ChrisWeigant.com

Bending The Arc

[ Posted Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 – 17:27 PDT ]

Fifty years ago today, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior gave a seminal speech. This anniversary has been marked today by many, by presidents and by bloggers alike. Many have taken as their springboard for commentary the immortal phrase "I have a dream," completing it with their own new dreams of justice and righteousness for America.

So it might seem a little surprising that today I have chosen to comment on a different King speech. King gave this speech at the conclusion of a march from Selma to Montgomery, in Alabama, on March 25, 1965. It is now known as the "Our God Is Marching On!" speech, since it closes with the words of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Towards the end of the speech, King poses a very basic question:

I know you are asking today: "How long will it take?" Somebody's asking: "How long will prejudice blind the visions of men, darken their understanding, and drive bright-eyed Wisdom from her sacred throne?" Somebody's asking: "When will wounded Justice, lying prostrate on the streets of Selma and Birmingham and communities all over the South, be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men?" Somebody's asking: "When will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night, plucked from weary souls with chains of fear and the manacles of death? How long will Justice be crucified, and Truth bear it?"

King then answered this question many times, beginning with the basic "it will not be long," and building to the most famous quotation from this speech:

How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

This is a well-known phrase, and one that Barack Obama often riffs on in his own speeches. However, I have come to the conclusion that for many this phrase has come to justify either inaction or passivity, which is exactly the wrong message to take away from it. If the arc of history eventually bends towards justice, after all, then all we need to do is sit back and wait for it to bend, right?

This problem stems, I believe, from how history is taught in America (at least in the K-12 level). History books, even those used in high schools, are remarkably non-causal. Things just happen. James W. Loewen wrote an entire book (Lies My Teacher Told Me) on the subject of how bad history textbooks are, and he defined the problem well:

Students are right: the books are boring. The stories that history textbooks tell are predictable; every problem has already been solved or is about to be solved. Textbooks exclude conflict or real suspense. They leave out anything that might reflect badly on our national character. When they try for drama, they achieve only melodrama, because readers know that everything will turn out fine in the end. "Despite setbacks, the United States overcame these challenges," in the words of one textbook.

. . .

None of the facts is remembered, because they are presented simply as one damn thing after another. While textbook authors tend to include most of the trees and all too many twigs, they neglect to give readers even a glimpse of what they might find memorable: the forests. Textbooks stifle meaning by suppressing causation. Students exit history textbooks without having developed the ability to think coherently about social life.

American history is boiled down to meaningless pap, which is then fed to children. The background theme is that everything always gets better in America -- always. The arc of the moral universe is one smooth curve towards justice, with no setbacks and no reversals -- ever. Because things always get better, over time.

This is what breeds passivity in civic life. If things are always going to be fine in the end, then there is no real reason to get involved. Why bother? Everything always works out OK, so let's sit on the couch and watch television instead of participating.

Even the legacy of Martin Luther King -- one of the most inspirational orators in all of American history -- falls prey to the boiling-down process. Even today, on the anniversary of King's most famous speech, how many will listen to the full recording? It's only about ten minutes long, but in all the hours devoted to commemorating it, how often will the full speech be presented to the public, rather than commentary by more modern (and less eloquent) orators? How many will hear King praising "[t]he marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community" today? How many will hear King denounce "the unspeakable horrors of police brutality"? Precious few, I would wager, even though it's from the same speech being celebrated.

Instead, the speech is reduced to it's final moments -- all the "I Have A Dream" stuff that was actually ad-libbed by King (none of it was in his original draft). This part, after all, is uplifting and feeds right in to the idea that things are going to be better in the future. The only words King spoke which could be considered equally as famous also coincidentally fit into this theme -- his "I have been to the mountaintop / I have seen the Promised Land," from the final speech he gave before his assassination.

