More than 6 million United States citizens are currently denied the right to vote due to state laws that disenfranchise citizens who have been convicted of a felony. More than 75 percent of these disenfranchised citizens are not in prison, and more than half have completed all terms of parole and probation.
What do we do when we finally understand that the elections really are stolen? Or rigged? Or thrust out of our reach by the manipulations of rich and powerful people? Corrupted by corporations? How long does it take before we call the bluff? Another disappointing election cycle? Two? Three? How much more gerrymandering, corporate buying of elections, voter disenfranchisement, and outright fraud can we stand? When will we take seriously the necessity of change?
When will the authoritarians and their political henchmen stop harassing American voters and let all citizens vote? No other Western country comes close to imposing so many obstructions for certain categories of people to keep them from the voting booth. In Canada, England, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, it is very easy to vote.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Signed by the United States and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 10, 1948, the document was a great and shining step forward in the articulation of how human beings might organize their social and political systems in accord with democratic and civilized ideals.
Most of the media’s attention on journalist Michael Wolff’s “explosive” new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House has focused on the disclosure that Trump’s former political strategist Steve Bannon used the words “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” to describe Donald Trump, Jr. and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner’s infamous June 2016 meeting with Russians claiming to possess damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
A recurrent problem with some who read Left essays on U.S. politics is that a writer of such essays can’t criticize a Republican policymaker or politician without some “radical” reader sending that writer a snotty lecture on the writer’s supposed failure to understand that Barack Obama, the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, and rest of the top Democrats are terrible too.
A story that appeared in the leading inside-Washington political journal The Hill last week bore a headline that ought to send a chill down the spine of anyone who believes in democracy: “Half of Republicans Would Back Postponing 2020 Election if Trump Proposed It.” Read the report’s opening 90 words and let them sink in: Continue reading →