I wrote this four years ago. Unfortunately it’s just as true today as then. Time for a change.
In a NEW YORK MINUTE
This piece has nothing to do with New York or a minute. It is somewhat inspired by the Don Henley (formerly of The Eagles) song of the same name, but only because of a couple of memorable lyrics, “Somebody’s going to Emergency… Somebody’s going to Jail”. As I watch the early voting take place, the sometimes 8 hour waits in line, bomb threats, shortened early voting with no pretense other than making voting harder and to sway an election. Onerous new ID laws exist, tantamount in some cases to an illegal poll tax. While all this is done at the behest of the usual suspects. This voter suppression is being carried out by the state and I’m thinking that somebody needs to really go to jail.
What would happen if a criminal complaint was filed against Jon Husted in Ohio, Ric Scott in Florida or everyone in a state legislature that voted for these suppression efforts? The closest we came was when Jon Husted would have been required to personally appear before a judge to show cause why he was failing to comply with a court order. Husted backed down and apologized but I’d have loved to have seen him jailed for not only the contempt he showed for the court but for the American people whose right to vote is supposed to be sacrosanct.
There’s a story about the legendary center for the Boston Celtic’s, Bill Russell. He allegedly didn’t like the amount of physical play directed against him and asked coach Red Auerbach what to do? Red told him that all he needed to do was throw one hard elbow on national TV and everyone would leave him alone!
It’s time for the Justice Department to throw a bow! Instead of filing mild complaints and civil suits and asking nicely, when a government official participates in voter suppression, put them in jail. When they restrict the rights of citizens to vote, put them in jail. When they knowingly purge the rolls of eligible voters, because there might be a few bad ones in the mix… jail, jail jail! How many legislators previously acting with impunity would do the same if they had to wonder about sleeping in a cell? They might think twice before enacting legislation handed to them by A.L.E.C. and actually consider if it violates the Voting Rights Act and what is the impact on the citizens they’re supposed to represent. I’m thinking mandatory sentences, expulsion from the legislative body and million dollar fines are in order as well.
They engage in suppression now because there is no penalty. Knowing this they are able to put Party ahead of the people with utter disdain. Somebody needs to go to jail!
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