Sunday, August 22, 2021

More Local All the Time


I feel like I wrote this a million years ago, but I didn’t.

I happened upon an online discussion yesterday about voting by mail, in particular, the Special Election in District 7 to fill the seat held by the late Elijah Cummings. As I watched the familiar arguments unfold, I had an unusual epiphany.

It seems to me that the two dominant political parties start at the same place when it comes to voting but where each goes from there is indicative of their respective world views.

The statement might begin: Voting is so important that....

And one party finishes it like this: we must put in place careful restrictions in order to make sure that none of the unqualified and no bad actors can sully this important process.

The other party:... we must do whatever we can to remove barriers so that all citizens may participate in this important process.

Beneath it all, members of one party seems to believe that “if I am good at heart, my neighbor is likely to be the same.” The other party leans more towards, “I know I would do the right thing but I just can’t trust that other fella.” Is this one distinction the heart of all the differences between the two?

I wonder. (“Divergent”, April 14, 2020)

So much has happened since then. Wave upon wave of increasing acts of voter suppression, followed by outright denial of an election’s outcome when that party’s candidate did not win. It has moved far beyond my tactful statements above. To be blunt, it might best be worded as follows:

Voting is so important that only the people we value should be permitted to vote and, if our candidate loses, that is proof of fraud.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the For the People Act (HR 1) and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act (HR 4) and wondering if I should write about them. They aren’t strictly local. But the issues involved are important in every community.

A brief summary:

HR 1 For the People Act

The For the People Act, introduced as H.R. 1, is a bill in the United States Congress to expand voting rights, change campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, ban partisan gerrymandering, and create new ethics rules for federal officeholders. (Wikipedia)

HR 4 John Lewis Voting Rights Act

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act is a proposed legislation that would restore and strengthen parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, certain portions of which were infamously struck down by the United States Supreme Court decision of Shelby County v. Holder in 2013, and was weakened further by Brnovich v. DNC in 2021. (Wikipedia)

I’m writing today because I came across a response (on Twitter) from someone in Maryland that chilled me.

Person A:  Why did President Trump step down when he and we all know he won ? The country was attacked, he should have stood his ground and arrested the traitors.

Person B: (From Maryland) Wished it could have worked out this way.  

The whole World knows our President won.

President Trump needed proof.

We are still fighting for Voter Election Integrity

This kind of distorted thinking is a danger to people everywhere in this country, including Howard County. Promoted (I believe) by those who cynically see it as nothing more than an easy strategy to get candidates elected and/delegitimize elections whose results are not to their liking.

“Voting is so important” because the continued existence of our democracy depends on it.

So I think we all have to care about it. I’ll be writing more about this soon.

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