With hours to go before the special election for the U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi, the basic validity of our electoral process will be again in the news.
Across the political divide, most agree there is something seriously wrong with the way we conduct elections in this country. The left believes illegal immigrants should be granted the franchise, voter ID is racist, and the Electoral College should be abolished. The right believes that illegal immigrants already vote, voter ID stops voter fraud, and the Electoral College saves us from the tyranny of the majority.
I believe that voting should be restricted to fifty-five plus Latin conservatives who have my exact name and birthdate and can quote Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited by heart. That would bring much more effective government, for me.
No matter where you sit on the question, left, right or my coronation and hence national apotheosis, a system where it takes a test and an ID to get a driver’s license but where any unidentified clod can walk up, grunt, then have a hand in deciding the future of the state cannot be deemed ship-shape and Bristol fashion.
In the past there were voting restrictions in place that encompassed various qualifications like property, race, etc. Bad things ensued. The South used them to keep blacks down and others used them to unethically restrict voting. Those restrictions are long gone, as voting rights legislation rightly recalled the cry of the Greatest Generation, “No Taxation Without Representation!” Yes, greatest. I know popular theory says the WWII boys are the greatest generation. I think those lads, including my Dad, are the bravest generation. But the convergence of those truly noble geniuses at one time in one place, Philadelphia in 1787, and what they wrought, to me, ices the title for them.
But because we no longer have those unjust restrictions on voting does it mean that no restrictions at all should be in place? Does the mere paying of taxes, as stated above, get you in the electoral poker game or is a lofty standard better for the Republic? Do we really want higher turnout or do we want a greater turnout of more informed voters?
Given Ben Franklin’s accurate line, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the Republic,” my elitist soul agitates for the better standards and more informed types. In fact, one wonders, as J.S. Mill speculated in On Liberty, if a person is getting a direct unearned payment from the government (not pensions, etc., but unearned payments) is there a conflict of interest apparent in extending them the franchise, as they will likely vote to benefit themselves, not the country as intended? An interesting question. More on Mill later.
So to deal with these and other outstanding issues that go to the heart of how we govern ourselves, let’s enact several logical and common sense reforms to insure the integrity of the system.
Voter ID: No duh. C’mon, if you can’t produce identification then how do we know you are who you claim to be? ID is necessary for so many of the most mundane tasks, but we’re going to waiver it for an extremely important right and duty? It’s also quite racist, as Dems usually are, to say that voter ID will disenfranchise minority voters. That assumes minority voters aren’t capable enough to have or get ID. Some states will even give you special IDs just to vote. Nope, say the Dems, too onerous. Yup, according to the Dems, all those lazy shiftless minorities can’t work up the energy to get even that special ID. Gee, the left has a low opinion of minority voters. The Dems also object because they know it will stop the voter fraud rampant in urban areas. I have myself worked polls in Philadelphia elections and seen union goons go polling place to polling place, with voter data in hand, voting under different names at different polls. This is what an absence of voter identification gets you. Not to mention the negative effect voter ID would have on voting by illegal immigrants. The left can’t have that in CA, AZ, and TX, now can they?
Saturday Voting: Okay, we weirdly do want to make it easier for people to vote. I know it seems counterintuitive, as various riff-raff will show up in bigger numbers. But there is that stuff about democracy blah, blah, blah, inherent in our heritage. So we should at least make a nod in its direction. And don’t get on your nerd horse and whine, “But weeee live in a republic, not a democracy.” True. And how do we choose representatives for the Republic? And who knows, maybe lethargic suburban Republicans will find the weekend time to put down their cheap zinfandels and head to the polls.
Civics Test: You don’t want a surgeon operating on you that hasn’t read the first thing on surgery, but it’s okay for the fate of America. Uh-huh. Ergo, let’s institute a simple civics test of very basic knowledge about our system that any American should know in order to intelligently vote. At the polls they should have a list of fifty questions handy, from which you randomly get only five of them to answer. You get one chance. You get ten minutes. You can get one wrong. If you fail you can try again next election but no dice this time. I can even suggest questions for this basic knowledge test of suitable voters:
- Brooks is coming out with a new fall line, what regiments will be represented in tiewear?
- Many think Callas was the best soprano, given her range, ever to appear in Tosca. Many think Price is better. And last night why were you seated in a different box than your hereditary box at Covent Garden? Choose and explain.
- You’re having a dinner party for the Board of Directors of the National Gallery and your sommelier tells you he’s out of the St. Estephe. Do you substitute the St. Emillion and/or have him flogged for dereliction of duty?
And think of it, considering her displayed level of knowledge of our political system, the new Congressidiot from the Bronx would not have been able to vote, much less many of her supporters. Now, that’s proper democracy!
Curtail Special Voting, Enforce Deadlines, and End Toddler Privilege: No more early voting. No more wacky late deadlines. You vote only in person or by absentee. Votes must be in by midnight on election night or they are not counted, waiver to military voters whose ballots may be slow to arrive because of distance. All votes are in before the counting starts. Broward County, FL, actually my home county, loses voting privileges for one hundred years.
This will stop Dems from seeing how far they are behind in close races and then manufacturing the votes to cover it, votes that are then miraculously discovered behind a Dumpster in a Wendy’s parking lot.
Oh, and for added frivolity, raise the voting age to 25, waiver for vets and active-duty military. That would disenfranchise most college students. A sounder reform cannot be envisioned.
Plural Voting: Now here’s the fun stuff, as we go back to J.S. Mill. We know that in reality equality is an illusion. Everyone comes to the table with different skills, talents, and levels of success. Those are also fluid, as people learn and achieve. So no one at any one time is precisely equal to another. Do we want equality under the law for everyone? Of course. Any other type of equality has to be enforced at the point of a bayonet. Rather bad show, that.
Does everyone contribute equally to the nation? Certainly not. Do some invest their time, lives, and duty lesser or greater than the norm? If greater, does that greater investment yield them a greater say in the affairs of the state?
Thus, military veterans, it’s just a silly coincidence that I’m one, get their votes counted twice. I can hear the screeching already. Same goes for spouses of military members killed in action. As in any investment, the more you put in the more you get in dividends. Not an odd notion.
It will be amusing to see U.S. Army recruiting posters pop up at all local Democratic Party headquarters. One problem, after the first day of Army basic training (Go Army! Beat Navy!), fuzzy socialist notions of society will have been mentally beaten out of recruits by snarling drill sergeants with murderous eyes.
Okay then, before I have the sans-culottes rushing my gates —would only set the dogs on them as countless times before— I will desist with my enlightened counsel. But remember Dr. Franklin again, in his response to citizens asking what sort of government the delegates to the Constitutional Convention had created, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
In the way we vote today, Old Ben would not be as confident of the keeping as he should be.
No matter who wins in Mississippi, that is still likely to be the case.