Half a league, half a league, half a league onward.
All in the valley of Death rode the 10 thousand.
“Forward the White Brigade!”
Apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson, but a certain full-of-self Republican in Texas has made the appropriation too easy.
Last week the Washington Post shared video of an unidentified GOP official calling for 10,000 volunteers to brave the darker reaches of urban Houston to find — and fight! — voter fraud.
Sounding like a Trumpian brigadier (Eric?), he exhorts the troops, saying that to brave a harrowing urban center frequented by people of varied colors calls for “confidence and courage.”
You see, he says, “This is where the fraud is occurring.”
Might this also be where the voter intimidation will be once the GOP “army” besets heavily minority precincts?
“Army” is not my terminology but that of the Harris County Republican chairman in explaining to the Post what the white knight might have had in mind in rallying the troops: “an army” recruited “to engage voters for the whole ballot, top to bottom, and ensure every legal vote is counted.”
Presumably this will not entail handing voters any bottled beverage, something which, last we checked, remains legal in Texas.
Water for he who thirsts. No matter how biblical, it’s an Election Day misdemeanor now in Georgia.
A Texas reader is not stirred: “Oh, my, how sad! Well, can’t some people do some things for themselves? What is wrong with taking their own bottle of water?”
Of course, the issue isn’t packing one’s own Perrier. The issue isn’t concerned citizens volunteering to make sure that elections run smoothly.
The issue is two-fold
(1) All of these maneuvers are framed around a lie – the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
(2) All are aimed at voters of color.
A big lie. A big, racist lie.
Call it a brigade. Call it an army. The GOP has identified the enemy, and it is voters of color.
It is voters who traditionally endure longer lines in urban centers. And they do endure. We see them every Election Day entrusting a system that doesn’t always trust them.
They don’t live out among the white picket fences where Escalades roam free. They live in the land of row houses and bus stops.
It’s a sweeping claim to call a major political party racist, or race-motivated.
But we look at the Big Lie, and we look at the frantic maneuvers to overturn the 2020 presidential results and now to suppress the vote under the guise of “vote security.” It’s all about challenging or tamping down the votes of minorities. And by review, it’s all motivated by a lie.
In the words of the Brennan Center for Justice, which monitors voting rights, these vote suppression measures are “a solution in search of a problem.”
Ask Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, long and loud in trumpeting the Big Lie.
His staff last year devoted 22,000 hours investigating voter fraud and found just 16 cases of it.
Gov. Greg Abbott preceded Paxton in the same role and launched his own futile quest to find the kind of rampant voter fraud that would justify increasing levels of “vote security.”
There is no other reason for what we see today in a host of red states but that Donald Trump said the election was stolen – and stolen by heavily minority districts – and that’s that.
A big, racist lie.
So it doesn’t matter what the “army” calls itself. That’s not the issue. Presuming it doesn’t break the law in intimidating voters, the visitors are welcome down where all those urban dwellers dwell.
The issue is that the Republican Party’s quest is that few people of color vote.
Forward, White Brigade.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.