CORRECTION: "Gun Owners to Shoot 'Illegal' Voters" Hoax
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Editor's note: It's been revealed that the two men profiled below were actually engaged in a hoax. An update has been added by the author to the original article.
The two men I encountered claiming to be Republicans advocating for shooting voters suspected of fraud at the poll were conducting a hoax.
They pulled a similar stunt in New York around Occupy Wall Street, as seen in this video here:
Having worked with the Yes Men, I was suspicious. But I did also think it was likely they were the real deal because the right is that unhinged from its global warming and evolution denialism to its fantasies about Obama and female sexuality.
I should have been more skeptical, but as I wrote, I thought no one could be this sick.
They came to a rally against voter suppression and conducted a prank about shooting voters when there are tens of millions of people still alive in this country who lived through the time when people fought and died to secure the right to vote for all citizens of this country.
At the rally, speakers poured their hearts out about having their right to vote stripped as part of a concerted campaign by a party whose sole appeal is the poison of nativism and racism. The right is reviving all the ugliness and horrors of our 100 years of apartheid.
Unlike groups like the Yes Men, who creatively expose the workings of the powerful, there was no purpose to their stunt. All they did was torment people who are tormented by a degenerate vicious right every day of their lives.
Even more important than this, is the media’s focus on piddling controversies like the two convention attendees throwing nuts at a Black camerawoman. While ugly, it allows everyone from the right to liberals to dismiss racism as an individual aberration that can be surgically excised by cutting off the offending parts.
If the media called the right’s voter fraud and poll fraud for it is – Jim Crow 2.0 – then incidents such as these would be seen for what they truly are: symptoms of a racist social system that is consciously implemented by both parties, but blood-thirstily advocated by the right.
TAMPA, Florida – They were classic buttoned-up conservatives, but I couldn’t believe my ears. “Are you guys performance artists?” "No," Stevens snorted.
Just a few minutes earlier, two men who identified themselves as Robert Stevens and John Nelson had handed me a flyer. It explained that they wanted the state of Florida to pass a “Protect the Polls law” under which “anyone suspected of committing voter fraud can be fired upon – provided the weapon is registered and operated by its licensed owner.”
The two 28-year-olds, who said they were from West Palm Beach, were straight out of central casting for Young Republicans. I was trying to figure out if they were as crazy as they sounded or were just trying to punk everyone.
Stevens claimed that “illegals and other people without government IDs” were committing voter fraud. I outlined a scenario, “I’m a gun owner. I go to the polls. I have my gun. So, how does it work? There’s this guy who looks like an illegal alien, and he looks pretty shifty ...”
“And you shoot him,” Stevens said, cutting me off. After some more questioning, and deciding that I would need to see identification, Stevens added, “I think a gun owner should be able to ask for ID and help us police the poll, protect the polls.”