Why THE U.S. VS. JOHN LENNON matters more than ever
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, leading Republicans feared that John Lennon was going to be a threat in the 1972 election, thanks to his pop culture stardom and anti-war activism. They went on a quest to deport him in the hopes he wouldn’t influence the youth vote in the United States. Now here we are, 50 years later, and we’re still facing some of the same problems when it comes to fair and free elections. Except that instead of deporting the people who lead movements, the government has taken the war directly to the voters.
An unprecedented number of U.S. states have initiated sweeping changes in electoral policy, including onerous requirements for identification at the polls, questionable purges of the rolls and confusing policies on early voting. This despite the fact that voter fraud, the ostensible reason behind these changes, almost never actually happens, especially in person! Many critics are concerned, and consider these initiatives to be a form of voter suppression aimed at limiting participation in this year’s presidential election.
Despite agitation on the part of civil rights groups, states continue to roll out policies they claim will limit voter fraud and keep elections honest. The predictable effect of these policies, many of which disproportionately impact minorities: disenfranchising people who are legally eligible to cast ballots. It’s hard to shake a newspaper without an article on voter suppression falling out, especially if you live in a battleground state; 32 years after Lennon’s death, we’re still looking at many of the same social issues he agitated against in his lifetime. Whatever happened to giving peace (and fair voting) a chance?
Now more than ever, everyone’s vote counts, and young people (along with everyone else!) prepared to rock the vote had better be armed with the information they need to make sure they get a fair shake at the polls. The ACLU has a handy state-by-state guide for voters who want to make sure their civil rights aren’t abridged, and be sure to report problems at the polls to Election Protection.