A Bridge Too Far
July 16, 2018 – Gregory Franklyn
I encourage people to vote! I care WHO they vote for, of course, but I don’t push people around about that because I also believe in people having the free will to tell their own story whether I find the plot to be distasteful or not. But today I want to talk about voting and why I do it, despite losing faith in its meaning.
I continue to vote and encourage voting just in case I’m wrong about this, but I don’t really believe it matters much anymore. Donald Trump being legitimized as President of the United States is my case in point today. I do not accept this “Whatever He Is” as having been legitimately elected to the office. Try as I might, I simply cannot force myself into a place where I can accept that the majority of the people of the US think he’s a good choice, knowing who he is and what he stands for. It’s not like before this election he was hiding who he is. He’s been telling us for 50 years that I know of, and counting.
I didn’t like Hillary in 2016, but I didn’t dislike her enough to vote for DJT, and that brings me to my first point. 2 Choices for the United States, and the world for that matter, is simply insufficient and causes people, more often than not, to have to select between the lesser of two evils. Today, people do not tend to vote FOR a candidate as much as they tend to vote AGAINST another. At least among liberals.
But right now, we have a perfect storm of wrenches jammed into the works of electoral politics that are unprecedented in our history. Electronic voting is an example. Most States use Electronic Voting Machines, particularly red states. Computers that tally votes give me the willies. I can’t bring myself to believe in such an ethereal method to tally votes. You enter your vote and hope it gets recorded, but you have no verification of that. No way to check that it was recorded at all, let alone recorded in the category I selected.
I have a wristwatch that can tell me how many steps I’ve taken today while monitoring my pulse rate and blood pressure and can report that back to me. I can tap on my cell phone’s screen and print a document to just about ANY nearby printer, but an electronic voting machine can’t print a receipt of the information I just gave it, so it can be verified? That’s a bridge too far for me.
Next, you have to ask yourself who has access to these closed voting systems that have no way to check the results if there’s a discrepancy? Who are the owners/manufacturers of these computers and what might their political leanings be? Who are the elected officials that oversee the implementation of these electronic elections? Are they partial to one party or another? How susceptible are these computers to being hacked? Well, I guess we know the answer to that one, don’t we! I live in Oregon. We vote by mail, which is the least hackable form of voting I know of. Every ballot can be verified and re-verified, if needed. There won’t be any “Hanging Chads” here. There’s a crystal clear, finite paper trail that can be followed. Duplicate ballots can be easily identified and discarded by comparing them to the list of registered voters.
Next we have the lists of registered voters themselves. States, particularly red States, are now purging voters from those lists who are not eligible to vote for any number of reasons. Those lists are notoriously suspect, as they purge, for example, convicted felons by name, AND derivatives of that name. For example, in 2016 a felon named Michael Jackson would be purged from the list, along with Mike Jackson, Michael D Jackson, M Jackson and any other derivative of that name without comparing birthdates, or any other information, to see if they are purging the right Michael Jackson. They are ALL purged. For more on how that happened in 2016 I recommend a movie titled, “The Best Election Money Can Buy”. The purges done in the past 4 or 5 past elections heavily purged Non-White voters.
Next, we have ID requirements for voting. Many States, particularly red States, require forms of Identification that young voters and non-white voters would not likely have. They do that intentionally. For example for college students, their student ID is not sufficient. A State Issued ID in the State in which they reside at the time of the election is required instead. A college student would probably have a driver license or ID from the State where they live, but attend school in a different state. With these new regulations, they would be ineligible to vote unless they went home to do so. Where are they gonna get the money to do that, while they are buried in debt. These are all demographics that would have a tendency to vote Democrat, more than Republican. By the way, A gun license in Texas, which does not have a picture on it, is acceptable ID for voting. How many non-white people do you know who have a gun license?
Next we have voting district gerrymandering. There’s an interesting story about how the practice became known by that name and I encourage you to Google It. It’s actually pretty good story. Gerrymandering is drawing voting districts to favor one party over another. The drawing of those lines are done by the party in power in that State at the time the census is taken, which is in years ending in “0”.
The Repugnican Party has made no secret of its drive to achieve a “Permanent Repugnican Majority” in the US and have been able to draw those lines in the last several decades because of conservative majorities in more than half of the states because they were in power when the census was taken. It is working splendidly too! That is why more people voted Democrat in all elections, local and national, in 2016 yet Repugnicans occupy more of the offices in question anyway, all the way from local school board to President of the United States.
Hillary won the election in 2016. She won by a margin of voters equal to the population of Chigago, Illinois, the 3rd largest city in the US. But, regardless, we are falling all over ourselves to try, against everything we hold dear, to legitimize DJT as the winner. The Electoral College was SUPPOSED to be a check & balance against such trickery, but failed miserably to fulfill their charge to correct the political landscape to ensure the will of the people is heard. That’s probably why there is such a rustling in the bushes to eliminate the Electoral College altogether. Our Constitutional ideal is “1 Person 1 Vote” The Electoral College simply doesn’t do what it was designed to do.
But, Gregory, the gap in your argument’s armor is Barack Obama! If elections are rigged in favor of Repugnicans, how do you explain Barack Obama. I’m glad you asked, because I get to explain why I still have at least SOME hope for the veracity of voting and why I’m not absolutely convinced that I’m right about how badly the playing field is slanted in favor of Repugnicans.
Barack Obama won 2 Presidential Elections by such an overwhelming landslide that even with the field being heavily slanted against him, he won ANYWAY! The margin was so wide that even the tricks in place at the time of both elections weren’t enough to prevent the will of the people from breaking through. Now, I hear you, the official result was razor thin in both elections, by the numbers. But when you take into consideration the odds stacked against him by all of this, he actually won by an overwhelming landslide. A landslide so wide that it couldn’t be faked.
Anyway, I still vote and I encourage voting because there is still hope that it matters, and Barack Obama is the reason I feel that way. What might save us from certain demise is a blue wave in November in the States AND in Washington DC. Every time we are faced with a national election I tell you that this election is probably the most important election you will vote in, in your lifetime. It’s true this time too.
One of the Memes I’m seeing popping up on the internet these days is the #walkaway movement. I get it and I can’t say I disagree, but there’s something you should remember as you’re doing that. Lower voter turnout favors Repugnicans. Repugnicans vote religiously and because they CAN. The Democrats who CAN vote tend to #walkaway out of frustration about the ugliness of it all. Repugnicans know that if they can make the entire political arena SO distasteful that good people who would otherwise vote, #walkaway instead, they will win elections. And, they’re right.
So, I beg of you dear reader, don’t fall for it. Please Vote. The control of the Congress in both the States AND in Washington DC will determine who draws the lines in voting districts across the United States for the next 10 years. The Very Idea that that could keep DJT in an illegitimate position of power is a bridge too far, for me. DJT is not now, nor has he ever been, legitimately The President of the United States!