A couple of months ago, my friend Ricardo Levins Morales reached out to me, asking if I was free for coffee to discuss “some mischief” with which he was involved. He thought I might be interested in the project itself, or that I could give some advice and perspective about getting the word out about ideas he had about the voter I.D. amendment.
In the last couple of years, I find myself getting more and more personally involved with political issues—to the point of wanting to help with various causes. I find it gets murky navigating my role as a journalist with my desire to help out with things I believe in, although writing this column helps me point out the transparency issues as they arise.
I mentioned to Mary Turck, my editor, that I was going to be meeting with Ricardo, and she suggested that we convince him to write a blog for the Daily Planet. We reasoned that we could provide a platform for his analysis that would reach our particular audience.
For me, I decided that getting Ricardo’s voice directly onto the site would perhaps be more beneficial than me interviewing him and writing my own piece. Of course, that means that’s one less story that I get to write, but it follows with TCDP’s mission of including a diversity of voices and besides, if you read his post, you’ll see that he is much more eloquent on the issue than I could have been.
When I met with Ricardo, he said that he indeed was working on an essay, and was open to the idea of publishing it in the Daily Planet, as he was interested in getting the message out to as many people as possible.
We talked about the two amendments that will face voters this November: the voter I.D. amendment and the marriage amendment. Before speaking with him, I assumed that anyone against one amendment would naturally be against the other. To me they are both so abhorrent that I figured anyone with a liberal bent would of course be disgusted by both.
He said that isn’t necessarily the case. Just look at the campaign against the marriage amendment: it has a lot more organization and funding behind it than campaigns against the voter I.D. amendment. He also said that at least on some fronts, there has been resistance from the anti-marriage amendment camp from taking on both issues.
Again, I was completely baffled as to why there would be any such resistance. If you haven’t read Ricardo’s blog post yet, you should: it offers an excellent description of the Republicans’ strategy in putting both on the ballot. The marriage amendment gets the bigots to the polls, and gets them to also vote for voter I.D., which would solidify the Republicans’ position for years to come.
Why? Because it’s not about stopping non-citizens from voting. It’s never been about that. Why would someone who is not a legal citizen try to vote? It would be way too risky to do so. Besides, they wouldn’t be able to anyway because under current law they wouldn’t be able to become registered. Voter I.D. law instead stops the elderly, students, and poor people from voting. You know, the people that benefit from Obamacare and a Democratic administration.
Look, I’m not in any way saying that the voter I.D. issue is more important than the marriage amendment. Clearly, they are both very important. And maybe everyone reading this already agrees with me on both counts. But if you happen to be someone that doesn’t see what is wrong with implementing voter I.D. in our state, please read Ricardo’s essay!