As a U.S. congressman, Artur Davis parroted the party line about the evils of voter ID. Now that he’s out of office, though, he’s suddenly able to admit the obvious — that voter ID is a reasonable step to prevent fraud.
While Davis was a congressman, he needed the support and co-operation of the black Democratic political establishment, so he took the expected position by claiming that voter ID was an evil scheme to prevent blacks from voting. The argument has never made sense, of course, but things aren’t required to make sense when you’re playing the race card.
In a column in an Alabama newspaper last week, Davis admitted that voter ID is a good thing and says he’s changed his mind. Remarkably, he admits that he was just repeating what was expected of him:
“When I was a congressman, I took the path of least resistance on this subject for an African American politician. Without any evidence to back it up, I lapsed into the rhetoric of various partisans and activists who contend that requiring photo identification to vote is a suppression tactic aimed at thwarting black voter participation.”
Predictably, Davis’ past allies are apoplectic that he’s telling the truth. In fact, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus speculated that it might mean Davis is considering becoming a Republican. Obviously, it’s not acceptable to tell obvious truths if you want to be accepted by members of this “club.”
It’s not just blacks or Democrats who play these dishonest games, of course. The political system we have encourages pandering to the passions of ignorant people and it encourages going along with groupthink in order to be accepted. Telling the truth and encouraging honest discussion of the obvious is one of the unforgivable sins in modern politics.
Politicians are required to say what voters want to hear. They’re required to say what the leaders of various pressure groups want to hear. They’re not allowed to think for themselves. They’re certainly not allowed to tell the truth.
People frequently blame politicians for the problems faced by this country and others, but people are looking in the wrong place for blame. If you’re a part of the system, you’re to blame. If you’re one of the ignorant ones supporting politicians who make promises that are impossible to keep, you’re the one giving them the incentive to do that. If you’re one of those who keeps participating in the system simply to vote for “the lesser of two evils,” you’re not helping, either, because you’re helping to give legitimacy to an immoral system that produces worse and worse results.
It’s only by opting out of the system that we can quit thinking in terms of “red vs. blue” and start having honest discussions of how different groups of us can live with different sets of rules — as we choose. Those who stick with the existing system are permanently stuck with the dishonesty and groupthink of the mainstream.