Walk into any drug store in the United States today and try to purchase pseudoephedrine — without a photo ID. Can’t be done.
Present a prescription for a controlled substance in a pharmacy where they don’t know you. Be prepared to show a photo ID.
Remember the last time you got hired? Chances are, the employer’s representative had to complete an “I-9” form. That’s the form that documents that you have the legal right to live and work in the United States. They ask for more than just a photo ID to complete that form.
A man came into my pharmacy last week and presented a prescription for Percocet. No one in the pharmacy knew him, so the technician asked for his photo ID. He instantly became visibly upset, grabbed his prescription back and stormed out. Who leaves home these days without their ID?
Doesn’t every state in the Union offer non-drivers a photo ID?
For generations, the governing elite in our country have made every effort (and done so convincingly) to show citizens that by having the right to vote, the common every day man on the street can have an active and important role in running our country. Although my attitude is slowly changing, I’ve always believed that myself. (Did you take a course in “civics” in high school?”)
My roots are in the Deep South — Louisiana. I’m well aware of efforts to suppress the rights of some citizens to vote. I’m also aware that since 1776, sanctions/qualifications/requirements have been enforced upon citizens for them to earn the right to vote. Our country has dealt with this issue for over 200 years. Doesn’t it stand to reason that if a person is going to participate in government, that they should be literate enough to acquire information, evaluate it, and thus become an informed voter? That’s part of what makes our country a “republic” and not a “democracy” where the masses rule. (Recite the Pledge of Allegiance if you’re in doubt.) When that person arrives at the polling place, shouldn’t he/she be able to prove identity? We live in an age where identities are stolen every day.
I once knew a man in New Orleans who boasted of his ability to influence elections. He drove a van on election day to carry voters to the polls. He was paid from $5 to $10 a head. Guess who paid him? Guess who his fares voted for? Guess how much votes went for in Louisiana in the early nineties?
So now here comes Ari Berman writing for Rolling Stone pointing out what despicable measures the Republicans are enacting in order to cut down on Democrat voters. He says, “ Five states – Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia – cut short their early voting periods. Florida and Iowa barred all ex-felons from the polls, disenfranchising thousands of previously eligible voters. And six states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures – Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin – will require voters to produce a government-issued ID before casting ballots. More than 10 percent of U.S. citizens lack such identification, and the numbers are even higher among constituencies that traditionally lean Democratic – including 18 percent of young voters and 25 percent of African-Americans.”
Berman brings up a few interesting points — nothing original though. The portion quoted above does evoke a question: What is an “ex-felon?” Is that a convicted felon that had his record expunged? I always thought that a convicted felon lost his/her right to vote. Once convicted, how do you change titles to “ex-felon”? I’ve heard of “ex-cons.”
According to Berman, 10 per cent of the citizenry can’t purchase pseudoephdrine products or get a job because they can’t produce a valid photo ID. (Are these people counted in the jobless stats?) What if these potential voters suffer from sinus congestion? What if they really need a job? To heck with voting. These tax paying American citizens can’t prove who they are! But, they’ve got a little over a year to get themselves an identity. The next big national election is on November 6, 2012.
Can we think of something redeeming about a candidate that must rely on this demographic in order to get elected? Does it really matter? My friend Miriam Goldberg gave up voting eons ago. She says, “If you think your vote really matters, welcome to Fantasy Land!”