By far, one of the most disturbing and fascinating things to come out of this recent election is the revelation of how much Republicans resent the concept of universal suffrage. Previous attempts to scream “voter fraud!” in response to people they don’t like voting at least dressed it up a little as actual concern about fraud, but lately even that thin veneer has busted, and instead we’re getting a continuous stream of conservatives all but admitting they would like to return to property, race, and possible gender restrictions on who gets to vote. Take Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster:
In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day. Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in town knows anyone who’s black. How did that happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out….
I’m not politically correct and maybe I shouldn’t have said these voters were black, but anyone who suggests I have a bias toward any race or group, frankly, that’s sleazy.
I want to know how Maine got ballots where you put your race on them. If there are towns that only have a few black people, that seems like it would be a pretty quick way to figure out how they voted, which goes against that whole “secret ballot” thing. Which does lead me to my second concern about his concerns about “voter fraud”: If one was really trying to vote fraudulently, wouldn’t it be smarter to send white people and/or write “white” in that mysterious race ballot bubble. So many questions!
Nah, not really. Basically he’s just trying to find a way to say that he thinks black voters are defrauding the system simply by existing, and he can’t really find a clever way to do it. All jokes aside, it’s worth pointing out that this sort of thing all but asks wingnuts outright to hang out by polls to stop black voters while growling, “You’re not from around these parts, are you?” So thanks for that, asshole.
Charlie Webster is far from the only Republican who is deeply concerned about dark conspiracies aimed at putting hapless Republican voters in geographic situations that involve the strong chance of racial diversity. As reported by Mother Jones, the Republican leader in the state senate convened a closed-door meeting for the caucus last month, where they were subjected to a presentation about how Obama and the United Nations are working together for a fascist takeover of the U.S. The horrors that they imagine being subjected to are oh so telling:
In the eyes of conservative activists, Agenda 21 is a nefarious plot that includes forcibly relocating non-urban-dwellers and prescribing mandatory contraception as a means of curbing population growth.
You will be forced to live in cities! And forced to have non-procreative sex! What other horrors are in store? Forcible consumption of organic broccoli?!
Obviously, forced relocation and forced contraception are bad things, but just as obviously, these things are not going to happen. But it’s just amazing what the right wing imagination comes up with. I’m particularly amused by the idea that those evil urban liberals are so desperate for them to be our neighbors that we’re ready to use force. Because what we want more than anything in the world is to live next to the people who would rather be in a gated community, and who are going to watching your comings and goings like a hawk and complaining if they think your Christmas wreath is too big.