Suppression by Another Name

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  • ‘Tis the season to be feisty as election year politics are in full swing.
         
    Last week, a Republican-led congressional committee voted 23-17 to recommend holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding documents on a controversial gun scheme known as Operation Fast and Furious.
       
    Operation Fast and Furious was a program of the Obama administration that evolved out of a similar Bush administration initiative where our government would basically allow guns to be smuggled into Mexico as a way of tracing the guns to leaders of drug cartels.
         
    Tragically, Operation Fast and Furious has been linked with the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was murdered with a gun from the program.
         
    Not good. The Republican-led vote occurred hours after the White House claimed that the requested documents were subject to executive privilege, which protects the Administration from having to release ‘sensitive’ documents.
         
    Obviously, the GOP jumped all over this, especially because it’s an election year and they can seize the opportunity to accuse the Obama administration of inappropriate conduct and harboring secrets.
         
    The contempt measure is now headed to the Republican-controlled House for a full vote. if it passes there, it will then go to Holder's own agency, the Department of Justice, for consideration by a grand jury.
         
    Enter House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who recently came firing back for the Democrats, saying the real reason Republicans are charging Attorney General Holder with contempt is they wish to weaken his ability to prevent voter suppression in the upcoming elections.

    Hmm…could it be? Might not be too far-fetched an idea since Holder fights to overturn voter suppression initiatives and because of the GOP’s checkered history of unethical voter tactics. (Can you say Florida?)
         
    While I do believe that all administrations, even ones we like, should be held accountable to the public, I also believe that the GOP would certainly love to hurt the Obama administration and its base voters with voter suppression tactics.
         
    And guess who most of those targeted look like? Yep, you and me.
         
    So no matter what’s going on with Operation Fast and Furious, we can’t afford to get distracted and lose sight of our stake, as a community, in ensuring both our voters and our votes will count this fall.
         
    So, we should acknowledge that 1) this particular Attorney General is committed to preventing such suppression; 2) such suppression measures in states across the country are primarily aimed at voters of color on the Democratic side; and 3) that we need to stop such suppression tactics any way we can.
         
    Go to projectvote.org to learn more about this issue and how you can help prevent it.
         
    I’ll leave you with this from free-speech advocate, Alexander Meiklejohn: “Whatever the immediate gains and losses, the dangers to our safety arising from political suppression are always greater than the dangers to the safety resulting from political freedom. Suppression is always foolish. Freedom is always wise.”
         
    Until next time, this is Stephanie in love and hope.
     

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