I am dry-eyed and awake in what feels like the wee hours in the morning. It is not. For me it is close to eight am and for you guys on the east coast most of the morning has passed. I have a distracting tendency to keep east coast hours, which means going to bed with the chickens and getting up at first light.
Today is that special kind of hell that comes after a day like yesterday, where I manage to torture myself both ways: for not noticing how much she was suffering earlier; and for putting an end to her suffering. I keep second guessing the diagnosis (she always had stomach trouble from a kitten) then remembering she was having issues before the last move, then going back again– don’t worry. It will pass. And it’s no bad thing for me to feel small and stupid and impotent. It helps me appreciate the words of the act of contrition [I have sinned]… in what I’ve done and what I’ve failed to do. Sometimes there are no easy answers, and nothing you can do that doesn’t leave you feeling like you did something awful.
Among my minor awful acts, I spread fear and despondency on facebook. I know. If I were the only one to do so!
But this one truly was stupid and hinged on my bad eyesight as well as anything else. I recently had to change my address so i could vote in the proper precinct. I noticed a line saying “do you want to receive your ballot by email” and was shocked (and so blind, I failed to notice it was grayed out for me) that I looked at it three or four times, and then felt something snap and yelled on FB.
What I failed to notice is the option for email ballots is only available to military personnel.
I still don’t like the risk, but it’s not as though our military people don’t face incredible obstacles to voting in time. They want it by email, they can have it by email.
The amount of fraud possible from that move is very minor compared to the other… ah… temptations to fraud inherent in the system.
Technically, we have a warm body franchise. You are breathing, a citizen of the United states and over 18 years of age, you can vote.
These pitifully easy guidelines, it would seem should be lax enough for everybody. They are not. Over the last almost a quarter century there has been a determined effort to abolish them.
Part of the reason I jumped on FB (even though it was stupid) is that I have been mad at the craziness in our voting for a long time.
Our voting is now wholly an “honor system.” I.e. you can sign up to vote without being required to show either proof of your citizenship, or of your age, even.
When I was a young woman, twenty four years ago, I could see the trouble with “enroll them to vote when you enroll them to drive.” No one else did. I was told I was suspicious, insane and, of course, racist. (Why is it that people who assume BY THEIR VERY ARGUMENT that anyone darker than them is too stupid to figure out how to register to vote if it’s not done automatically, or to vote if they’re required to show the same ID they’d have to show to receive even welfare, or even to register more than a day in advance of the election, are the ones who get to call others racists? Do they lack a mirror or are their minds so limited they don’t see the rueful irony in that accusation?)
And yet there were signposts on the road to hell. You know I have an accent. I happen to know I have one too. I’ve been a citizen since 1988, however I know many women in my circumstances, married to American men, who never change their citizenship. And yet, when I changed my license to Colorado (took me a couple of years after moving as, at the time, I wasn’t driving) I was asked if I wanted to register to vote. I had assumed this might come up and had brought with me my citizenship certificate. It was never asked for. This did not reassure me.
Apparently the goal of it is not to insult me by implying I have an accent, or perhaps that I can tan (since again, the question is apparently “racist” it never having occurred to the cracked heads who make that sort of decision that an accent is not a race, just an origin of having grown up abroad a long time; and also that pale blond people too can have accents, be foreign nationals and therefore not entitled to voting in the US.) You can’t insult me by saying I have an accent. I know I have one. It would be like insulting me by saying I am not six feet tall. Presumably I know that too. As annoying as it gets when cashiers and strangers ask the fateful “Where are you from?” (Just up the road. You?) I do know it’s there and I don’t think assuming I have a higher chance than someone who sounds like they grew up in Texas of being a foreign citizen is a horrible insult. Yeah, in the event, I’m a national and someone with a Texas accent might not be. So? The answer is not to remove the requirement to show proof of citizenship from those who might not sound as citizens, but to make everyone show ID. That we went the other way is incredibly stupid or malicious or yes.
The next sign on the road to hell was when a Japanese journalist, on some kind of exchange program, found that he could register to vote in Colorado DESPITE HAVING PROVED HIS IDENTITY WITH A JAPANESE PASSPORT. He wrote about it in the Gazette.
I knew then we were in trouble, but I didn’t fully understand how BAD that trouble until I was changing my address.
Yes, sure, what I feared was the worst — the ability to receive your ballot by email — was not true. But that would not be a signpost on the road to hell, that would be a sign we were already consumed to ash.
Not only can you now register entirely on line — which since voting in Colorado is NOW entirely by mail completely spares you the need to have… well, a physical body because you have to show no proof of nationality, age, or, well… anything. You just click a box on a page — BUT you can register (says right there) at sixteen. You are, however, sternly enjoined not to vote till you’re eighteen.
Why sixteen, you ask? Who the hell knows? What good does it do to register you to vote (which is all the page does) then tell you you’re not supposed to do it for two years? I suspect this is the mutant child of Motor Voter, because you can register to drive (with parent approval) at 16. And still I must ask, though, since the page has nothing to do with drivers’ licenses and is ONLY FOR VOTER REGISTRATION why register you at sixteen?
