“A veteran Democratic congresswoman from Indianapolis, Julia Carson, ran into trouble when she tried to vote on primary day by displaying her Congressional identification card. It had her picture on it, but she was told that was not enough. She needed something issued by the state or federal government that had an expiration date on it.” Bob Herbert’s Op-Ed, “Shouting Over the Din,” NY Times, 11/6/06


I imagine most of us have had the all too typical experience of being ripped off by one of the major credit card companies — sudden interest rate increases for no reason (late payment or whatever), sudden increases in fees, etc.  As I recall, interest on credit cards used to be limited to 12%.  Then the lobbies went to work and one is not surprised to see 31.99% interest which amounts to repaying the principal on a card without paying it off every three years.

But frankly what is most outrageous now are the games played by our Republicans with our most basic democratic institutions — criminal cheating in gerrymandering districts (Texas), devious tactics to bar voters from casting their ballots such as the outrageous instance quoted by Bob Herbert above — one needs a picture ID with an expiration date?  Suppose my license expired last month and as a good citizen I am not driving because of vision problems and have no reason to renew my license.  I am to be barred from voting when I walk into the polling station?  Apparently so with the Republicans in charge here, there, and elsewhere — including controlling the media that should be alerting people to the tricks being played on them.

I was startled the other day when I asked a class of my students how many were planning to vote — a few hands went up.  Many if not most had not registered.  Most did not know who their representatives were — Congressional, let alone state!  These were not stupid or inconsiderate students.  Then were all too typical of their generation.  They have apparently bought the Republican mantra that it doesn’t make any difference for whom one votes — the Democrats are no different than the Republicans.  And besides, it is a real chore to discover how to qualify to vote, where to vote, and whom to vote for.  I gather only about 20% of college and slightly older ones bother to go to the polls.  But needless to say, our seniors are smart enough to get there on a stretcher, if necessary.  I pointed out to my students that seniors get guaranteed medical care (Medicare) because the pols would not dare to cut them out.  I also pointed out that these same pols are running up huge deficits and will not be around when the Social Security funds to which they are contributing will have been stolen away to cover the big time tax cuts for the super rich, the wars of choice here and there, the corporate benefits — for CEOs.   Bush has jumped the big hole in our budgets from $20 trillion when he came into office to $43 trillion in only five short years.  Only when it is too late will they discover that they have been had — the coming generation which will be faced with disaster most likely along the lines of that of 1929 when the market also was rewarding the well off while the working folks were slip-sliding on thin ice.

And I am running into too many middle aged ones who are being down-sized, pensions and medical insurance being snatched away — bit by bit, if not totally Enroned.

And so it goes.  These who do not inform themselves will be the ones who are blanked down the line.  How sad that America is being taken over by a band of neo fascists (There is nothing conservative about the so-called neo-cons).  Let’s call them what they are — killers and thieves on a par with those who eventually launched WW2.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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