We all have a right to choose our government. That right should be sacrosanct, and cannot not have any caveats.

Bernie said as much a few days ago, to many, it sounded like a radical idea. Forgetting the millions of people disenfranchised for drug possession, too many gave into the right wing frame of asking whether the Boston bomber or a mass murderer should be able to vote.

We should not have to plead for rights to be respected, but I will let the FL Senate explain why Bernie is right on this. 

Last week, Florida’s House set things in motion with regard to mandating felons meet certain “financial obligations” before having their voting rights restored, and now Florida’s Senate has followed suit.

The Senate passed a bill Thursday that would allow felons to vote, but only after “all financial obligations ordered by a judge” were paid, the Associated Press reports.

The Senate and House bills are in response to Florida voters in November voting in support of a state constitutional amendment that would restore voting rights to most felons (not those convicted of murder or felony sex offenses) once they served their time. But Florida’s Republican lawmakers say “time” includes court-mandated fees or restitution and the like, thus the monetary language. — www.theroot.com/…

This is a transparent ploy to disenfranchise voters who tend not to cast ballots for Republicans. And it teaches us a useful lesson.

The moment you give reactionaries an inch, they will take a mile.

The 13th amendment gave one inch, it has one caveat to the prohibition on involuntary servitude: “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted”. On these 14 words was built an entire edifice designed to steal the labor of millions and disenfranchise them at the same time. These reactionaries cared not one whit for the fact that they corrupted the entire judiciary to do this.

This should be a lesson to us all. The moment we introduce caveats to rights, or make them contingent on merit, the entire apparatus of supremacy pounces on the opportunity. It will latch onto the most extreme cases and use them to undermine the rights of millions. The footnotes to legislation in a dozen states will ripple outward and strip millions of their rights.

Ten million children might be hungry, but the image they paint will be of a “welfare queen”. And this demonization will be used to undermine everyone’s rights.

The moment you make programs dependent on anything, Republicans will find ways to exclude poor and black/brown people from these programs. Show them a chink in the Affordable Care Act and they will use it to tear the entire thing down.

Many well-meaning people do not seem to understand this. They want to make nice with reactionaries, they wish to appear “reasonable”. So they gravitate towards incremental, half measures. They are beguiled into inadvertently placing cracks into the foundations of programs they wish to see survive.

This is why it is critically important for our proposals to be universal and grounded in the language of rights. 

Healthcare is a right. College for all. The right to vote is inalienable.

Universal programs are tougher to tear down, because most people recognize they do benefit from them. They are simple to understand and people will jealously guard them. That is why right-wing efforts to tear down Social Security have gone nowhere for 70 years.

We must follow that example to build resilient systems that repair the damage of systematic inequity and oppression. 

Medicare For All.

College For All.

Jobs For All.

Justice For All.

— @subirgrewal

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