Rep. George Cleveland proposes banning Spanish voter instructions

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There are plenty of retro goobers in and among the ideologues in our exciting, new, 100 mph Republican-run N.C. General Assembly. Sure, there are some principled conservatives among our fresh batch of Fearless Leaders, who mostly focus on fiscal matters. But the Assembly is also home to what a group of us in high school used to call “Hicks In Suits” — people in whom prejudice and blind dislike of anyone outside the almighty ruling circle of white Protestants is so ingrained, they cannot, and never will, see it.

I’m talking about retro goobers like Rep. George Cleveland of Onslow County, who is seemingly hellbent on making life as miserable as possible for Latinos in North Carolina. Cleveland, who previously introduced bills to keep undocumented workers from taking classes in public or community colleges and to tighten restrictions on acceptable ID for immigrants, has now topped himself. Last week, Cleveland introduced a bill to repeal the state law which mandates that voter instructions be printed in both Spanish and English in counties where the Hispanic population exceeds 6 percent. It’s a move that just screams, “I’m a prejudiced, spiteful hick in a suit and, by God, I’m proud of it!”

I’ve had it with these knuckle-draggers. Cleveland and his ilk will tell you they’re just trying to “git rid of them illegals what’s takin’ all the jobs,” but that’s pure bullshit. Only American citizens can vote in our elections, not undocumented immigrants. And as shocking and unbelievable as it may be to the likes of Cleveland and his supporters, there are plenty of American citizens for whom English is not their first language. Naturalized U.S. citizens under 50 (or who have been in the U.S. less than 20 years) have to pass an English literacy test, but I can tell you from the personal experiences of some foreign-born family members who became U.S. citizens, passing the English literacy test is a breeze — and certainly doesn’t mean a new citizen could quickly grasp the details of an English-language voter instruction pamphlet.

Let’s cut to the chase, Rep. Cleveland; why be a hypocrite? Just go ahead and propose banning anyone Hispanic from voting, period. You know and I know and your supporters know that’s what you want. At least be man enough to say it, as repulsive as hearing you admit to your gooberdom would be. Because, make no mistake, trying to deny understandable voting instructions from someone because they’re not native-born English speakers is as spiteful, brutish and low as you can get. And I mean really low — to quote an old TV personality, “lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut.”

Rep. George Cleveland, shameless xenophobe
  • Rep. George Cleveland, shameless xenophobe

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