George R.R. Martin Bashes GOP Over 'Voter Suppression'

George R.R. Martin Bashes GOP Over 'Voter Suppression'

George R.R. Martin is not too thrilled with the Republican party--or at least, the members who are backing laws to disenfranchise voters. He recently posted a rant on his blog, calling them "oligarchs and racists clad in the skins of dead elephants". Burn! 

Here's an excerpt from Martin's diatribe: 

I am way too busy these days for long political rants.

But I would be remiss if I do not at least make passing mention of how depressed, disgusted, and, yes, angry I've become as I watch the ongoing attempts at voter suppression in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, and other states where Republicans and their Teabagger allies control key seats of power.

It is one thing to attempt to win elections. But trying to do so by denying the most basic and important right of any American citizen to hundreds and thousands of people, on entirely spurious grounds... that goes beyond reprehensible. That is despicable.

Consequently, a Pennsylvania judge just upheld a Republican-drafted, state voter ID law, requiring all voters to produce a photo ID in order to vote, a measure designed to keep minorities (who are usually Democrats) from voting (as many as 1 in 10 Americans don't have a government-issued ID, and many lack the proper identification to get one). 

Martin's post, by the way, definitely garnered some attention--an addendum at the bottom notes that comments on it are locked (there are currently 440). 

As a former political operative, I'm a big fan of A Song of Ice and Fire--it's an incredibly accurate allegory for insider politics. Do you enjoy that aspect of the books? And what do you think of Martin wading into the debate? 

Image of A Clash of Kings (HBO Tie-in Edition): A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two
Author: George R. R. Martin
Price: $8.99
Publisher: Bantam (2012)
Binding: Mass Market Paperback, 1040 pages

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iBronco's picture
iBronco from New Jersey is reading White Noise August 15, 2012 - 11:00am

To keep minorities from voting? That isn't the goal but a by-product of the law. It is meant to recognize citizens' right to vote and deter indivuduals who have illegally crossed our borders. I'm not for the law, any enforcement from the government such as this is wrong, but we should try and represent the sides we don't agree with in fairness. 

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer August 15, 2012 - 11:05am

Sort of like I said on the stories about Blatty and Card, I would rather fiction authors and other celebrities stay out of politics, but I appreciate their right to say whatever they want about their beliefs.

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this August 15, 2012 - 11:47am

iBronco, a recent study by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University found 10 instances of alleged-in person fraud since 2000. Here's the link.

Here's a link to a lot of data that demonstrates very clearly that ID laws disenfranchise millions of voters, the majority of them minorities and seniors. 

Pennsylvania's House majority leader, Mike Turzai, a Republican, said, on the record, that the law cited in this article "is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done."

So, yes, if you look at the facts, it certainly is the goal of this law, and these types of laws in general--to favor one particular candidate over another. 

FupDuck's picture
FupDuck from Beavercreek, OH is reading American on Purpose August 15, 2012 - 12:23pm

I don't know the details of the Pennsylvania law, but in Ohio no ID does not stop you from voting AND you do NOT need a government-issued ID.  There are alternatives to voter verification and you can always cast a provisional ballot.  Here is the link to my county's voter verification information for all your educational needs.  I'm sure there are similar Board of Elections websites for all counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, and other states.

Articles about topics like this are misinformation, scare tactics and demagoguery.  We can all agree that this is going to be a strongly contested election and possibly very ugly.  As an undecided independant voter, I am dumbfounded by the amount of mistruths being spilled by both sides and the media.

Please keep consider keeping politically motivated "literary news" off of litreactor.  Not as censorship, but rather as in good taste.  I admonish you for debasing yourself and this wonderful literary website.

Vonnegut Check's picture
Vonnegut Check from Baltimore August 15, 2012 - 12:46pm

Say it with me: Facts are good; Republican narrative is bullsh*t.

But don't take my word ...

EDIT: Also, notice how the Republicans aren't attacking absentee ballots (which actually have a higher level of fraud)--and those ballots are used more by Republican voters than Democratic ones. Strange, eh?


