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Jon Ortiz: Lack of tolerance in this community staggering

To the editor:

Thank you Gazette for being brave enough to publish someone who voices an opposing opinion. I’m sure most of your readers will immediately call columnist Jay Fleitman a racist, sexist, homophobe, bigot, etc., for merely having a different opinion, but he’s probably used to it by now.

The lack of tolerance and close-mindedness in an area like this, which loves to preach diversity, is staggering, but typical.

Jon Ortiz

Northampton

Related

Josh Mintzer: Conservative columnist needed, but should fact-check own side

Friday, August 23, 2013

To the editor: Certainly it is in our community’s best interest to have different voices offering up opinions and viewpoints. Especially in such a “blue” enclave as this, we owe it to ourselves to avoid the dangers of group-think and “the echo chamber.” With that said, could not the Gazette find a more capable conservative voice than columnist Jay Fleitman? … 9

In this discussion, there seems to be a lack of clarity. Setting the issues of voter ID and voter fraud aside, for a moment, I believe a better response is to ask how on earth does slashing early voting hours (FL,OH,etc), closing and combining polls (NC), challenging the constitutionally protected rights of out of state students to vote where they go to school (NC) and eliminating on campus voting (NC) protect against "Fraud"? It isn't just racist as with poll taxes and Jim Crow laws of the not-so-distant past. It's a centralized,coordinated nationwide plan to suppress voting by groups that traditionally vote democrat , students,minorities,the poor, the elderly by what ever means necessary. Eliminating Sunday voting ("Souls to the Polls") has nothing to do with voter fraud. The fact that NorthCarolina unleashed the most extreme roadblocks to voting in the nation,right after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, is proof enough that this about increasing and maintaining the Republican's grip on power. One can thank 2010 gerrymandering for this. In the last election Democrats received about 1 million more total votes than Republicans for the House yet the Republicans received 54% of the seats! I DO believe that voter ID laws are intended to suppressthe vote, not combat poorly documented voting 'fraud'. This belief is strongly supported by frank,unabashed comments such as those made by MIke Turzai (R), PA House Majority leader just prior to the last election:"Voter ID (laws), which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania; done! "

I guess its sort of like the IRS going after conservative groups (which I thought only happened in places like the Soviet Union). That would be the most recent example of voter suppression to come to mind. How was that left off your list? Oh - it was a phoney scandal, my apologies to you. And when you use terms like slashing a less pejorative term and more accurate would be reducing because in the case of NC, its reducing the number of days of early voting from 17 to 10. Of course the dems object to it because they can use their union friends to put on a big ground game of gotv. Oven it takes several days to nag people into being picked up and taken to a polling place (with maybe a little walking around money or a promise of a free lunch thrown in). http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/06/walking-around-money-how-machine-politics-works-in-america-today/276503/

Did you actually read this article you posted? Because I don't think it makes the argument you are trying to make. For example, North and South Carolina are separate states, and St. Louis is in Missouri (check your map) so it doesn't say much about "the case of NC." It also opens with Michel Bachman's issues, and I'm pretty sure she's a Republican. You "oven" make this kind of mistake, which makes your posts all the more endearing. Thanks for once again slashing--er, i mean "reducing"--the intellectual level of these threads.

I was trying to point out why democrats are against reducing early voting days from 17 to 10 (hardly slashing in my books). The reason democrats are against this is becuase of they want the time for their extensive get out the vote efforts which they use due to the fact they have labor union members who work for them bringing sometimes not so enthusiastic voters to the polls. The reason they do go to vote is often because of "walking around money" which usually flows all the way down to individual voters. Thats the dirty secrect about early voting the democrats don't want people to know about. Not only are people getting cash to vote they often get free meals and other goodies. For example John Kerry spent $100,000's in walking around money in Philadelphia alone. Thats why Republicans want to limit early voting. Got the connection? "In 2004, John Kerry reportedly dropped hundreds of thousands on the street in Philadelphia alone, though ultimately the Republicans' all-volunteer ground game was widely seen as superior -- and Kerry lost."

I guess I can give you partial credit for TRYING to point something out, since nowadays everyone gets a trophy for showing up at the game. We're politically correct like that. But as someone whose sincerely trying to humor you, I'd be remiss not to point out that if you'd read just a few paragraphs lower (which I know is really taxing for you, but bear with me) you would have gotten to the bit about how "The Obama campaigns -- with Obama's unique profile as the first black presidential nominee -- pushed to cleanse the Democratic Party of "walking-around money" in 2008 and 2012." True, that strategy hasn't worked as well for congressional candidates, and he got pushback from local operatives. But if the differences between this tradition and Obamas famous "ground game" were well known, why was it this whole issue of voter ID came so strongly in 2012? Yes, I know, this is probably a lie that I believe because I am a progressive socialist obama-zombie moonbat elitist, but I'm crippled by the inability to view the word through gary-facts so you'll have to bear with me as I try to form informed opinions. ALSO, keep in mind that the article says NOTHING specific to North Carolina, which is where the time "slashing / reducing" figure refers to. This is nitpicky, but this tendency that you have to generalize from one case to all others gets us back to that tendency of shoehorning reality into simple arguments that is the hallmark of the gary-fact. Finally, the whole gist of the article is about how both Republicans and Democrats can be expected to develop new strategies of palm-greasing--like those that got Bachman in trouble--ahead of 2014 and 2016. Why is it only republicans are making a stink about voter ID? Either pick your articles better, or resign yourself to the fact that your reality is not likely to be supported by legitimate media sources. No one will think less of you.