Reducing King to just a few soundbites disrespects his memory, though. His true legacy was in proving that people can make a difference by their words and actions. King was fully aware that things didn't always "just work out OK," and that, furthermore, sometimes America moved in the wrong direction. The historic arc isn't smooth, and sometimes it bends the wrong way. He explicitly points this out, over and over again. From the "arc of the moral universe" speech, King gives a history lesson not often found in schoolbooks today:

Our whole campaign in Alabama has been centered around the right to vote. In focusing the attention of the nation and the world today on the flagrant denial of the right to vote, we are exposing the very origin, the root cause, of racial segregation in the Southland. Racial segregation as a way of life did not come about as a natural result of hatred between the races immediately after the Civil War. There were no laws segregating the races then. And as the noted historian, C. Vann Woodward, in his book, The Strange Career of Jim Crow, clearly points out, the segregation of the races was really a political stratagem employed by the emerging Bourbon interests in the South to keep the Southern masses divided and Southern labor the cheapest in the land. You see, it was a simple thing to keep the poor white masses working for near-starvation wages in the years that followed the Civil War. Why, if the poor white plantation or mill worker became dissatisfied with his low wages, the plantation or mill owner would merely threaten to fire him and hire former Negro slaves and pay him even less. Thus, the Southern wage level was kept almost unbearably low.

Toward the end of the Reconstruction era, something very significant happened. That is what was known as the Populist Movement. The leaders of this movement began awakening the poor white masses and the former Negro slaves to the fact that they were being fleeced by the emerging Bourbon interests. Not only that, but they began uniting the Negro and white masses into a voting bloc that threatened to drive the Bourbon interests from the command posts of political power in the South.

To meet this threat, the Southern aristocracy began immediately to engineer this development of a segregated society. I want you to follow me through here because this is very important to see the roots of racism and the denial of the right to vote. Through their control of mass media, they revised the doctrine of white supremacy. They saturated the thinking of the poor white masses with it, thus clouding their minds to the real issue involved in the Populist Movement. They then directed the placement on the books of the South of laws that made it a crime for Negroes and whites to come together as equals at any level. And that did it. That crippled and eventually destroyed the Populist Movement of the nineteenth century.

The federal government didn't start segregation until the white supremacy of Woodrow Wilson. Wilson tried to get Congress to restrict civil rights on racial grounds, but Congress refused to pass such laws. So Wilson went ahead and segregated the executive branch on his own.

But the entire Reconstruction era and the later Jim Crow era contradict the facile "everything gets better" pseudo-history children are taught in the classroom. Because if the idea that America could do wrong, and in fact move backwards -- against the moral arc of the universe, in other words -- at any time in our past, then it might give rise to the idea that we could be doing so today. Which is a dangerous thought indeed.

America sometimes does move the wrong way, however. We are doing so right now, in fact, on multiple fronts. The easiest to point out is voting rights -- a subject dear to Dr. King. Many states have now passed laws which make it harder to vote. Just think about that for a second. This effort goes far beyond voter ID laws, and includes restrictions on early voting, Sunday voting, registration, and access to the polls. And it's happening right now.

That's just the easiest example. Sadly, there are many others. Read any of the numerous articles written today which complete the phrase "I have a dream" to see a few.

The true lesson Martin Luther King teaches is the exact opposite of what many take away from hearing the words "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." Because that arc doesn't bend on its own. It takes effort. It takes action. It takes speech after speech, and march after march. It takes public pressure and public demonstration. It takes time and it takes energy. It takes a firm commitment by multitudes.

The arc doesn't passively bend on its own. It must be bent. We all must bend it together. If the people lead, the leaders will eventually follow. That is the lesson I take away from Martin Luther King's words, personally.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

18 Comments on “Bending The Arc”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    The easiest to point out is voting rights -- a subject dear to Dr. King. Many states have now passed laws which make it harder to vote. Just think about that for a second. This effort goes far beyond voter ID laws, and includes restrictions on early voting, Sunday voting, registration, and access to the polls. And it's happening right now.

