A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin can write one hell of a palace coup or behind-the-scenes political maneuver. So it’s no surprise that when he gets fired up about a real-world issue, like efforts to make it harder for eligible voters to actually cast their ballots, he has words for the people he believes responsible. He wrote on Saturday:
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.
It would really be nice if there were still some Republicans of conscience out there who would stand up and loudly denounce these efforts, a few men of honor and integrity for whom “win the election” does not “win the election at any cost.” There were once many Republicans I admired, even I disagreed with them: men like Everett Dirksen, Clifford Case, Henry Cabot Lodge, William Scranton… yes, even Barry Goldwater, conservative as he is. I do not believe for a moment that Goldwater would have approved of this, any more than Robert A. Heinlein would have. They were conservatives, but they were not bigots, nor racists, nor corrupt. The Vote Suppressors have far more in common with Lester Maddox, George Wallace, John Stennis, and their ilk than they do with their distinguished GOP forebears.
The people behind these efforts at disenfranchising large groups of voters (the young, the old, the black, the brown) are not Republicans, since clearly they have scant regard for our republic or its values. They are oligarchs and racists clad in the skins of dead elephants.
Maybe we could have a kingsmoot, the one functional form of democracy in Westeros and Essos, instead of elections? It would be hard to a significant percentage of Americans to show up and then stick around for days to argue about the future of the presidency, though. And Mitt Romney would just show up and offer everybody car elevators and plunder and run off with the election anyway. But I think we can all agree, across party lines, that if finding ways to ensure broad poll access to all Americans who are eligible to vote while also ensuring the integrity of the ballots they cast will help get The Winds of Winter to us faster by giving Martin fewer things to be distracted by and angry about, that’s a worthwhile priority.