Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Republican Voter Discrimination; Couched in US History

A gentleman once told me that one of his professors, at the university he had attended, taught that the founding fathers intentionally gave us a government that doesn't work.

Not quite.

The democratic, republic established by the founders is inefficient by design, not defective. The most capably efficient alternative is authoritarian: a monarchy, oligarchy, theocracy or dictatorship.

The United States of America was well conceived by educated men in the Age of Enlightenment (a.k.a., the Age of Reason). They were separating the states from a colonial monarchy (with an established tie to a state religion: the Anglican Church) and specifically set out to avoid creating a similar new monarchy.

Authoritarian regimes are prone to efficiency, because they put all things in the hands of one monarch, theocrat, dictator or small group of autocrats (an oligarchy).  However, authoritarian regimes are only as good as their leaders.  That type of leader was recognized by the founders as human, and therefore fallible.

To avoid the foibles of a single person, or small group of people, a system of Checks and Balances was created to distribute governing power amongst three groups in the government: the executive, legislative and judicial branches of a strong central government.

This was the second attempt at creating governance for a new country. The first effort, the Articles of Confederation, had created a weak central authority and was considered an abject failure.

A Constitutional Convention was convened in 1787 to rectify the failure, and thus a second try was begun; ratification was successfully completed in 1789. The US Constitution is still the basis of our government today. Thus was created the longest lasting, functioning, democratic, republic in history.

Mass participation in a democratic republic, universal suffrage, is the antithesis of efficiency, because it requires everyone qualified to weigh in on the selection of the legislators, executives and all other elected officials in the government. There can also be policy (and other) initiatives on the ballot.

There is no right to the vote specified in the US Constitution. The early 21st century has been marred by attempts, almost exclusively in states with Republican majorities in their legislatures and a Republican in the governor's mansion (aided by the Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013), to restrict access to the voting booth.

Limited/limiting participation of citizens in their government is considered to be radically conservative politics and can be the beginning of the end of Democracy.  Discouraging participation in government is most often done by folks who believe that a return to an authoritarian regime (e.g., dictatorship, oligarchy, monarchy, theocracy, etc...) is preferred; often identifying themselves as the most capable of leaders.

Paul Weyrich (a politically active, religious conservative and co-founder of the equally conservative Heritage Foundation) was known for opining that he didn't think everyone should be able to vote.  He had recognized that a smaller turn-out at the voting booth favored his perspective.  The Republican Party started to move in the ultra conservative direction, promoted by Weyrich, around 1980 and has adopted policy positions expressed in publications from the Heritage Foundation.

Ken Emanuelson, a Tea Party/Republican Party member from TX, is on record stating that the Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they’re going to vote 9 to 1 for Democrats.

The assault on voting rights and access to polling places espoused and practiced by the current, extremely far-right, version of the Republican Party has highlighted a need for a Constitutional amendment to delineate and codify universal suffrage. All US citizens that are age of majority, not serving a sentence for a felony conviction, should be guaranteed the right and responsibility of voting in our democratic republic.

It is essential that Democrats inform people, especially those that are at odds with the hard core, conservative tactics of current Republican politicians, that they are most likely to effect change merely by being a part of an extraordinarily large turn out of eligible voters in as many local, state and federal elections as is possible.

Register and Vote!

Give Hope and Change a Chance... and a Push!

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