Saturday, November 04, 2006

Like suffrage? Suffer through this!

Suspect Device and Da Bog have brought the latest "guest column" in the Daily Advertiser to our attention. Compared to the Daily's usual fare, it's an awful diatribe. And that's really saying something.

For the uninitiated: my local rag employs a bevy of amateur columnists to riff on pressing issues of the day. As you might expect, this is a very diverse crew--they represent a vast array of views, from conservative extremism to old-fashioned raving racism. This feature certainly satisfies Gannett's mission of "local, local news." It's almost like actually talking to people in Lafayette! Though perhaps a little more restrained in print.

But I will spare you more commentary until you've had a bite of this juicy op-ed by one David Prejean. Oh yeah!

As is the case after most elections, the media and political establishment are lamenting the low voter turnout for the latest election. The wringing of hands and the furrowing of brows is palpable."What are we going to do about these apathetic voters? If they don't start voting in larger numbers, it will be the end of democracy!"

I beg to differ.

Man, that can't be leading to anything good. He might as well be saying, "I don't hate black people, but..." for the hole he's digging here. Or, perhaps, "Yeah, she was underage, but..."

Case in point, of the 13 amendments that were on the ballot Sept. 30, there was wide agreement that at least four of them should not have passed. Amendment numbers 4, 5, 6 and 9 were opposed by the Council for a Better Louisiana (non-partisan), Moon Griffon (conservative) and The Daily Advertiser (ultra-liberal). And yet they all passed.

I also voted no against those amendments. But it was because they were all bad ideas, not because some local bird-brains told me to. Even if they did run the extremely diverse spectrum that is Louisiana political punditry.

Indeed, the Daily Advertiser is so ultra-liberal that they had this to say in response:

David, whom we respect and who is one of those exceptional writers we chose as volunteer guest columnists...must have missed the editions in which we called for the impeachment of Bill Clinton and endorsed George Bush.

Watershed moments, indeed. That explains that great nose for talent! If The Advertiser is ultra-liberal, then I must be Ann Coulter (albeit less masculine).

The paper quoted a local party leader as saying that the founding fathers did not want a few people making decisions for the many. In fact, that is exactly what the founding fathers wanted. When this country was founded, white men with property were the only people allowed to vote.

True. So where will he go from here? A segue into a discussion about how the Electoral College was intended to control public passion? Maybe an extrapolation on representative, as opposed to direct, democracy? Lead us on, fearless one!

Now, I'm not saying that we've gone downhill as a result of women, minorities and non-property holders voting, but ... My point is that quantity does not necessarily mean quality...

So don't listen to the cacophony of voices demanding that you go vote. Ignorance is bliss, and the blissful can stay home on Nov. 7 and contribute to democracy in their own way.

Now, at first I was understandably appalled at these statements. But then I realized that all he's saying is that ignorant people need not vote. And I'm fair enough to concede that Prejean has one good point: that voters who take the time to hit the polls should also take the time to understand the issues involved. That's fair, if somewhat obvious.

Oh, and he also thinks that the most ignorant voters are minorities and women. Which is an insanely bigoted thing to say and should automatically disqualify someone from reproducing, let alone voting. Down with the ignorant!!

Why is it that those who call for voter testing and/or screening are never themselves the barometer for voting intelligence? I wouldn't trust anyone who voted for Dubya to draft such a curriculum, let alone someone who laments universal suffrage.

Maybe it's time to bring back the old Three-Fifths Rule. This time, let it apply to the value of a bigot's vote. How will we find out who these people are?

Test them!

Yeah, I could get behind that.


Nick said...

I think it's simple.

Name the three branches of government.

How many states comprise the USA?

Who is the President?

Who is the VP?

I you can't answer at least 3 out of 4, you can't vote. Oh, and you have to be an American citizen of legal age.

But then again, I voted for Bush, so I guess I can't have any say in something like this. According to your post, only Kerry voters would be qualified to give input on such a matter.

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick, I'm not sure Bush himself would pass that test. He certainly has little respect for the respective powers of each branch of government. And also because he's dumb.

Your last remark proves my point; who besides the person drafting it would not protest the test? Someone will always find it unfair.

Anonymous said...

You don't even need all four...just the last one. If someone can't name who our VP is after all the media has done to trash him in the last 6 years that is someone who has absolutely no idea what is going on in the country and would do both sides a favor in just staying home.

Ian McGibboney said...

Given our current administration, the VP query might actually be a trick question.