Voter Identification and Jim Crow…A Rose By Any Other Name?

I have often invoked the phrase, “A rose by any other name” when associating one idea with another.  It’s a shorthand way of say the two things are essentially the same.  Sometimes the phrase is used as a form of flattery, I think this is the most common way we use it; however, at other times the phrase makes an unwelcome association that is quite unflattering.

Today while driving to some inconsequential destination I had a talk radio station tuned in as I usually do.  The subject that caught the imagination of the radio host had to do with attempts by social/political organizations to villainize  the resurgence of the voter identification movement.

Efforts to implement voter identification at the voting booth in our country have met with high resistance in the past.  But that’s the rub, isn’t it, the circumstances of the resistance to voter identification may no longer be relevant.  Times are different now.

Times are different now.  A far back as I can recall the idea of a national healthcare system was laughed at as mere science fiction, the stuff of Star Trek and Space Odyssey, yet here we are with a bill for national healthcare signed into law just a year ago.

Times are different now.  Not so many years ago the most exciting thing to happen to telephone industry was the invention of touch-tone dialing and Princess phones!  Today cell phones abound, even the homeless can be seen with one.  Did you know that all digital cell phones come with GPS transmitters built into them?  We’re told it is a feature, to provide our precise location to the authorities in the event of an emergency.  On the bright side if our teenagers have phones we can track them as long as we have the service from our service provider turned on.

The government is also attempting to pass a bi-partisan bill to require all cars to have a “black box recorder” much like the passenger planes do.  These boxes will allow accurate investigation of accidents and such and will be accessible by police authorities, likely without warrants.

Times are different now.  Immigration continues to be a polarizing subject.  Years ago it was a simple matter for Canadians to enter our country and even find work, now they have long waits at the border just to come over and shop at our stores. No one used to pay too much attention to Mexicans coming across our southern borders to find work in the fields or factories, that is until their reason for coming changed.  More come for the free things they can get from our society than for working long, difficult hours for low wages, often the prize is to have a child on American soil.

Times are different now and since they are we should be mindful of the times in which we live now, not decades ago.  We have people crossing our borders without much effort, all illegal even though we’ve changed the historical stigma by redefining them as merely undocumented aliens.  We have undocumented aliens securing driver licenses without verification of their status (remember they are still undocumented, right?) and the driver license is a primary form of government identification.  Since it only takes a driver license in most states to register to vote the more brazen of them use that loophole to participate in all of the American dream which includes voting.

If you do not know what Jim Crow laws were then a quick stop at any history website or Wikipedia will give you an easy drive-by of the subject.

So then, what does the current Voter Identification movement and Jim Crow have in common?  Nothing, unless you are living in American and it’s 1925.   We don’t live in the same repressive society that legislated segregation laws and enforced poll taxes or literacy tests.

The whole idea that the intent of requesting some form of legal government identification at the voting booth is to keep legal citizens from voting is indefensible at this point… because times have changed.  If you believe government should be providing healthcare for everyone then why is it so difficult be believe the government should also protect our most highly prized mark of freedom… the vote?

Thanks for reading this far.


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