The few weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving, particularly in even-numbered years, is the time when politically-inclined Americans (granted, they’re an endangered species) discuss the most recent election results. And this year is no exception.
Absent a few scattered discussions about how Candidate X or Candidate Y won because of voter fraud, the issue of requiring prospective voters to produce a valid form of identification – like the Dodo bird and the 8-track player – has gone by the wayside.
That in our nation of laws, the potential if not the actual practice of voter fraud exists is disgraceful. Extremist lunatics of both the right and left wings are to blame. As are politicians who are not necessarily ideological wing nuts, but whose obsession with winning clouds their ability to convey effectively an otherwise ironclad argument.
NO VOTER ID? NO PROBLEM
Take Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai’s 2012 comment, for example, to the Republican State Committee, in describing a voter ID requirement in that state, since struck down by the PA Supreme Court: “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the State of Pennsylvania – done.”
Democrats, liberals in general, and their sycophants in the media immediately jumped on Turzai’s remarks, insisting that Pennsylvania’s Republicans proposed the voter ID law was because they figured that most prospective voters without proper identification would tend to vote Democrat, and so by passing that law would have taken votes away from Democratic Presidential nominee (and incumbent) Barack Obama, and would help Republican Mitt Romney win the state and, as they hoped, the White House.
In fairness to Turzai, that’s not what he said. He simply expressed his opinion that the law would help Romney win which, of course, naturally would have made him and other Republicans happy.
That’s no different than if a state requires surgeons to have a degree from an accredited medical school. It is a good law, and one that certainly would increase MDs’ chances of gainful employment – if they don’t have to compete with “quacks” for jobs. Would it make the doctors happy? Of course it would – but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good law for everyone.
But Turzai’s overzealousness in stating the case – a Republican curse these days – caused the law to flop, and its supporters ran for political cover.
And so, if some fraternity at a college anywhere in the state of Pennsylvania, or numerous other states without voter ID laws, requires its pledges to “go out and vote on Election Day in at least five locations” they can do that without much of a problem. Will that really make a difference in the election results? Probably not, but that’s not the point.
NO IMMIGRATION ID? NO PROBLEM
Next, we have the issue of illegal aliens. This one, is not just an exercise in principle. It is a matter of our well-being as a nation. Arizona courageously led the way a few years ago with a proposal to empower its state law enforcement officers to help enforce federal laws that have been on the books for decades: namely, when suspecting that someone is an illegal alien (with provisions in the law that physical appearance cannot be a determinant in that assumption), to ask for that person’s ID.
Mind you, federal immigration law since the 1950s required aliens to do so. (Quick review: an “alien” is any person in the United States who is not a citizen, and so that includes immigrants and nonimmigrants.)
But backlash against the Arizona law caused many to run for cover yet again. They were accused of being racists – and the “R” word usually makes their knees buckle and backbone turn to jelly.
Surely, there are some real racists behind that law – but most are not. And it is the non-racists who need to stand up and say: “shame on you – this has nothing to do with race, nationality, or religion – it is about the law.”
Actually, we shouldn’t be that surprised. Since hopping the White House gate and strolling in through the front door has become easier than trespassing onto a residential complex on a hot summer night to jump in the swimming pool, how can we expect our voting booths, or our borders, to require some sort of documentation prior to access?
Think about Presidential Inauguration Day. Every four years usually on January 20 (or the 21st, if the 20th is a Sunday), a president is sworn in and usually walks in the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue from the U.S. Capitol to the White House. Security, needless to say, is very tight.
But after all the hoopla and fanfare has ended, and the president, first lady, and all the dignitaries are gone, all that’s left is all the confetti, the discarded flyers, and other debris to clean up. And anyone can walk on the street again – no more police lines, no barricades, no documentation.
That post-parade scene, with open access, well, that’s America in 2014.