To the Editor:
Not much in the world stands still. Things morph… people, priorities, political parties, and sometimes, we’re afraid, even principles. Language changes over time, too. Take the word “sophisticated.” We now understand it to mean worldly-wise and appearing tasteful. It comes from a group of ancient Greek debaters, the Sophists, who were known for their ingenuity in making good-sounding arguments that did not have truth as their goal — sort of “Philadelphia lawyers” before there was a Philadelphia. As noted, we would like to say that Dennis Warden’s recent column on voter suppression as a myth/lie was very, very sophisticated.
COVID isn’t going away — it’s doing what viruses do, morph into something harder to deal with. Consequently the nationwide measures taken to allow people to vote without endangering themselves are still likely to be in play come next voting/virus season. Democrats took the virus seriously and fully utilized the new ways to get their votes in. They won. Now Republican state legislatures are working overtime to remove those pathways to democracy.
Mr. Warden’s bold master stroke was to sweep the board clear of all suppression techniques being used or proposed by Republican legislatures except for the one he wanted to talk about — photo IDs. This issue was easy for him to dispense with as most people in both parties find that requirement largely unobjectionable. What he chose to leave out of the discussion were tactics like that in Texas of restricting voting drop boxes to one per country. That’s one box for 4.7 million people in the Democratic Houston area of Harris County. “Pardon the inconvenience, son. This is just necessary for the integrity of voting.” How about doing away with drive-through voting altogether or restricting hours or saying “no voting on Sundays” when Black people often gather after church to go down to the polls? Is there any doubt about intent when the GOP has tried to restrict food and water being offered to people standing in voting lines for hours? How do you feel about angry crowds threatening Black voters? Well, let’s let them videotape those people so they can be intimidated by the threat of later harm when no one’s watching. Of course, there’s always the Grand Ole Ploy of gerrymandering which groups people into artificially drawn precincts that make their vote inconsequential. If none of these methods gets them the results they want Republican legislatures are trying to usurp elected official’s final power to certify election results. This could effectively short-circuit the entire democratic process. Yes, these practices and more make us believe that voter suppression is alive and well in these United States and if Mr. Warden thinks that’s lying then we’ll simply have to consider the source and respectfully disagree. Of course, that’s just our unsophisticated opinion.
Gasconade County Democrat Committee