TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN: Thwarting Democracy

vote 11.15.15

James Bovard said, “Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” The wolves are at work and they are making a mockery of the right to vote. The behavior of the wolves of both political parties show desperation and cynicism in their determination to rig the voting system.

America is a democracy. Democracy is “government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.”* Americans have a responsibility to vote. We talk about our rights according to the Constitution, but as Abraham Lincoln said, “People are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts–not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” Conservatives and liberals are perverting the right to vote. Lincoln and the Founding Fathers would marvel at the political shenanigans our current political parties are going through to control the right to vote and who gets it.

Let’s talk about conservatives and one way they go about gaining this control. Apparently the budget in Alabama had to be cut, so the state chose to close some DMV offices. That might even make sense. However, “The state of Alabama, which requires a photo ID to vote, announced this week that it would stop issuing driver’s licenses in counties where 75 percent of registered voters are black.” This is the Black Belt, the area around Selma. If a person can’t get a picture ID, s/he can’t vote. I know, one can easily drive to the next county. That assumes at the very least that there is a car available. Alabama is a poor state with a very poor black population. Another possible assumption is that there must be buses people can take. I tried to take a bus from Pineville, South Carolina last year. It is a rural area. There are NO buses. The area around Selma is called the Black Belt not only because of its black population but because it is has soil that is agricultural gold. Is rural Alabama like rural South Carolina?

Hold on. I realize that I have a reputation of picking on the politics of the South, so let me point out the liberal state of California has another idea for controlling the right to vote. Traditionally liberals have more power when there are more voters going to the polls. Governor Jerry Brown of California just signed “legislation to automatically register to vote anyone who has a driver’s license or state identification card.” The legislation will “require the state to register adults to vote when they get or renew a driver’s license, unless they opt out.” The people in favor of this legislation seem to believe that, if people are registered to vote, they will. Ah, did the legislators look at what is stopping Californians from voting? It is the same thing that is happening in other states. People aren’t interested – in particular young people. Only 15.8% of the people between 18 and 24 voted in the last election in California.** We might be sadly surprised at how many people opt out even if it is by not going to the polls. I wonder how this new voting legislation will work now that immigrants can get drivers’ licenses in the Golden State.

There is no question that the process of registering to vote and voting itself should be reasonably easy and take into consideration the hardships people registering and voting face. However, having political groups grotesquely manipulate the process is at least haughty if not criminal. The wolves have the sheep at bay. What are we going to do about it or what’s for dinner?

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