    I submit that, as far as Voter ID goes, the Voter ID issue IS justice...

    For every person who votes illegally, they are disenfranchising a person who votes LEGALLY...

    So it seems to me that MLK would come down on the side of Voter ID.

    A person in today's American society simply cannot function without an ID. It's required for EVERY aspect of an American's life..

    The fight against Voter ID is simply a fight to make it easier for people to cheat..

  2. [2] 
    LydiaNetherlands wrote:

    Question for Michale:
    If a person in US society simply cannot function without an ID and it's required for EVERY aspect of a US life, then why are so many people in so many states living completely functional lives without ever needing an ID?

  3. [3] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LydiaNetherlands -

    Welcome to the site!

    Your first comment was held for moderation automatically, but from now on you will be able to post your comments here instantly. Just don't post more than one link per comment, as if you do it will also be automatically held for moderation (this cuts down on "comment spam"). Posting a single link per commment should work fine, so if you have a bunch of links, post a bunch of comments.

    Anyway, just wanted to say hello and welcome to the site...

    -CW

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    OK, let's just set aside Voter ID for a moment, shall we?

    What do you think MLK would say about states restricting early voting? North Carolina reported that in their previous election, roughly half of white people voted early, while 70 percent of blacks voted early.

    What would MLK say about ending early voting on Sundays, due to traditionally black churches getting many people out to vote?

    What would MLK say about -- other than ID requirements -- all the new laws which make it harder to vote and have absolutely no "fraud" reason for being passed, but which will affect minorities disproportionally?

    I know exactly what he'd say about them. Do you?

    -CW

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    LydiaNetherlands,

    If a person in US society simply cannot function without an ID and it's required for EVERY aspect of a US life, then why are so many people in so many states living completely functional lives without ever needing an ID?

    Allow me to also welcome you to Weigantia in my own special way..

    "Welcome to the party, pal!!!"
    -John McClane, DIE HARD

    :D

    Now, as to your question..

    Could you provide me a real life verifiable example of an American citizen who A> has gone their entire life w/o needing an ID and 2> has an inclination to vote...

    NO ONE can be disenfranchised from voting w/o their tacit approval..

    EXCEPT....

    Except those who are disenfranchised by proxy.. IE someone voting illegally that cancels out a legal vote...

    CW,

    What would MLK say about -- other than ID requirements -- all the new laws which make it harder to vote and have absolutely no "fraud" reason for being passed, but which will affect minorities disproportionally?

    So, what you are saying is that, because no fraud is apparent, we don't need these restrictive voting laws..

    Does that sum up your argument??

    Here's the thing..

    States that have some of the most restrictive voting laws in the country ALSO have some of the largest turnout of minority voting ever recorded..

    So, using your OWN argument, since there is no evidence that restrictive laws dampen minority voter turnout, there is absolutely NO REASON ***NOT*** to have these voting laws...

    Your own argument makes my case....

  6. [6] 
    Paula wrote:

    Chris: Very nice post and good points all.

    I absolutely agree that the way history is taught is a problem. I was a good student, I love to read and love history, but all I remember from school classes (including college) was that there were lots of battles and lots of "ACTS" and treaties. etc., all of which I forgot after cramming for tests. As your quote said, "just one damn thing after another", sans most context or interesting detail.

    Michale: States that have the most restrictive voting laws also have large turnout is not good argument for restrictive voting laws. The turnout has certainly been high in response to the republican's really utterly despicable efforts to disenfranchise voters, but it is unhealthy for the country. For one thing, it makes people like me continue to really abhor republicans, and that's not good for peace or spiritual growth(!)

    Also it elevates to the level of Public Policy that it is a good a idea to make it difficult for working people (who typically have little or no scheduling flexibility), older people, students or the poor in general, to vote. By supporting such things you are supporting a class-based attack on the public; salaried people can vote; hourly people can't. Screw people who can't get baby sitters; who don't have cars; who's bosses won't give them time off to get where they need to go, or who dock their pay -- who needs to worry about paying bills anyway? Not republican governors--that's for sure.