Lynne Favreau's picture
Lynne Favreau from Boston is reading Being Wrong August 15, 2012 - 12:27pm

That my first blog post was political came as a big surprise to me. Though I've posted a few short pieces on Tumblr that are political in nature, they are just personal rants rather than thoughtful missives.

Mr. Martin's diatribe is understandable but it doesn't sway anyone who may have reservations about voting along GOP lines. In fact it has the opposite affect. But influence wasn't his objective, he was just blowing off a little steam.

The problem with diatribes are the more you attack the other side, rather than engage in discussion, the more resistant they become, the deeper they dig in to protect "their" side. No matter the veracity of your words, opposing parties can't hear them with finger shoved in their ears shouting "Lalalalala."

Funny, I too used the word despicable this week—

"It is despicable to suggest those who are demanding a more equitable distribution of the necessary cuts, and costs of protecting and rebuilding our economy are merely trying to steal from the rich because of some kind of classist bias against the wealthy. It’s not your wealth we are after, it is unpaid taxes that you should be legally required to pay, nothing less than what is fair, nothing more.."

And I beg to differ with iBronco's comment that blocking minorities isn't the Republican's agenda. Voter suppression began in ernest after minorities and our younger populace turned out in droves to elect Obama. It is clearly the agenda in states where minorites are least likley to hold identification and here in Massachusetts where routine compliance with voter registrations laws—that would likley bring more minorities/democrats to the polls, were attacked by the Republicans. Enacting laws that keep minorities away from the polls, fighting laws that draw them in, sounds like an agenda with a goal to me.




Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks August 15, 2012 - 1:03pm

Indiana is a beacon for all those who disagree with Martin.

I can't vote because we passed this law here in 2006. I can't get an ID because I'm broke, don't have the right paperwork, and had my license suspended because -- get this -- my ID was expired when I was pulled over and the subsequent ticket was too expensive to pay. So I can't even show them my license.

Refer to the above posts for the links to statistics about how much voter fraud actually happens. Then tell me that the GOP isn't trying to suppress voters, specifically those exactly like me -- working poor Democrats.

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from Danville Virginia is reading The Iron Council, by China Mieville August 15, 2012 - 1:34pm

Good for you, George. 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 15, 2012 - 3:01pm

If you can't figure out how to get a ID with a few months notice I'm fine with you not voting.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like August 15, 2012 - 2:11pm

It's pretty sketchy that they're doing this so close to an election; it makes what should be an otherwise harmless safeguard into a crap-storm.  (I get it: I need ID to buy a six-pack, so why the hell not to vote?)  I'd probably be totally fine with it if they did it next year, because if someone doesn't get an ID in two years, they probably don't want to vote so bad; as it is, given the timing, I do have my doubts about the motivation behind it.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like August 15, 2012 - 2:24pm

Just ranting -- I didn't answer Rob's question. Haven't read SOIAF, but the author should say whatever he wants.

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks August 15, 2012 - 5:04pm

Buying a six-pack isn't protected by the constitution.

I get it, though. They've given us "enough time." Except I don't have an ID so I can't get a copy of my social security card or birth certificate, which were ruined in a house fire, and without those documents, I can't get an ID. And my tickets were issued because I didn't have an actual address when I got my license so I never got the actual card, so my ID expired; so I got a ticket for not having my license on me, and for having an expired ID, and for driving with people in my car without being able to prove that I have a license and not a permit. So basically, I got those tickets because I was fucking homeless.

And then the tickets are upwards of $500, and I made that in a month at my last job. How am I supposed to save that money when I have to pay for gas, school supplies, a renewable parking permit for school, required books for school, and food? Then, since my license was suspended for not paying my tickets, I have to go to court to get my license reinstated, which requires a lawyer.

So yeah -- a few months isn't enough. In two years, I could probably do it. I'm on the verge of just taking out a goddamn student loan just to cover the costs so I can put in my vote to get the fuckers out of office.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 15, 2012 - 7:15pm

I'd like you to invite you to vote Zombie. We'll eat everyone who you owe money. To show you we are even handed, we'll eat your brain too.