It’s getting hard to believe that these people were elected in America. Personally, I gasped aloud after reading every proposal in the Senate’s new voter-discrimination bill. The legislation attacks democracy and American values so aggressively it’s hard to believe the bill’s sponsors made it into power, even through quasi-rigged elections.

The proposals attack core American values to an astonishing degree. For example, it repeals a program that lets 16 and 17 year olds pre-register to vote. When a party begins legislating against civic participation in the schools, it has departed from our country’s republican traditions and entered something else. (I won’t say what.) Given that, to say this bill returns us to the 1950’s insults that decade’s finest legacy. Norman Rockwell would cringe if he knew someone was discouraging acts of citizenship.

With this bill, Republicans take their disrespect for our history to a revolting new level. By banning paid voter registration drives, HB589 opens up the possibility of someone being jailed for registering voters. Thus, voter registration drives could hypothetically become a replay of “Mississippi Freedom Summer,” when people were imprisoned for connecting African Americans to the ballot. That provision brings Republicans to a new low, reinstating the codes of an evil system.

If the bill passes intact, it will be clear that the Republicans do not “hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” They will have taken the aristocratic creeds that our forbears expelled first from this continent and then from this state, and invited them back home in ignominy.

 

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