SOUR GRAPES, OR POLITICS AS USUAL?
John Kerry -- remember him, he ran for president? -- says that there was partisan hanky panky at the polls last November. Long lines in strongly Democratic neighborhoods due to installing too few voting machines is something I could probably live with (although if done intentionally, it's still evil), but actually telephoning people and telling them that if they're going to vote Democratic, they need to go to the polls on Wednesday, or telling them they're ineligible to vote if they have unpaid parking tickets, that's just wrong.
Yes, people should know which day they vote, and they should know their rights. Then again, these people who are borderline disenfranchised are the very people who need to have a voice. It's clear that politicians and their operatives who are engaging in these dirty tricks are working diligently to keep those people from having a voice.
Our political system isn't about winning at all costs. The end shouldn't justify the means, even if the winners always get to say that it does. Our system is supposed to be about ideas and debate and giving everyone the choice and living with that choice because it's what people want. It's hard to live with a choice if you believe that the other side was afraid of your ideas.
Why, that sounds like totalitarianism.
So here's my suggestion: If you are an elected official who is responsible for deliberately putting too few polling booths in an area, then you need to lose your job and your pension, and nobody from your party ought to be able to hold that office for 50 years.
If you run a call center that calls people and tells them that they can't vote because they have an unpaid parking ticket, you need to have your business license revoked, your property seized, and you need to go to jail for one day for each phone call your center made. If you are the political party operative who hired the call center, you need to go to jail one year for every phone call the center made, and your party needs to be enjoined from raising any money for any political race anywhere in the country for the length of the election term for which the offense occurred (e.g., two years for a House race, six years for a Senate race). For a second offense? Death. No fooling around. This is the right to vote, and there is nothing more sacred in a democracy.
Do you think I'm too harsh? Perhaps you would prefer to live in a religious theocracy, such as Iran's? Oh, wait a minute... maybe you voted for Bush.