    It tells Americans that republican leaders will do ANYTHING to "win" -- cheating is happily embraced. Gaming the system is A.O.K. Actual competition? Why do that when, instead of convincing enough voters that your policies benefit them, you can just shove those policies down their throats?

    Everything about it is UGLY.

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    Lydia,

    Hell, I even make it easier for you.

    Don't worry about finding a real life American as outlined.

    Postulate to me a realistic, logical and rational scenario whereas an American citizen would NEVER need an ID in this country, but would still have the desire to vote..

    Paula,

    Michale: States that have the most restrictive voting laws also have large turnout is not good argument for restrictive voting laws.

    Sure it is.. Because it's the same argument, except in reverse, that the Left makes AGAINST Voter ID....

    You say there is no evidence of voter fraud (even though there is tons) so there is no need to have Voter ID...

    I say that there is no evidence of minority disenfranchising, so there is no reason NOT to have Voter ID...

    It's your OWN argument...

    How can you claim it to be false??

    It tells Americans that republican leaders will do ANYTHING to "win" -- cheating is happily embraced.

    And, of course, DEMOCRATS would NEVER stoop to cheating, right??

    Com'on.. I may have been born at night, but it wasn't LAST night.. :D

    Like the Democrat poll worker who *proudly* voted for Obama EIGHT DIFFERENT TIMES in the last election???

    The ONLY reason to be against Voter ID is to make it easier to commit Voter Fraud..

    That is the ONLY reason... No other possible reason exists...

    Nearly 80% of Americans support Voter ID...

    You almost have to have an ID to take a dump in this country..

    There is simply NO EXCUSE not to have an ID.

    The law states that only American citizens can vote.. So, if you want to vote, you have to prove you are an American citizen... It's a no-brainer...

    Like I am fond of saying.. If one looks past all the hysterical emotionalism, the facts are clear.

    You want to vote? You are an American Citizen??

    PROVE IT...

    If one doesn't want to follow the law, then I guess voting is not all that important to them, now is it??

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    For the record, I was trying NOT to be an arrogant ass again... :D

    How did I do?? :D

  9. [9] 
    Paula wrote:

    Points for not being an arrogant ass!

    On principle it sounds simple: you want to vote, you get an id. What's the big deal?

    The big deal is that you have state legislations passing these laws sometimes right before elections, without doing squat to ensure the laws can be carried out on time; that poll workers will be adequately trained; that government offices can provide the id's without people having to go through hassles, delays, etc.

    They are intended to make it difficult for people. They are typically coupled with reductions in voting days, or mail in voting, etc. specifically to reduce turnout among people who already juggle difficulties every day.

    It's been proven over and over that actual voter fraud amounts to something like 5 instances per election - half of which turn out to be accidents. These are laws that are passed to solve a problem that doesn't exist, but purely to create new problems for people who aren't republican.

    Maybe getting such an id will turn out to be easy. Maybe republican led states will devote time, money and effort to making their election systems effective, efficient and fair, Maybe the sheer contemptibility of these efforts will inspire massive democratic voter turnout for years to come, despite hassles! That would be a nice unintended consequence. But it won't erase the fact the the motivations for these laws are to suppress votes.

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    Points for not being an arrogant ass!

    :D Woot!!

    The big deal is that you have state legislations passing these laws sometimes right before elections,

    I see no evidence of this.

    They are intended to make it difficult for people.

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    It's been proven over and over that actual voter fraud amounts to something like 5 instances per election

    It's also been proven that voter restrictions have no effect on minority voter turnout.

    So, if following the law has no effect on minority voter turnout, why not make it so that everyone is forced to follow the law??

    Maybe getting such an id will turn out to be easy.

    Getting an ID *is* easy.. In most states, it's also free or very low cost..

