associated society. In more minor usage, vice can refer to a fault, a defect, an infirmity, or merely a bad habit. Synonyms for vice include fault, depravity, sin, iniquity, wickedness, and corruption. The modern English term that best captures its original meaning is the word vicious, which means “full of vice”.

As a Christian, I firmly believe in the Bible and Proverbs 29:16 (NIV) which tells us that, “When the wicked thrive, so does sin, but the righteous will see their downfall.”  The Republican Federal and state actions and initiatives to literally destroy democracy as we know it are not acts of Christian beliefs but rather despicable acts of wickedness influenced by what the Bible calls “the evil one.”  I also believe that the righteous will see their downfall, but that’s just my take.

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