Politicians dodge real issues

In 2008, how do we as Americans define citizenship and voting rights? Several states across the country are confronting the question of voter ID requirements at the polls. I firmly believe in the goals of the national voter identification movement aimed at preventing voter fraud. What I feel is missing is context in the debate over requiring valid photo identifications at polling places. Let us get the facts correct!

First, the United States is defined as a Constitutional Republic with a perennial tradition of laws. Any law related, in this particular case, to the constriction of potential voters must pass a rigorous inspection to prove its legality. Next, let us suppose the evolution of U.S. law is flexible, as many legal scholars contend, then every generation is obligated to reform, within reason, important laws when needed. The commonly shared ideals of civil liberties and rights have enriched our nation and created a lasting civil religious devotion to them. Ergo, responsible citizens, acting in accordance to the previous maxim, have a right to determine the composition of the voting public.

Americans recognize the belief “with voting comes responsibility.” Today, some view the vote as a devalued currency, and in lieu of recent economic hardships, this description is valid. When celebrities encourage young people to “Rock the Vote,” or Britney Spears and Paris Hilton appear in campaign ads, something is sorely amiss. Politicians racing to the bottom to appeal to the lowest common denominator are contemptible. Boiling political messages down to “hope” and “change we can believe in” discredits the time-honored tradition of consensus government and commitment to the public good, because it reveals na’ve desperation on behalf of progressive-minded people. As a result, the possibility of fraud in elections escalates.

Both political parties are the beneficiaries of a dumb down electorate. By mobilizing the most fanatical segments of society on the right and left, Republicans and Democrats find a constituency among the dead, lame and indigent. Only by acknowledging that we the people have the liberty to construct responsible voter identification laws, will our experiment in self-governance endure. Future generations await our lead.

Martin Henderson Junior History Major