    Someone who is too lazy to get an ID, isn't really much concerned about voting...

    But it won't erase the fact the the motivations for these laws are to suppress votes.

    That's an opinion unsupported by facts..

  11. [11] 
    Paula wrote:

    Michale:
    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/06/pennsylvania_gop_leader_voter_id_will_help_romney.php

    From: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/28/republicans-admit-voter-id-laws-are-aimed-at-democratic-voters.html

    "After the election, former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer told The Palm Beach Post that the explicit goal of the state’s voter-ID law was Democratic suppression. “The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer told the Post. “It’s done for one reason and one reason only ... ‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us,’”

    AND:

    " In 2011 an Associated Press analysis found that South Carolina’s proposed voter-identification law would hit black precincts the hardest, keeping thousands from casting nonprovisional ballots. Likewise, if Alabama’s voter-ID law goes into effect, it will place its largest burden on black voters who lack acceptable forms of identification and don’t have immediate access to alternatives. And while most of these laws—which, it’s worth noting, have been passed in most of the states of the former Confederacy—provide for free identification, it’s not an easy reach. To get one in Mississippi, for instance, residents need a birth certificate, which costs $15 and requires the photo identification they don’t have. They’ll also need time to travel to the state office to pay or a computer to do the transaction online."

    OR
    http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/national-interest/item/59074-phyllis-schlafly-talks-truth-about-vote-suppression

    Repubs want to suppress Democratic turnout, period. They can't win on merits so they fix the system whenever they can.

    Separately, there was an article today about a new study published in the journal Science about the effects of poverty on cognitive functioning and some great discussion in comments. http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2013/08/how-poverty-taxes-brain/6716/

    There's some good discussion in the comments about the kinds of difficulties people who just plain don't have enough money continually face and the toll it takes. I can attest to this personally, having lived for some years having to juggle not enough money -- I'm talking NOT ENOUGH MONEY. Not a matter of wanting to blow it on trivia, I mean having to constantly be behind on utilities, driving old cars until they died, not having health insurance, not having enough for food at times, all new clothes from GoodWill, etc. Combination of illness and self-employment, which, thank heaven, has passed. I'm in a much better place now but I can tell you that not-having-enough is miserable in a multitude of ways.

    This study nails it as over and over I was confronted with having to select among a series of bad choices: keep the electricity on means can't pay the car insurance on time means will pay penalty means can't get food for 2 more days means try not to get too depresssed and on and on. Money comes, pay the car insurance, buy some food. Can't get a birthday present for someone, at least not til next check arrives. Oops, car battery died. Money comes. Can buy battery and pay gas bill, with late fee. Phone is behind but caught up on water bill and avoided a shut-off. And on and on.

    This is relevant because these ID laws are aimed straight at people who will have to go through a bunch of crap to comply and the crap they go through is invisible to people who haven't been there. People who are comfortable, people who have some level of financial security -- particularly if they've been fortunate enough to always have had it --have no idea at all what it is like to struggle for money and what roadblocks that continually throws in your path.

  12. [12] 
    Paula wrote:

    My previous comment is awaiting moderation -- too long? But as an addendum: The hard time I was describing ended almost 2 years ago and I have worked hard to forget about it as much as possible because it was awful. But I want to add that, as we struggled with paying the bills (my husband and I -- we work together), we had scratched glasses that we couldn't afford to replace (eventually discovered Zenni optical online and went that route); we had teeth that needed filling that hurt, we had collectors calling all the time, and to top it off, we had several instances of our bank at the time scheduling checks and debits in order to be able to bounce a payment, charge us for an overdraft ($37.50) and charge another $37.50 every day until we were able to pay off the ever increasing balance due.