I have said before that when I was a poll judge in Colorado I found a great number of people, showing up to vote, were told they early voted or voted by mail, and COMPLETELY forgot about it. Apparently the rate of dementia in Colorado Springs is about 1/3 and affects people of all ages.
There are other charming things, such as recent reports that apparently we have the same enthusiastic post-vital voter participation as Chicago (well, done, Colorado, you’re coming along. I’m sure it’s what every civilized place wants to be: Chicago. Next up, we can make our streets into battlefields.)
Then there are reports like this: The Washington Mall Shooter VOTED. Three times, despite not being a citizen.
Apparently Washington and Colorado are of one mind about the right to vote being a thing to entrust to the honor system, because even though voter fraud is so rarely investigated or persecuted as to make the risk of lying/cheating trivial, EVERYONE is an honest person when it comes to voting.
NO ONE would do this with payments, even government payments, but apparently it’s fine to do it with the right of the people to govern themselves.
At the heart of the fact we have a warm body system is the idea that any restriction of voting rights will adversely impact someone and cause an unequal application of laws. This is why we print ballots in Chinese and Spanish and more exotic languages and never ask, NOT ONCE how people who are so limited in their understanding of the predominant language of the country can participate in its self-governing. (Yeah, I know they can be very well informed through foreign newspapers. And if you haven’t yet realized the joke that is, you have never really read a foreign newspaper for foreigners. They make the bias in ours seem non-existent and also most of the time they’re so bad they’re not even wrong. Just a different universe.) This is why — because some idiots abused them once — you’re not allowed to give literacy tests, or even to have the person “voting” be of sound mind. This is why the vote of people with dementia, a growing demographic, is not debarred.
And this is why, in an excess of making sure that EVERYONE can vote, no matter how strange their circumstances, we have early voting stretching for a month ahead, we have vote by mail and we have register and vote without ever showing you have the right to, or indeed that you exist and are alive.
We have in this process gone well beyond warm-body franchise to imaginary entity franchise. Nothing in fact — except perhaps foolish honesty — can stop me registering and voting for each of the entities that live in my head.
We have also in this way rendered moot the right to a private vote. In states like Colorado which (against the wishes of its people, btw, as expressed by referendum) vote exclusively by mail, there is no right to private voting. Any ballots mailed to a family address are subjected to the whims of a domestic tyrant, and I’ve already heard the usual rumors of people whose mothers or fathers vote for them, requiring only they sign the ballot. Impossible you say? How? How is that impossible in a tyrannical family? And how do you even prove it happened afterwards? I bet you it’s happening, throughout the land.
In Colorado, and in many states throughout this great land, you can vote if you’re too young, you can vote if you’re a foreign national, you can vote if you’re dead and you can vote if you never existed.
Every time someone points out this is ALL on the honor system and all these violations are possible, someone gets huffy and says that there is no proof of fraud.
How would there be proof of fraud? Besides which they don’t mean dead people shown to have voted, or even names like Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny who are assiduous voters. Proof of fraud means someone was persecuted and convicted. And how do you even start to do that, when the whole system is designed to obscure the identity of anyone who might choose to do so?
So, you say, better someone not entitled to votes, than someone entitled to vote is turned away.
How do you figure?
Say Bob is entitled to vote and does. Meanwhile, Minny Mouse, Doktor Frankenstein, Michael, here on vacation from Australia, Joe who is a legal resident from South Africa, John who is American but who is not verbal or indeed mentally competent to vote and whose mom voted for him, and Cindy, Trevor, and 30 of their best friends who are all sixteen also turned out to vote. What is Bob’s vote worth when diluted by all of those.
Is it that bad? Can you prove it’s not?
Let’s suppose that everyone are angels unborn, unable to cheat or lie. Let’s suppose that despite incentives, like cheating yourself bread and circuses, no institution was likely to actually use its power to create fake votes.
In a government of the people for the people, the important thing is that it be KNOWN it’s of the people. I.e. you have to make sure you’re not being governed by a tiny minority who (as with fake twitter accounts, say) multiply their numbers by fraud on an industrial level.
In that situation, one fake vote is enough to cast doubt. One OBVIOUSLY exploitable flaw, like being able to register at sixteen, but being told to be a good boy/girl and not vote till eighteen, is enough to cast doubt.
Like Caesar’s wife, the franchise of the American people MUST be above suspicion. Which means in practical fact, that you HAVE to require each would be voter to prove they’re American citizens and over eighteen.
If we don’t do that — as we haven’t — we have not only sold our rights for a mess of pottage, but we’ve sold our rights of redress and righting this. Or do you think officers elected by this corrupt system will let you overthrow it.
I think this is foolish. The left — and come on, if it weren’t mostly the left intending to dilute our right to vote, it wouldn’t be them arguing for ever laxer rules and Motor Voter wouldn’t be Bill Clinton’s baby — has a curious tendency to mistake the wrapping for the present. I think they think if they can capture the FORMS of government that means they captured the country.
As we’ve seen again and again in fields they captured, it doesn’t. It usually leads to what they captured being rendered obsolete and superseded.
I don’t know if that can be done in government, but I bet you in five to ten years, we’ll find out.
Because this is not our pottage. We’re not the ones who made the bargain. And we want our rights back.