When I vote, as I have done since 1964, I present my driver's license. My name and address are checked against the official voter registration list. The photo verifies that I am who I claim to be.
Now, somehow, that procedure is condemned as racist. The claim is that it is too difficult for people from minority groups to present a birth certificate, and a social security card or DSS public assistance card to DMV, so that they can get a photo ID.
I don't get it.
Even if the procedure presents a challenge, so does everything else in life, such as applying for benefits, shopping, dealing with friends and neighbors, and getting Connecticut Light & Power to act on an electrical problem. Why does this particular challenge outweigh the benefit of ensuring honest elections?
Even if everyone in the world were white (and also Jewish and bald, as I am), I would still favor photo IDs to vote. I have two black great-grandchildren. I want them to vote when they grow up, and I want them to vote honestly.
It is no secret that the opposition to photo IDs comes from ACORN-like organizations, which plan to drag people who might not ordinarily vote, to the polls in droves, and tell them to vote for the Democrats "who will give them something." That something, of course, is the tax money of working people, including the already overburdened small business persons.
It is a pity that my seventh grade civics teacher, Alice S. Cummings, is no longer alive. She loved to tell us, in 1955, how the dead had been known to vote. Over half a century later, nothing has changed. Are we no different from a banana republic?
This entire push to buy elections is quite a sad commentary on the American education system. Even on bad days, I am always cheered up when reading of plans to "improve our schools." Improve them to what end? Surely not to teach people how to think critically and independently.
And what was wrong with education in the '50s? Today, we define education as passing a multiple-choice test that teachers are pressured into teaching toward, so that we can produce citizens who will vote, whether eligible or not, on the basis of TV sound bites. This is supposed to constitute education.
All of this amounts to a movement to acclimate people into being happy bureaucratic serfs, whether for government bureaucracies or corporate bureaucracies. I spent more than 20 years in bureaucracies, military and corporate, which took care of all of your material needs. I don't recall very many happy people in those organizations.
Far better it is, I think, to allow schools to teach people how to think independently, and allow them to vote responsibly; which includes being properly registered and checked. But, as Marshall McLuhan once noted, developing independent minds and characters is to create a supply for which there is no demand. Instead, let us train people to pass tests, and then get them to the polls to vote to perpetuate the bureaucracy.
Long live the People's Republic of Connecticut. Working 50 plus hours a week, at age 70, to support the government, is certainly fun. Championing the right of illegal elections to keep this system in place is even more fun.
In all seriousness, the push to eliminate voter IDs is but a trick to benefit the Democrats and harm the Republicans. Even if you are a Democrat, do you not have any respect for honest democracy?
"Ask what you can do for your country." That sounds quaint today. If John F. Kennedy came back and said that he still favored individual responsibility, would he be demonized as a Tea Party supporter?
Michael H. Agranoff of Ellington is a lawyer who represents adults having problems with the state's Department of Children and Families.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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