    We got money when clients paid us. For awhile we kicked ourselves, thinking we weren't updating our checkbook properly, or were missing debits somewhere. So we started calling our bank or asking the manager at our local branch: we have just deposited $130 -- when can we write a check? "Oh it will be fine on Monday." Great. Wait til Monday, go to store to get groceries. Write check for $95. Wednesday, get notice from bank that we were overdrawn. What???? They posted the $95 before the $130 deposit. They did this several times. They admitted doing it on the phone. Told me that was just the way it was, they did it because they could.

    We wised up and left that bank for a small local outfit that has been wonderful.

    Stress? Stress is when you have been living on Top Ramen for 4 days and you deposit money and see it eaten up by deliberately engineered overdrafts. While the gas company has sent you a notice that if you don't pay the bill in 2 weeks they'll shut you off.

    We learned to pay as we went. We paid off all credit cards and don't have one now. No frills at all. No cable TV. No cell phones. We certainly learned about discipline. But also about stress, fear, worry and bitterness. Especially at that bank. And at our politicians who never ever have a sense of urgency about fixing things for "the little people", at least not until massive suffering has been endured. Because they have no idea what it's like.

  13. [13] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Paula -

    Sorry about that. Comments with more than one link get automatically held for moderation. You can get around this by posting lots of comments, with one link each, rather than putting them into one comment as you tried to do.

    Again, sorry for the delay.

    -CW

  14. [14] 
    Paula wrote:

    Thanks Chris - didn't know there was a 1-link limit.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    "After the election, former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer told The Palm Beach Post that the explicit goal of the state’s voter-ID law was Democratic suppression.

    "Democrat voter suppression"... While that is despicable, it's not the same thing as minority voter suppression..

    I can point to hundreds of links that show Democrats attempts at Republican voter suppression..

    Further, that's the opinion of one person. It's not necessarily indicative of the Right as a whole. Again, I can find numerous quotes of similar nature from Democrats and the Left...

    This is relevant because these ID laws are aimed straight at people who will have to go through a bunch of crap to comply and the crap they go through is invisible to people who haven't been there. People who are comfortable, people who have some level of financial security -- particularly if they've been fortunate enough to always have had it --have no idea at all what it is like to struggle for money and what roadblocks that continually throws in your path.

    I feel for the lack of money issues. I too have been there. When my wife and I were first starting out we were broke too and had to make many of the same decisions you had to make.

    Such is life. It's never "fair".. It just is...

    But the simple fact is, only American citizens can vote. Unless one lives on a high mountain in the wilderness completely cut off from ALL civilization for their entire life they are going to need a photo ID at some point in their lives..

    Finally, if having a photo ID to vote would HELP, not hinder, Democrat voting you can bet that Democrats would be pushing photo ID to the high heavens..

    Such is is with politics and political Partys. Dems and GOP exist to screw over the other Party at the expense of the American people.

    We learned to pay as we went. We paid off all credit cards and don't have one now. No frills at all. No cable TV. No cell phones. We certainly learned about discipline. But also about stress, fear, worry and bitterness. Especially at that bank. And at our politicians who never ever have a sense of urgency about fixing things for "the little people", at least not until massive suffering has been endured. Because they have no idea what it's like.

    One of the nice things about having crappy credit (like we do) is that we never get approved for credit cards. :D

    Again, I feel for that situation. Been there ourselves.

    But what I don't understand is why you put your faith in Democrats to make such situations better..

    Their track record clearly shows that they make things worse, not better..

  16. [16] 
    Paula wrote:

    Michale: Was tied up with stuff over the long weekend, but mused on this and wanted to respond -

    2 things:

    first, with respect to repubs specifically, knowingly using their power to suppress voting -- your response seems to boil down to "well Dems would do it too if it would work for them" -- roughly the "both sides do it" response. Which is really an evasion of the issue. You don't want to face up to the fact that the repubs are doing something particularly dirty and you are using a variety of rationalizations to avoid looking straight at it. Saying that it isn't that onerous to get an id is also an evasion or excuse.

    Second: But what I don't understand is why you put your faith in Democrats to make such situations better.."

