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    Decoding the racial message in a campaign ad

    by | 10 | May 18, 2010

    The current campaign ad by Tim James, who is running for Alabama governor on the GOP slate, contains a strange non sequitur, at first glance. James starts out by saying he doesn’t mind showing his driver’s license when he votes. He then segues into a couple of remarks about being a business man and wanting to grow jobs for Alabama. He concludes by saying it makes sense to him to show a driver’s license when voting…”Does it to you?”

    What does a driver’s license have to do with growing jobs in the state, you may ask? Seems like the two have nothing to do with each other.

    Aha! You didn’t get the memo! It’s a CODE, silly.

    The part about drivers’ licenses IS the campaign message of this spot ad. All the rest is noise.

    What Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, is really saying  is “Aren’t you fed up with the bleeding heart black legislators and candidates who want to make it easy for po’ black folks to vote?”

    Give a look, here:

    ###
    Gita M. Smith

    Gita M. Smith

    Gita M. Smith is a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer who covered Alabama — yes, the whole state — for the paper’s national desk where she fell under  the dangerous influence of Keith Graham and Ron Taylor.  She writes flash fiction at 6S, Thinking 10 and fictionaut.

     

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    • Let’s do away with drivers licenses too. I don’t mind having all kinds of drivers on the streets. Everybody will drive even more safely if we just get rid of those pesky licenses with our photos on them.

    • Monica Smith

      The issue is segregation. There are some people who are bound and determined to have a stratified society, regardless of which strata they actually end up in. (It’s fine if some people are in a higher stratum, as long as they can be higher than someone else).
      Since so many categories of classification have been ruled invalid, there’s a feverish casting about for some new ones. Being qualified to drive an automotive vehicle is one. Having a certificate of citizenship is another. But, both have problems. A driver’s license is one of those permits whose issuance, as Justice Kennedy says, is “not a matter of grace.” Which means that any person who has demonstrated the ability to operate a motor vehicle competently and attained the proper age (physical capability being considered relevant to operation) must be issued a license or permit to operate. Neither national origin, citizenship, name nor gender are determinative. So, a driver’s license is irrelevant in answering questions about the latter.
      Citizenship, on the other hand, is definitely determinative when the issue is voting. That voting is one of the obligations (not a privilege) of citizenship, along with serving on juries, drafting laws, providing material support, holding public office and enforcing the laws, is another matter. As a free country, America does not coerce individuals into carrying out these obligations. And, since most people seem content not to carry out their obligations, citizenship is typically not considered worth keeping a record of. (I have never in 50 years been asked for my certificate of citizenship, in large part because I haven’t left the country and sought re-entry). Besides, under our system of justice, an individual is presumed to be not only innocent until proven otherwise, but honest until proven fraudulent. It’s a practical presumption, since to presume otherwise is to risk wasting a lot of time on fruitless investigation (which any number of investigations of suspected voter fraud have certified in recent years).
      I suppose the most salient conclusion one can reach about people who obsess about citizenship without focusing on its many obligations is that they are time-wasters and not worth serious consideration.
      A suggestion that a license to drive, citizenship and jobs are inter-related is worth even less. A job is employment in work for which a person gets paid. If no-one is willing to pay for work or has no money to pay for work, then there are no jobs. Which means that, if one is seriously concerned about jobs, one should ask why people are either unwilling or unable to pay for work. Where has all the money gone? It couldn’t be that it has been siphoned off by the Wall Street banksters to play with, could it?

      Money, money everywhere and not a cent to pay with.

    • Bob Tetley

      Monica Smith’s Klingon poetry hour will return after these messages…

    • Ellen

      Actually Mr. James began the spot with the suggestion that people show a photo ID to vote. A valid driver’s license would be an acceptable form of ID. My 93 year old mother, who never learned to drive, is required to show a photo ID to write a check for groceries. I am quite sure this ID (issued by the state) is not costly, but it merely proves her identity. It would seem that proving one’s identity for the purpose of voting for our leaders is not an outlandish proposal. Why presume that because one is poor and black he or she would be offended to do the same?

