Sunday, March 11, 2012

Voter Suppression: It's Easy to Ignore in Montgomery, Alabama

The 2012 Voting Rights March ended Friday. Mirroring the original march from Selma to Montgomery, this demonstration principally called attention to the national trend towards state sanctioned voter suppression in the form of Voter ID laws. These are laws which threaten to disenfranchise the elderly, the poor and minorities. They are sponsored across the nation in state houses that are dominated by overwhelmingly Republican majorities and are seen to target voters who traditionally tend to vote Democratic. They are also laws enacted without a shred of solid evidence of the Voter ID fraud toward which they are ostensibly aimed.

What is particularly interesting is, when looking at how local Montgomery television news outlets chose to report the event, there was hardly a mention (hardly as in virtually no mention) of the target of Voter ID laws. The emphasis was placed on another, equally important issue of march organizers - Alabama's Arizona-like anti-undocumented immigrant laws.

Again, it's a fitting issue. While I have not focused on this aspect of the march, it is intriguing that local news mentioned this issue, literally to the exclusion of the Voter ID protest. The anti-undocumented sentiment in some sections of the country is as scurrilous as are the attempts to suppress the votes of minorities and the poor. Both speak to the unwillingness of those in power to make room for and share power with, a segment of our nation's populace who will soon comprise the demographic majority of the U.S. - people of color. It also speaks to the willingness of haves to protect their interest to the economic exclusion of the middle-class and the poor.

But to literally fail to mention the Voter ID laws, is especially telling. That suggests that if opposition to these laws is not mentioned they will be seen (if not already are seen) as an inevitable condition of the electoral landscape.

That's only true if we allow that to be the case...

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