The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

NEVER NEVER LAND

“Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to  prove that they are insured – but not everyone must prove that they are a citizen.  So an illegal immigrant actually has more freedom than an American citizen because they are not forced to purchase healthcare.”

– Dr. Barbara Bellar (From a speech discussing the implications of the Affordable Care Act – a/k/a Obamacare).

Some of my acquaintances think that requiring a picture State ID or Driver’s License in order to vote presents an inordinate and cumbersome burden on some eligible members of our community.  They view this merely as a disguised attempt at preventing these people from voting (an updated version of the poll tax which was banned through the adoption of the 24th Amendment to the Constitution in 1964).

I find this attitude pitiable as I reflect on my own immigrant grandmother whose formal education ended when she was nine years old; who taught herself a foreign language (English); who became a citizen as soon as she was eligible to do so; and who viewed one of her most fundamental rights and obligations as participating in her adopted country’s electoral process by never failing to vote in every election.

Grandma had an interesting (and I think informed) way of deciding who deserved her support.  If there were a “Common Sense Party” she would certainly have registered as a member.  In its absence, she never affiliated with either of the two major parties but gleaned as much information about each candidate for each office and voted for the ones she viewed as offering the most practical solutions without respect to party label.  All this from a woman with only a third grade formal education.

Back in the days when grandma voted (and during most of the elections in my own lifetime) Election Day was THE day when you cast your ballot.  There was no such thing as “Early Voting”.  If it happened that it was a bleak and raw November day when she and I voted for our country’s representatives and President; if the lines at the polling place were long and people had to stand outside in the cold and snow while waiting their turn to vote, stomping their feet to keep the blood circulating, that’s what you did in order to express your opinion.

Sure, there may have been some grousing and banter among the voters, “Why is this taking so long?,” and “Don’t they train the election judges on how to do their jobs?,”  but we endured this.  And the people who had to wait an hour in line to cast their vote could look back on the inconvenience of their wait with pride as a small statement about how they had fulfilled their civic duty.

By comparison, the election process has become far easier.  And in a sense, that is unfortunate because that translates to trivializing the meaning of what it means to be a citizen and what it means to participate in the process.  Perhaps the statement that we hear regarding doing reps at the gym applies here, “No pain, no gain”.

And yet, even with the simplification of the electoral process, even with all we have done to make it totally painless to vote, according to the estimates, less than six out of ten of us will bother to participate on November 6th.  The word “shocking” comes to mind, but I believe it doesn’t go far enough to describe the apathy of forty percent of us Americans.

I can say with absolute certainty that if my grandmother, who never learned to drive a car, needed to get a picture ID from New York State she would have saved the money to purchase one, even if it cost $100.  There are two reasons for this.  She had a strong belief that a person had to take pride in her actions – and she accepted accountability for herself.

At this point you may wonder why I began this post with a quotation about Obamacare.  The reason is really quite simple.  Under the provisions of the Act, beginning in 2014, each citizen will need to prove that he or she has purchased health insurance – or be subject to a tax in the amount of $695 enforced by the IRS.

Thinking about this logically, if a person, needing it, cannot make the effort to line up transportation to get a State ID; if they cannot afford the nominal fee for obtaining one that most states charge; do you really think that they are going to buy a health insurance plan which is going to cost them several thousand dollars a year?  Or, for that matter, failing that and being in violation of the law, they will have the money to pay the tax which Obamacare imposes?

If you truly believe that, I hope you’re enjoying your stay in Never Never Land.

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Comments on: "NEVER NEVER LAND" (11)

  1. Sounds similar to here. The illegal refugees get paid more by our government than pensioners do with social security payments.

  2. After hearing comments from you and others in foreign countries, I have become convinced that there is a clandestine university somewhere which all politicians worldwide must attend in order to be successful in office and obtain their certification as BS holders (Beyond Stupid).

  3. nearlynormalized said:

    Picture ID–Federal–not State–no in-betweens. Doesn’t that mean government control? States Rights? What is going to be honored as a VOTER ID?

    • I’m not sure exactly what you’re suggesting in your comment.

      I don’t think that anyone would have a problem accepting either a valid State ID card with photo or a valid State issued Driver’s License as sufficient documentation to receive and vote a ballot.

      When you consider that you can’t buy alcohol or tobacco without one; can’t open a bank account without one; can’t get a casino player’s card without one; can’t get on an airplane without one; why should it be such an imposition to require one in order to vote?

      It’s really neither complicated nor oppressive – other than to those who choose to make it so.

      • nearlynormalized said:

        It’s not so easy…I saw it at the last Presidential Election, here in Vegas. Older African American man and an older Latino Man, both were asked for more than one piece of ID even though they had the official pamphlet as where to go and their name on it to cast their vote. There is no law now in Nevada that requires a poll worker to ask for ID. I’m not a woman of color or Latina, I was not asked to prove who I was…Yeah/nay–the discussion continues and games will be played.

      • Coming from Chicago you needn’t lecture me on voter fraud or efforts made to discourage eligible voters. I have truly seen it all in the many elections in which I worked as a poll watcher.

        Your statement is precisely why requiring that a voter produce a State issued ID or Driver’s license is the most effective way to deal with the “over-zealousness” of some of those who manage the mechanics of our election.

        If the law were to require that and only that, the people about whom you spoke should have had no difficulty obtaining their ballots -and not been subject to the whims of those managing the polls on election day.

      • nearlynormalized said:

        On going game; there will be no winner or loser, just count 5% of the voting public as frauds and play with the #’s. Large African American communities, Latin, definitely the Latin communities, higher % of fraud will be figured in those communities. When you register to vote, aren’t you asked to show a valid ID?

      • Years ago, Social Security noticed that many Polish-Americans who had worked in the US and retired back in Poland were living exceptionally long lives. After investigating this, they discovered that many of them had died years earlier… SSA just hadn’t been notified of the fact. So SSA began requiring a thumb print on the back of cashed Social Security checks. Shortly after that policy was adopted, there were a lot of burials in Poland of nine-fingered elderly people as their relatives had severed the thumbs, preserved them in formaldehyde and brought them out once a month when the check arrived.

        As long as man is imperfect (which may be awhile) we will never eliminate fraud. At best we can hope to minimize it – and requiring a picture ID to vote seems a small price to pay for trying to keep our elections honest.

      • nearlynormalized said:

        I want to be the Devils Advocate and let you know, anybody, I mean anybody can get any State ID or supposedly secure documents just by sniffing it out and say what you want in the right group of people. $500 gets you the whole works…Is that the 5% of fraud that is understood? It is going to be interesting.

      • nearlynormalized said:

        I want to be the Devils Advocate and let you know, anybody, I mean anybody can get any State ID or supposedly secure documents just by sniffing it out and say what you want in the right group of people. $500 gets you the whole works…Is that the 5% of fraud that is understood? It is going to be interesting.

  4. I have no doubt that fraudulent documents can be purchased at some price. I will accept your figure of $500 for this discussion. I don’t think this issue is about people falsely trying to get documents and then vote. This conversation is about the cost of obtaining documents by people who are legitimately entitled to vote.

    The Federal government requires that all employers have new employees complete an I-9 form in order to certify that they are eligible to work in this country. These are the same documents which would enable a person to get a state ID. If the Federal government thinks that it’s so important that only people who are legitimately entitled to work be allowed to do so and require them to prove that eligibility, why should we hold to a lower standard for those who will vote on the people who will direct the country’s affairs?

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