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Tea Party Nation Wants to Take Renters' Votes Away: Is This for Real?

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 8/21/2011

With election time looming and the wide variety of candidates, are a few Tea Party members drinking some Kool-Aid we aren’t privy to? I mean come on, some are saying renters shouldn’t vote. When, my friends, is the mother ship coming for these people?

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    Mesmerizing But Stupid

    The Tea Party Has Lost Their Minds Yes, I am Republican but in no way would I ever want to be affiliated with any political group who deemed renters shouldn’t vote in public elections. Gawker reporter Max Read quotes Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips: “The Founding Fathers…put certain restrictions on…the right to vote…and you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense.” It should be noted that while Phillips offered up this ridiculous idea almost a year ago, with the upcoming elections it's sure to be a hot topic—especially to members of the Tea Party Nation, a controversial sect of the Tea Party movement.

    I recently wrote a piece on Michele Bachmann and how she would fare as a project manager. I must say while this Tea Party candidate can be mesmerizing, if this is what these Tea Party folks really think, they’ve gone bonkers.

    I suppose the premise is simple (to them). If a voter doesn’t own property then he or she has no vested interest in the community, meaning their voting rights should be pulled or denied. This somehow misses the mark on their promises on how they can get America working again. They can skip that issue—less working means more won’t be buying homes so the vote pool they need those precious votes from would shrink drastically. Does this at all make sense to you?

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    The No-Vote Rule

    Renters Can't Vote Sure, there were times when women couldn’t vote, were chastised and even arrested for their protests. And then, members of the African-American community were more than not listed as property in slave owners' last wills and testaments. But these times are long gone. I do wonder, however, if the Tea Party introduced this no-vote-if-you-don’t-own-bill and for some idiotic reason it passed, and there were still slave owners who offered their slaves homestead property—they’d have a better chance of voting than women or the homeless because their way-cool-and-nice owners would have given them a leaky shack to set up a home.

    I have a friend in the Tea Party. She lives appropriately in Scottsdale, Arizona. Last month when I chatted with her on the phone—I really called to congratulate her daughter on finishing her master’s degree—she started in on the homeless. “Where are all these homeless people Jean? I just don’t see them.” I felt my eyes begin to bulge and thought my head might explode, spewing homeless people right in her front yard through the telephone. But, I took a deep breath and calmed down.

    “Bunny,” I said (that is her given name—honest), “you can’t see them when you are floating in your backyard pool sipping margaritas.”

    “Well, where are they?” she asked again.

    “Ask Herb,” I said. Herb is her husband and drives to downtown Phoenix everyday so I’m sure he has a better chance of pointing them out to Bunny since I live in Texas.

    “Hmmm,” Bunny said and I could only imagine the wind whistling through her ears. Actually, I thought I could hear it.

    I have another friend who lives in Virginia and he asked me why I remain friends with Bunny. He’s especially mad now that Bunny and Herb are of the PARTY, as he says. “My kids went to school with her kids. She lived down the road from me back then and was the president of the PTA,” I tell my buddy Tom.

    “Figures. Does she look like Michele?” He means Michele Bachmann.

    “I guess a little, except she’s blonde,” I tell Tom.

    “Evil,” he mumbles and the conversation ends.

    Yes, the whole idea behind this no-vote unless you own rule does seem quite scary. No, it’s not scary. It’s repulsive and ridiculous and if I could swear here I would! (#!@*!)--you get my meaning. I suddenly feel like stand-up comedian Lewis Black. I want to scream at someone—any Republican will do. I guess I could go scream at myself in the mirror because my political views sort of bend to the red side, but I’m afraid I’d scream so hard my mirror would crack. Then my Democrat husband would come home and find me flat on the floor with broken mirror pieces sticking out of my cheek and head—not a good idea.

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    More Bad News

    The Tea Party Wants a Winning Percentage A post on the ProgressiveToo blog offers up more on this unrealistic idea. Michael Shatz, after doing a little research on the Census, found 37 million American homes are renter-occupied—THIRTY-SEVEN! See what I mean about shrinking the voting pool? If you consider there are approximately 312 million citizens in the U.S. and of those 312 million, 25 percent are kids too young to vote (78 million), you're now down to 234 million people. Even if we assume that only one eligible voter lives in each of these 37 million homes, we only have 197 million voters left to sway. In actuality, that number is probably much lower.

    Let's assume the perhaps only 60 percent of those eligible to vote would even vote. Of the 197 million, if we take away 40 percent, or approximately 79 million non-voters, the Tea Party candidates would only have to sway 118 million people to win (or their electorial share) and this is getting stranger and scarier all the time here, folks.

    I admire Shatz for his offerings and points of view. He also reminds us, “Judson is declaring that renters should not vote when so many property owners are losing their homes.” They could go live in Bunny’s yard I guess, so she could see some real homeless folks for once. Shatz also argues (and I agree), “This is blatant class warfare. Perhaps someone should fill Mr. Phillips in on the history of class warfare and what usually happens to the ruling class when the oppressed have had enough.” Yep that “let ‘em eat cake" didn’t work for sure and thanks to many civil rights leaders of years ago, the African American is allowed to dream—albeit some of these dreams are slow in coming true.

    Then there are the really repulsive (and they know who they are) who put down places like Detroit and South Central Los Angeles, and are absolutely sure if these places were cleaned up, the bad people would go away. What?

    It wasn’t any individual group who put this country in a slump or started the housing crisis—no, it wasn’t. It was greedy banks and politicians who didn’t watch their Ps and Qs and now look where we are. How can extremists blame a group of people who lived in a depressed area for all these bad times?

    I really am at a loss here and I wish someone would step in and discuss this with me, before I do choose the yelling in the mirror option. Yes, I am of sound mind and I know this will never happen, but the thought of it just makes me want to say !#@#! Help me here, my Republican friends, the mirror is only inches from where I sit.

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