i am trying to point out that the republicans are trying (in more than just NC) to reduce early voting because they think this leads to being out worked by the dems get out the vote machine (with the seiu showing up at the door with a free ride to the polls and a free visa debit card for $25 to cover "lunch money"). This is a national trend the repubs are trying to implement. Its not really racist in nature as such. they just don't like the advantage this gives to the dems. wasn't that the original thing the comment by mr norris was about? disenfranchising minority/old/student voters? i understand the article and obama not feeling he had to pay his natural constituent supporters to show up at the polls. the problem the article also brought up was what will hillary do in 2016? Will she resort to paying street money in a gotv effort? Hillary is not going to be the shoein you think she is.

I know what you were trying to point out, but all that you have managed to prove is your apparent inability to read English and/or hold together a cohesive argument. Obviously, the article contradicts what you thought it was saying. Now, apparently, you are agreeing with Mr. Norris after initially suggesting that the "lunch money" issue was purely a democratic practice. You seem to be saying that it is fair for republicans to pass laws limiting early voting becayse they fear that more early voting leads to their "being out worked by the dems." Are you saying you want to level the playing field so that the Republicans stand a chance with their sub-par ground game, so that they can generate voters that don't actually seem to exist? My, my! That sounds like affirmative action for republican candidates! Republican campaigners should learn about the dignity of hard work and take personal responsibility for their own campaigning rather than try to use laws imposed by the government to give them a helping hand. I don't think that Hilary (or anyone else) is a shoo-in, but given demographic trends, I think republican candidates have an uphill battle in any national race, or any race where they haven't pre-jerrymandered the voting district. And what, WHAT, pray tell is a "natural constituent supporter"?

Tolerance for someone else's intolerance? Tell me another!

For example, at the end of his last column, he writes this: "Since the point of my writing a column is to represent the conservative viewpoint, let me be clear that our interest in implementing voter identification processes does not have to do with suppressing minority voters, but does have everything to do with a profound distrust over widespread voter fraud." Widespread voter fraud? Do tell? Yes, I'm sure you can find an example or two of someone voting for a dead guy, or someone trying to rig the absentee voter system, but "widespread" ?

Yeah, his last column was an especially brilliant piece of hackery. Now, whenever anyone disputes anything Fleitman says, no matter how outlandish, he and the party faithful can blame it on the "offendocracy." Mr. Ortiz's letter is a case in point, and right on cue. Ironic how conservatives are making themselves into the new poster-children of the need for inclusion. I imagine that many of think that they are very cleverly use the political correctness of guilty leftists against them.

Al Franken won his Senate seat by 312 votes out of over 3 million cast. His vote could be considered the 60th vote for Obamacare so small amounts of voter fraud can have a big impact. Either way the vast majority of voters believe in voter ID laws. Thats a fact!

But where's the proof of in person voter fraud? IN PERSON fraud, which is the justification for ID laws. Look it up, the evidence is minimal. Compare the minimal evidence of actual in person fraud to the possibility of voters being disenfranchised by the ID laws that were proposed just in time for the election in 2012 by state legislators like those in Pennsylvania. Good legislators weigh potential harms to eligible voters against evidence of actual fraud, which is why that particular set of ID laws was not justified. By the way, you never answered my question about what constitutes a "fact" for you. Is it just the polls and surveys that say something you feel good about? What about all the numbers you decided were "fiction" in the Walmart issue?

Also, it's interesting that you say a majority "believes in" voter ID laws. The August 2012 Washington post poll, even the April 2012 Fox news poll (to which I assume you are referring) are all based on a slightly more nuanced framing of the question than just who "believes" in ID laws. In fairness, both polls do show significant majorities supporting the use of ID laws. The polls also show that the severity of that fraud was percieved differently based on party affiliation (big surprise). They also don't address the question of why republicans pounced on the idea of registration on the eve of the eleciton. But that's another story. Let's agree that the majority in the polls believes, in an abstract sense, that ID laws are necessary. Does that mean that there is empirical evidence that "extensive fraud" exists? No, there isn't . Then why do so many people believe that this fraud for which there is no evidence? Because of authors like Dr. Fleitman, who know better, but choose to repeat talking points that even moderate republicans are souring on. But the real issue here, as I said before, is about the justification of laws versus their potential effects. Passing laws based on such little evidence of actual in-person fraud is roughly equivalent to how several states have declared Bigfoot to be a protected species, just in case they have a resident sasquatch population. That said, there is probably a lot more evidence for the existence of bigfoot than there is for in-person voter fraud. The difference is, voter ID laws have been used by republicans to disenfranchise people, where I doubt that anyone should lose sleep over not being allowed to pop a cap in bigfoot.

Of course "small amounts of fraud can have a big impact." But until you show that their were examples of "fraud" I'm not inclined to make citizens jump over difficult hurdles to vote. Why, for example, isn't a photo ID issued by college in North Carolina (and a public college at that) sufficient ID for a voter to prove who he is under the new North Carolina law? The answer is because the purpose of the law is to make it hard for people without drivers licenses or the "right kind" of photo id to vote. And who are those people? They're poor, their college kids and they're the elderly.

Mostly, Jay Fleitman is just, plain, wrong.

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