Beaton way off on voter claims
Glenn Beaton’s elitist and presumptuous assertions toward the common voter in his column (“James Madison doesn’t want your dead cat to vote, and maybe not you either,” The Aspen Times, Oct. 21.) wrongly misplace the plight of American democracy in the hands of the so-called uninformed masses, and completely ignore the role of several other, more nefarious forces.
Beaton claims that our election system is rampant with voter fraud. In actuality, voter fraud incident rates in the U.S. are between 0.0003 percent and 0.0025 percent, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. Occurrences are so low that Americans are more likely to be struck by lightning than to impersonate another voter at the polls. (https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/debunking-voter-fraud-myth) A more nefarious detriment to our democracy is the alarming rate of voter suppression. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, since 2008, 30 states have introduced voter suppression legislation, with 16 states passing such measures, including reduced, early or absentee voting periods; an end to Election Day and same-day voter registration, and burdensome voter-ID laws (https://www.aclu.org/facts-about-voter-suppression).
Even more nefarious is the increasing party resemblance to James Madison’s definition of factions, outlined in Federal No. 10. Scarily, the two political parties that control the rules of engagement in American politics are obsessed with self-interest and preservation, completely at the disservice of justice and the common good. For decades, the parties and their elected henchmen have sheepishly turned a blind eye to attacks on our democracy for the sake of winning elections and preserving the status-quo.
Our democracy is on the verge of implosion because of voter suppression, unregulated campaign finances, two political parties more concerned with self-preservation than the integrity of our democracy and unchecked meddling in our elections by foreign governments. Not because of the purported ignorant masses having the right to vote. Not because of supposed out-of-control voter fraud. And most certainly not because of affirmative action and civil rights efforts, which exist to increase equity within elite, white-power structures.
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With much sorrow I heard of the passing of a good friend Bruce Berger. He was a man for all seasons, a pianist, prolific author, environmentalist, and lover of Aspen.