      • Monica Smith

        A picture is not proof of anything other than that the person pictured identifies her or himself with a particular name.
        If there’s no intent to perpetrate a fraud or deception, what name one goes by is a matter of personal choice. The state does not assign each person a name and number at birth. When one registers to vote in a particular jurisdiction, one swears an oath to one’s qualifications (residency and citizenship). If it later turns out that one was not qualified to vote and voted nevertheless, one can be prosecuted for perjury, if it can be proven there was an intent to deceive.
        Again, we are presumably honest until there’s evidence to the contrary.

        • Bob Tetley

          Yours is, of course, a textbook recipe for voter fraud. Most every modern democracy has very stringent documentation requirements to ensure the “one person, one vote” outcome lies at the heart of a free and fair election. Except ours. Voters in a free society should rightly assert positive steps to affirm the outcome of these elections with respect to their identity. We could avoid a lot of Bushes v. Gores if the system was established in such a way that the voters could have confidence in the outcome.

          You would prefer that we trust in everyone’s honest nature, which is ironic when you constantly harangue about human fallibility and mankind’s selfish “wrathful intent.” It’s obvious that you’ve run the numbers in your head and figured out the fraud game in this case favors your ideological camp — the Alinskys, Ayers and amnesty crowd — so you’re willing to place trust in the better angels of our nature. It’s quite telling that you only trust people when all that’s required of them is to break laws and degrade institutions. And of course you must couch this in your ethinic victimology rhetoric.

          • Monica Smith

            There has been no evidence of people voting when they are not qualified. There has been evidence of tampering with the voting machines and the counting. There is also evidence that “when in doubt, throw it out” has resulted in large numbers of ballots from absent voters, including those serving in the military overseas, having been discarded. In Georgia alone, the new electronic voting systems were touted by the Republican Secretary of State as a solution to the “problem” that fully ten percent of the votes in any election were routinely thrown out for one reason or another.
            Nattering about fraudulent voters serves as a handy distraction from the fact that the electoral college system is broken (the electors have no way to independently ascertain the basis on which they cast their vote for President), the voting districts are gerrymandered, and the equipment is unreliable and uncertified. Not to mention that the electronic transmissions are liable to being intercepted and jiggered on the way from the polling places to the central tabulating computers.

            Electronic voting systems are bound the be prone to error and failure for the simple reason that the electron is very sensitive to moisture and temperature variations and being in storage for much of a year is almost certain to degrade the “machine.” That’s of course good for the suppliers who get to replace the equipment on a regular basis.

    • BubbaPicasso

      Jeezis, folks. Never seen so much tap dancing around a tangent. The lady’s point here is that Tim James’ message is a throwback to uglier times. Okay that and the fact that he’s a square-jawed Neanderthal. Period.

      He’s got nothing intelligent to say and offers no fixes, but he is going to win this race by tapping into the citizenry’s anger at big government … the same big government that came in and threw out Jim Crow, and the same big government that has allowed in all those wee brown-skinned folk who crowd the aisles at Wal-Mart and buy up all the Corona.

      The driver’s license issue is bogus. Apparently, “Ally Oop” doesn’t realize that whatever “common-sense” changes he might favor MUST be approved by the Justice Department.

      Ms. Gita is correct. It’s code … for stupid begets stupid.

    • Gita

      Campaign ads contain sub-texts. The are dressed in symbols and settings or music designed to evoke feelings. RARELY is a campaign ad JUST about the message on the surface.
      My point, and thank-you Bubba Picasso, is that this ad has a lot of filler but ONLY the part about showing a driver’s license to vote is the real message.
      The airwaves in every state right now are filling up with campaign PR and b.s. so have fun decoding the ads. In the case of Tim James in Alabama, his message was indeed a throwback to uglier times.

    • Glad to find this point made, though I’m reading the post a few months late. I’ve always thought that the campaign slogan, “Lets take our country back,” was code for racism.

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