I recently read the book pictured above.  It’s a lengthy liberal polemic even by my highly-partisan standards, but it makes many good points.  Here’s one that may be a reach:

In the U.S., black people are incarcerated at a much higher rate than white people who commit similar crimes.  Example: Joe Black Dude and Fred White Dude both get busted on a coke charge.  Joe Black Dude goes to prison while Fred White Dude gets probation. Therefore, there are arguably a large number of unfairly incarcerated black people all over the country, including Florida.  IF those people had not been in prison in 2000, AND they had done their civic duty and voted, THEN Al Gore would’ve won the state of Florida and been elected president.

Racial disparities in the justice system are deliberately maintained to minimize the black vote– a modern-day poll tax.



23 thoughts on “

  1. I shudder to even think of going there.
    It seems unlikely that such intent exists.  A “fortunate” byproduct, perhaps.  The conspiracy that DOES bother me, and I think it exists, is the deliberate campaign to control our school boards with the “family-values” kind of people who elected Bush in the first place.
    It all starts there.  In the schools.  Where we fail to educate our youngsters.  They need to be taught how to think.  Instead, they are taught not to think.  That is the problem.

  2. It’s an interesting question. I’m pretty cynical, but I do find it a stretch to believe that a group of people somewhere actually planned to incarcerate more black people in order to influence national elections. OTOH, there were plenty of stories coming out of Florida after the 2000 election of law-abiding, black citizens who were denied their right to vote because they happened to have the same name as a convicted felon. As infuriating as that is, it’s not the same as deliberately incarcerating people.I don’t think there’s any disputing the fact that more black people go to jail than white people, and I’m sure the causes for this are varied: more black people live in poverty, and poverty is likely to lead to crime; prejudice within our judicial system leads to more black people in jail (and getting exectued), but a massive conspiracy to affect voting outcomes? Unlikely, especially when so many people don’t bother to vote anyway.

  3. The problem with conspiracies… especially large-scale conspiracies… is that they require a lot of people to keep their plans secret.  How many police officers, judges and juries would have to be in on this one to make it work?  How many people do you know who can be trusted to keep a secret of any kind?

  4. Interesting thought… but I think that the incerceration of black people has little or nothing to do with a modern-day poll tax.  I think the prejudice is much more basic (ergo, unfair) than that.  I think it has to do more with the poverty rate here in the United States.  My hypothesis is that poor people are more likely to be incarcerated for crimes (either because they commit more of them out of desperation, or because the rich have the means to cover their tracks), and, unfortunately, the ratio of blacks to whites seems to have an inverse relationship with gross income.  Translation, more black people are incarcerated for crimes because more poor black people (and poor white people) are incarcerated for crimes.

  5. Maybe just more black people commit the crimes? Besides, would they have voted anyway? Look at all those who registered when they got their drivers’ licenses. Supposedly, they were going to vote for Kerry/Edwards. And they never bothered to go to the polls.

  6. Racial prejudice in the judicial system-I can buy. Conspiracy to get Bush in the White house-I can buy. Al Gore won the popular vote, vote counting anomalies, etc., no problem. But spending years putting black people in prison so they aren’t able to vote? That takes more intelligence and forethought than I am willing to give the Bushies credit for. -Rain

  7. yeah, that is definitly a reach. I agree with the people above more black people live in poverty than white people, they can’t afford the lawyers etc… and are more likley to do and sell drugs. Not just due to poverty, due to gang envolvment and any number of things. I am thinking those people probably did not even register to vote. I could be wrong though. And if they are they probably are too busy trying to make some money selling crack.

  8. My boyfriend always says you can tell the most about a country by looking at its prison system.  I don’t think there’s any deliberate conspiracy or any deliberate racism, but our prison system does reveal huge inequalities that our society should have conquered by now!

  9. Its a stretch.  There is an article in Rolling Stone (I know – not hip anymore – I don’t care though) about how 300,000 votes disappeared in Ohio in ’04.  That may be a stretch too.  Of course, I may never get around to reading it.  I can be like that.  I had one story that I had been meaning to read for three months or so that I read, finally this weekend…it was a good story.

  10. Is there some statistic which states that black people vote in higher percentages than white people ?  Otherwise, what would be the point of targeting them to keep them from voting ?  If the stats on voting percentages are roughly the same, regardless of race, then putting someone in jail to keep them from the polls is a waste of time, as they wouldn’t have been going there anyway.
    I think the numbers on the local primary yesterday show that 6% of the voters voted.  It would take a considerable amount of sleuthing to find that minority in order to lock them up, no ?

  11. I don’t know anything about a voting conspiracy, but the inequity of mandatory minimums that are patently racist are fairly obvious.  The mandatory minimum for powder cocanie is like 1 year where the minimum for the same amount of crack cocaine is 5.  You do the math.

  12. And if people who hadn’t died during the turn 1800’s (the good ol days), haddn’t died than the conservative vote would have been simply overwhelming. Therefore, had we had a way to keep folks out of the graves non of this would have been up for discussion.

  13. …if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime…apparently it is the same phenomenon with native canadians…legislation was enacted into the criminal code so that judges are specifically required to consider the aboriginal circumstances of a defendant as a mitigating factor on sentencing…an attempt to even up the score, whether or not it works in practice…of course, in the u.s., punishments are much more severe, lengthier sentences for drug related offences, not to mention the death penalty and this three strikes thing…you might question the efficacy…i was shocked at the homicide figures between respective nations quoted in bowling for columbine…   

  14. While I do not consider myself liberal, I do lean that way more so that towards the conservative side. But, and this is a big but, both sides lie. Both sides inflate the numbers and fabricate the statistics. I’d vote for a Libertarian candidate before I’d vote for a Democrat or a Republican. In our last 17th district representative race, I didn’t like eithe rmajor party candidate and wrote in the name of my ficticious alter-ego. Not a wasted vote, because there is no such thing if you vote. A wasted vote is one not cast.
    Next time you talk to a conservative Republican politician, ask him (or her) how they feel about the death penalty for white collar crime. If they say it is outrageous or excessive, then you can accuse them of being soft on crime. That should give you a chuckle watching them trying to backpedal out of that statement. I think white collar criminals should get the needle. Ken Lay and Whatsisname Skilling should be the first to ‘get on the gurney’. They’ve done more damage to America than all of the drug crime criminals in our prisons put together.

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