A Modest Proposal to Improve Voter ID Laws

Go ahead -- make my day.

Go ahead — make my day.

Richard Sahn

In the tradition of Jonathan Swift, I have a modest proposal to improve voter ID laws: a “stand your ground” law outside of the polls.  You know: the same law in Florida which helped to exonerate George Zimmerman from the charge of murdering Trayvon Martin.  With a “stand your ground” law at the polls, any citizen could simply neutralize any suspect voter that they see as a threat.

All you gotta do is say that a “have-not” voter was about to cast a vote that placed your “have” way of life, hence your life itself, in danger and it’s open season.  The poor, because they’re poor, are unlikely to have (enough) guns to resist.  Blast away!

We all know that proponents of voter ID laws aren’t concerned about voter fraud since the latter essentially doesn’t exist.  No–their true agenda is to stop poor people (and especially people of color) from voting in elections.  Keeping the poor from voting makes good sense if you support conservative Republicans.  Sure, it’s undemocratic but so what?

As the great football coach, Vince Lombardi once said, “winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”  What Lombardi meant is that you win by any means necessary.  Again, why bother with this petty voter ID crap?  Such laws only compel people to make excuses for obtaining what they believe is rightfully theirs in the first place—namely because they believe themselves to be stronger and better.

The poor, with their bleeding heart liberal and progressive supporters, are poor precisely because they’re weak and lazy. In nature the weak die, the strong prosper.  I’m on the side of the strong.  Aren’t you?

Now, the preceding Swiftian proposal is entirely satirical, of course.  What I seek to expose is the tawdry veil of ideological explanations of unethical laws and policies.  That which is truly ethical or moral (social justice) never needs to be rationalized. Ideologies and what Marx called “false consciousness” never have to be applied.

Voter ID laws are disguised in ethical and ideological terms as upholding the law and preventing fraud.  But we all know they’re just cynical and amoral efforts to further disenfranchise the underclass.

Of course, voter ID enthusiasts know this.  But returning to the land of Swift, are they not overly timid?  If they truly want to disenfranchise the underclass—to deny their existence in the voting booth—to deny their citizenship—why not declare open season on them at the polls?

And after you bag your limit at the polls, you can then eat them.  The Malthusian riddle solved—just as Jonathan Swift intended!

Richard Sahn is a professor of sociology and an at-large contributor to The Contrary Perspective.

2 thoughts on “A Modest Proposal to Improve Voter ID Laws

  1. Voter ID laws are a well thought out part of those who are succeeding in making our democracy into a dictatorship. They go hand in glove with disenfranchising criminals, even after they have paid a price for their crime. They are part of the very legal procedure of gerrymandering districts to minimize popular democratic voters and expanding and perpetuating right wing voting districts. They are part of making sure that the right voters have fast and easy access to vote on Tuesdays while the ‘wrong’ voters have to wait in long lines. And our system of voting on Tuesdays, a day that makes it difficult for the ‘working ‘ class to vote persists rather than having two days of voting with one of the days being on Saturday. It is no longer a joke but a concerted effort to subvert our constitution and our very form of govenment.

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