Lies Liberal Tell, Part 4 of 7
Copyright 2017,2018,2019 Joseph Urban
Lie # 4: People Believe in Basic Fairness
Liberals tend to believe in fairness. We should treat others fairly. Justice systems should be fair and honest. Above all, elections should be fair. So the real will of the people can be expressed. So the voice of the people can be reflected in the legal system. If systems are fair, we believe, all will eventually be right with the world. And we expect other Americans to feel the same way.
We are wrong. As the last 25 years have demonstrated, the right wing sees “fairness” as an obsolete concept. No longer part of our political life. The goal of the right wing is simple. Win. Win any election by any means necessary. Win by lying. Win by cheating. Win by suppressing votes. Win. Win. Win.
Of course, this is hardly new in American politics. It is seen most clearly in the election process. After all, the Jim Crow voting laws south of the Mason-Dixon line effectively disenfranchised American blacks for almost one hundred years. The Voting Rights Act passed in the 1960s finally (in theory) gave blacks the same voting rights as white Americans. Basic fairness. A liberal ideal.
Then, the right wing majority on the US Supreme Court, in Shelby County vs. Holder, gutted the Voting Rights Act. It was no longer needed. The ultra-right wing argued that no longer did certain states intentionally seek to disenfranchise black voters. So the Court ruled. Basic fairness had been achieved. What happened next?
Two HOURS. Two HOURS after the decision was released by the SCOTUS the Texas Attorney General (now Governor) Abbott announced that a new voter ID law would go into effect immediately. Alabama followed suit. Within two months North Carolina had instituted new voter restrictions. So did Mississippi. In Florida, GOP governor Rick Scott ordered the purge from voter rolls (which failed). But Florida did move a voting center (used primarily by blacks) to a new site without access to public transportation. South Carolina instituted new voter restrictions.
Jim Crow has returned. Fairness? Not an issue. Win by suppressing Democratic votes. Win by undermining the very concept of fair elections.
Of course, even before the gutting of voting rights there were ways to prevent fair elections. Nothing was more clear than in the 2000 Florida election. When the governor, who happened to be the brother of a candidate for president hired a company to purge the voting rolls. Over half of those purged were African-Americans. Who voted overwhelmingly for Democrats. And when the private company itself pointed out that , based on the state requirements, it would be purging thousands of voters who were legally entitled to vote, Governor Jeb Bush’s staff told the company to purge them anyway. We do not know how many of these thousands of black Americans showed up at the polls and were turned away with no recourse. The election was handed to George Bush when the SCOTUS refused to allow Florida to recount its votes. It worked.
In North Carolina there was an organized effort, which succeeded, in voter fraud. A GOP candidate actually hired a man who had a history of illegal activities. He paid relatives and others to collect absentee ballots and mark those ballots with the GOP candidate. Even after this corruption was revealed and exposed, the North Carolina GOP insists that the fraudulent election be upheld. Voter fraud is okay.
Beyond voting, liberals tend to believe the lie that the vast majority of our fellow citizens believe in fairness in the justice system. But the fact is that our justice system is not designed to produce “fair” results. It is designed to “win” cases. Whether for the state (prosecution) or the individual (defense). Justice is not relevant. It is no accident that those who can afford to hire the best lawyers win. We see a case in Texas where a defense attorney SLEEPS during the trial, but the appeals court lets a conviction stand claiming the defendant still had “adequate representation”. (Decision finally overturned by the Fifth Circuit) .Those who can afford to stand up to the state with a competent legal team need not worry about justice.
Public defenders, with very limited budgets, seldom prevail. So, we see young adults without resources convicted of petty crimes and given criminal records while white collar criminals steal millions and walk away. Or make “restitution” and are forgiven. So, this lack of fairness has created a new money making industry, private prisons. A funneling of poor , overwhelmingly minority, Americans from the poorest neighborhoods into the private prisons, all for profit.
Fairness, a liberal lie. Liberals still cling to the ideal, which is fine. But we need to accept the fact that in government, in voting rights and in the court system “fairness” is a commodity in short supply. We also need to accept the fact that many of our fellow citizens think this is just fine. They do not see “fairness” as a legitimate goal of government. Win at any cost is their mantra.