Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why are you attracted to organizations that consider me a racist?

The Denver Post is the “paper of record” for Colorado. Like the New York Times, it tells us “the news,” and then goes on to tell us how we should think about that news.

The second section of the Denver Post, titled “Denver and the West,” is our regional news. It tells about events that are closer to home. On Saturday (2/6/2010), we were treated to a news story on Tom Tancredo.

Mr. Tancredo served as a Congressional Representative for the 6th District in Colorado. He resigned his seat last year, and has been active in defending Republican principles. He was invited to give a speech at the National Tea Party Convention held in Nashville this past week. The front-page story of “Denver and the West” written by Lynn Bartels carried this headline:

“Tancredo blasted for poll test idea.”

The story has a picture of the former congressman, with the caption, “Tom Tancredo wants voters to have to pass a civics and literacy test.”

Ms. Bartels rounds up two individuals to provide quotes for the story. One is the head of the Democratic Party in our Colorado State Legislature:
State House Speaker Terrance Carroll, the first black speaker in Colorado history, said there's a reason Tancredo's remarks are being viewed racially.

"He's saying them in relationship to Barack Obama," said Carroll, a Denver Democrat. "What does he expect people to think?"
Ms. Bartels also quotes a source from the Southern Poverty Law Center:
"He's calling for things that, thank God, were banned and were part of Jim Crow life," said Heidi Beirich, research director at the Southern Poverty Law Center. "To me, it's an incredible thing to say. We've been down this road before. It's not a good history for us to follow."
(Please note that when the Denver Post needs a good anti-Republican quote, it turns to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Center fights against “hate”, but finds its “fight” is often against Republicans.)

And so the Denver Post gives us a news story of Republican Tom Tancredo being a racist. The story could have had a different slant, but the Denver Post chose not to go in that direction. When it provides “man-on-the-street” quotations, the Denver Post quotes from central figures in our anti-Republican culture; people described by Mr. Tancredo as having an “…obsession with race.”

Mr. Tancredo is being kind. He should have described them as having “…an obsession with labeling Republicans as racist.”

Let me provide some context.

Every couple of years, I volunteer as an Election Judge in Douglas County. I believe the integrity of the voting process is important, and hope that I can help ensure that process is accurate and verifiable.

When I worked the last general election (2008), we had a greater than normal number of “provisional ballots” cast. Provisional ballots are filled out by voters who have a discrepancy in their voting registration. Voters might have moved into the county and not updated their registration records. As a result, a person might be registered in one Colorado county, but when he or she tries to vote in a different county, that county doesn’t know about them. They cast a provisional ballot, and hope that the registration problem gets resolved in their favor. If the county finds they are not properly registered, their ballot is not counted.  Hence the term, "provisional ballot."

In the 2008 general election, several people at my polling location wanted to vote, but didn’t understand that they had to register with the county to do so. They seemed to have the idea that by virtue of being American citizens, they could vote anywhere in the United States. I remember trying to explain how you could only vote on local issues if you were a resident of that locale. It wouldn’t be fair, for instance, to cast a vote for the mayor of Parker, Colorado if you were a resident of Des Moines, Iowa.  You should be voting on Des Moines issues.

On a couple of occasions, I was met with the response, “It doesn’t matter. I only wish to vote for the President.” The voter wanted to be a participant in a significant national election, and didn’t care about any of the local issues.

Another voter didn’t appreciate that the “one person, one vote” rule required verification. He felt it was enough that he gave his word he would only vote once. If only it were true…

Contrary to Mr. Tancredo, my thought was not that these people needed more education, but that they had been educated incorrectly.

Our culture teaches that voting is a right, and should not be encumbered by such things as verification of identity or proof of registration. It is an outdated Republican principle that the sanctity of the voting right needs protection. Our culture sees Republicans as getting in the way of making things easy and simple.

Sadly, I’m willing to bet that these thoughts I'm sharing will be construed as having racist intent. The characterization would follow a “six degrees of separation” kind of logic:
Howard Towt is a Republican who works as an Election Judge.
Election Judges preserve the integrity of the voting process.
The voting process requires knowledge on the part of the voters.
Poll Tests were used during the 20th century to test the literacy of voters.
These tests were abolished by Congress because they were discriminatory.
People with dark skin tone have been subject to discrimination.
Therefore, Howard Towt is a racist.
So I am a racist, and Tom Tancredo is a racist, and Lynn Bartels writes stories that bring attention to this characterization.

Republicans often challenge the characterization, but then someone like Mike Littwin (a Denver Post columnist) will rise to the defense of our anti-Republican culture. (Mr. Littwin even uses his deceased grandmother to make the point.)

The Denver Post, Mr. Littwin, Ms. Bartels, and Mr. Littwin’s grandmother may all look back and wonder “…what the fuss was about.”

At the risk of being too direct, the “fuss” is about their response to this question:

Linked by The Other McCain!  Thanks, Smitty.  Or maybe not: " the power of the rectal pluck..."???

UPDATE 2/11/2010:
Linked by Left Coast Rebel.  I must be on to something!  Thanks for the support, Tim.

UPDATE 3/4/2010:
Legal Insurrection and The Other McCain have recent posts that bring transparency to the work of the Southern Poverty Law Center.  The links in the main body of this post (here and here) show how our Denver Post writers reference this organization.  Note how this implies legitimacy for the SPLC and that our anti-Republican culture sees no need to question SPLC motives or behavior.

UPDATE 11/26/2010:
The SPLC is in the news for being an organization worth $190 million and holding a Cayman Islands bank account.  They certainly seem to be well-funded for a tax-exempt organization.

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  1. This is a great post Howard, I'll link here to this when the 'race' topic comes up.

  2. Polarization in both Canada and the US is the worst its ever been and heading into an abyss. I believe there is no reconciliation between the two points of view. If you believe in individual rights, the far left labels you as a Wall Street loving (which kills me considering the campaign contributions obama got from them were more than mccains), war hawking bushovite. The free market is evil and wealth redistribution is the only answer regardless of how little those who are in need of this redistribution want to contribute. Yes, the far right has its own share of dolts but the collectivism of the left that is moving towards centre is scary. How about a free trade agreement where all the lefties move to canada and all the righties move to the US. I hail from the great white north so I could use a warmer climat lol.