    The short answer is "I don't". I have very little faith in any political leaders, Dems included. I think the Democratic party went off the rails, in particular when Bill Clinton and the "Third Way" chumps decided to buddy up to business at the expense of labor and when he ended Glass Steagall and the Fairness Doctrine. The Dems were useless during the Iraq War fiasco; they sat back while GW stacked courts with reactionary Federalist Society nutbags; they bought into a lot of bullshit like the Bankruptcy Bill, etc. The list would take pages.

    The problem is, when it comes to having to elect people, the repubs are significantly worse. Dems may buy into economic nonsense; they are too enmeshed in the beltway bubble and way too beholden to large corporations and lobbyists -- all bad. But they are, to a degree, reachable while the repubs are almost completely closed. Dems often fail by acts of omission, but the Pubs fail by acts of extreme commission. Dems can be clueless but Pubs are cruel. Clueless can be educated; cruel is a character flaw.

    And, at this point in time, the Dems, in various ways, with various motivations, at least want to try to solve problems, whereas the Pubs are making no attempts whatsoever to actually grapple with current reality.

    Real change doesn't come from politicians, it comes as a result of effective activism. Activists ultimately influence the Press, the Public, and then, Politicians. Activists on the left work for social and economic justices. Activists on the right work to increase limitations, divisions and injustice. The left is about inclusion, the right is about exclusion.

    Neither side succeeds all the time or without a lot of effort; neither side is perfect, unflawed, utterly moral. But if and when we have to choose sides, which, in elections, we typically do, I will pick inclusion and social justice over exclusion and injustice.

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    first, with respect to repubs specifically, knowingly using their power to suppress voting -- your response seems to boil down to "well Dems would do it too if it would work for them" -- roughly the "both sides do it" response. Which is really an evasion of the issue. You don't want to face up to the fact that the repubs are doing something particularly dirty and you are using a variety of rationalizations to avoid looking straight at it. Saying that it isn't that onerous to get an id is also an evasion or excuse.

    Not at all.. I am simply saying that the charge you level at Republicans can ALSO be leveled at Democrats.

    I am not commenting on the validity of the charge whatsoever.

    Neither side succeeds all the time or without a lot of effort; neither side is perfect, unflawed, utterly moral. But if and when we have to choose sides, which, in elections, we typically do, I will pick inclusion and social justice over exclusion and injustice.

    And yet, Democrats practice exclusion and injustice on a daily basis...

    Democrats exclude and victimize anyone who doesn't hold to their beliefs..

    In that, they are no different than Republicans...

  18. [18] 
    Paula wrote:

    I am not commenting on the validity of the charge whatsoever.

    Whadaya mean? Then what is the point of the discussion?

    By saying you "could level" the charge at Democrats as well you are rendering any and all argument pointless. Yes, I can say "Nuns eat kittens" and say "Lutherans eat kittens" and say "republicans eat kittens" equally well, but at that point I'm just typing words into a space, with no meaning at all.

    I am charging that Republicans are explicitly, deliberately and knowingly enacting laws for the purpose of suppressing the votes of people they know will not vote republican and my opinion is that it is vile. At this point you can agree, or disagree, or say you don't know. You can argue about 2 things: one, ARE THEY deliberately suppressing the Vote? AND two, is it vile?

    Because they are doing it as we write. This isn't a theoretical discussion about what various politicians might do or what some Democrat might have done at some point in history. This is now and it is happening. And if you were able to present an example of a Democratic-controlled state legislature in this country right now that is ramming through this type of legislation I would stand by my position that it is vile. But there aren't any.

    As to your second point: Democrats exclude and victimize anyone who doesn't hold to their beliefs. that's not even an argument, it is a cop out. No doubt Dems have passed legislation you don't like, but that is not the same as "victimizing" or "excluding" or practicing "injustice". You have to be specific about what they're doing and why it is wrong in your opinion. Otherwise it's just a general, random "your mother!" and fails as an argument.

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