BY TIM DOUGLASS
Publisher, Pope County Tribune
For those who staunchly embrace partisan politics, it’s simply not appropriate to talk about voters’ rights.
Because if it’s all about hyper-party politics, you want your party to vote and the other party to stay home.
Or, better yet, split the other party’s voters by geography (gerrymandering) or by creating a new party that takes votes away (Cannabis party). That way there’s no need for voter suppression. It’s just rigged.
The closer one looks at the situation, the more cynical one gets. Sure, we love to talk about voting as our most important right in these, the United States of America, but does that mean only if you are voting for the right party’s candidates? And which party is that?
In reality, what’s wrong with the system we have now in America has little to do with voter fraud and everything to do with voter manipulation and voter suppression.
Right now, some Republicans looked at the last election and realized that the real problem wasn’t any kind of fraud, it was easier access to voting. That simply brought out too many voters, especially in states where Republicans have been agressively gerrymandering, like Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Carolina.
No matter that claims of wide-spread voter fraud were simply false, it has now given some in the party and some of their hyper-party followers a reason to go to the state legislature and try to change state laws around voting. Especially in states where the Legislature is controlled by Republicans. In other words, it’s a means to change the system, or more accurately, suppress the vote.
So, while some Republicans are working on state legislatures to secure the party vote and suppress the opposition party vote in various states, Democrats are currently looking to Congress to pass protections on voters’ rights.
Nothing will happen in the Senate, however, unless Democrats roll back the filibuster.
An old procedural move, the filibuster was introduced to protect the interests of slaveholding states in the years just before the Civil War, and for the next 100 years, it was largely favored by Southern segregationists. In its current form, it allows a minority party to put the kibosh on bills that arrive without the support of 60 senators, and in the past dozen years, it has gone from being a rarely-used tool to a core element of Senator Mitch McConnell’s strategy as the now Republican minority leader.
Now, most of us realize that one-party rule is simply not good for America. In other words, we’d have an autocracy rather than a democracy. That’s why voters in both parties should drop the hyper-partisan loyalty and realize that a free and fair election should be just that, an election free of suppression of citizen voters based on race, geography, or income level. In America, apparently, every vote counts, but not every eligible voter should vote.
Is that what we want America to be? Is party control, winning at all costs, more important than the ideals this country was founded upon?
Is the office holder more important than the office he or she holds in America?
Is it every American citizen’s right and privilege to vote, or is that right only reserved for those of us deemed worthy by a political party?