Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Every day, I drive somewhere even though I'm retired and seldom "need" to be anywhere. So, I'm trying to resolve to stay home at least one day every 5 weekdays and, thus, cut my gasoline consumption by 20% each five day period. Weekends are a different matter, but on weekends, my wife and I usually drive together in one car and, thus, use less gasoline too. Add to that the fact that my wife and I both drive 4 cylinder autos and have always driven 4 cylinder (sometimes 3 cylinder) autos, and anyone can see that we've been doing our patriotic best to free America from foreign oil for a long time. For me, the elder of we two, I've been gasoline conscious since 1964 when I bought my first VW or People's Wagon, as I used to call it. I know... I know... I've mentioned this early on VW purchase I don't know how many times on this blog. OK! So slap me silly!


Dahlia Lithwick's recent article in Newsweek (June 2, 2008/Page 45) is the second article I've come across recently that shows how the Republican Christian Fundamentalist Neocon Chickenhawk Party is trying to disenfranchise American voters. These Christian Fundamentalist Neocon Chickenhawks used to be in the Democratic Party but have long since been driven out of that Party by liberal patriots and true Americans and have adopted the newly reorganized Republican Christian Fundamentalist Neocon Chickenhawk Party. . . .

Okay, so I'm just having fun, exaggerating the situation the Republican Party has created for itself, but one must admit that whereas it was the Democrat Party in the South which once upon a time found ways (poll taxes, threats and impossible quizzes) to disenfranchise Black voters, it is now the Republican Party that is spearheading voter disenfranchisement of the poor all over America by instituting new sorts of restrictions on the Constitutionally-protected right to vote. And it is Bushite Supreme Court appointees who support the disenfranchisement. (See Supreme's decision to support voter IDs in Indiana.) Can a reasonable man (or woman) assume that it is the shift of Bible Belt Southerners from the Democrat Party to the Republican Party that has caused this tactic of disenfranchisement to also move from the Democrat to the Republican Party?

Lithwick points out that the firings of U.S. attorneys by the Bushites were politically motivated by their frustration with attorneys who failed to find widespread voter fraud. But instead of letting their fruitless attempts lapse, the Republican Party is using the fear label, "voter fraud", as a way of disenfranchising America's poor. They are attempting to disenfranchise poorer voters by requiring them to purchase voter IDs (a new kind of poll tax) if they do not happen to have purchased driver's licenses or passports for foreign travel. How many poor people travel to Europe for summer vacations? How many rich people are without passports or, at the least, driver's licenses? You see how skewed this requirement is? As Lithwick writes: ". . . the circle is complete, and the crusade to end imaginary vote fraud will result in real vote suppression."

Of course if all voter IDs are furnished free of charge and sent through the mail, then, they cannot be interpreted as a new poll tax. Getting voter IDs does impose an extra burden not imposed on others if the handicapped and the non-driver (elderly and poor) and those who don't travel abroad are required to travel to county court houses to get them.


I'm going to admit a prejudice I caught myself harboring in the dusty closet of my brain. For most of my life, I thought that poorer and, thus, uneducated and therefore "ignorant" Americans supported the Vietnam War while we college-educated folk did not. Part of my prejudice was probably because my earliest attempts at higher education in the '60s occurred in the midst of a growing campus-oriented Vietnam protest. I was surrounded by protesters and joined in myself. Also, I recall clearly the New York construction workers who leaped into a protest march and beat the crap out of the marchers.

Lo and behold, I'm the ignorant one! In Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen on pages 297-299 (1995 edition) are some charts which slap me in the puss with the truth. According to a 1971 poll, only 60 percent of the college-educated wanted our troops brought home from Vietnam while 80 percent of the grade school-educated wanted them brought home.

But what's really revealing about this chapter in Loewen's book is that in another survey, the college-, high school- and grade school-educated all thought that the college-elite were more likely to oppose the war, whereas college-educated, specially doctors and lawyers, were more likely to support it. Granted, by 1971 things were changing rapidly in the nation and the surveys that Loewen cites might have come out differently in an earlier time. By 1971, the nation had pretty well been brought around to a different point of view. Also, the media's heated coverage of campus protests certainly gave the impression that all the anti-war sentiment was being generated on campuses around the country. Still, the view by poorer off, grade school-educated Americans that college people were more likely to be more able to sift through information, evaluate evidence and to know the score and, thus, oppose the war sure gives me an insight into how America's less well off tend to dismiss their own opinions and to look to others to lead them.

I've mentioned Loewen's book before, and I still recommend it. Try to get the most recent edition, if you can. The pages I reference in this blog entry might be different.

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