I would say it's political satire, but in the Lone Star State, really, what's the difference?

15 August 2012

Voter-mandering

Let me apologize in advance for even broaching this “played out” subject—mainly because I hate to even dignify this non-argument with a response—but I simply cannot, in good conscience, let this pass without saying a word about it.

I think we’re all familiar enough here with the general premises involved in the pseudo-debate of late concerning the new voter ID laws cropping up around the country that I can skip the lengthy/thorough recap bit. Even if you aren’t familiar, all one need do is think about it for 5 seconds and the opposing positions become readily apparent: anti-voter fraud vs. demographical discrimination. That’s about all there is to it.

While a number of colleagues have taken to this latter interpretation, the verdict is by no means unanimous. And though she is certainly not alone in her line of reasoning, there is one dissenter in particular that has caught my attention this evening. Rather than merely voicing her opinion in isolation, she has instead chosen to do so in the form of a rebuttal to one of our peers, offering what I feel to be a rather thoughtless criticism—and a harsh one at that. You can find the original post by Mr. Kyle Pina here, along with Serena's rebuttal here.

The primary problem I have with Serena's reply isn’t so much the argument itself, per se, but the somewhat patronizing tone with which it is delivered. She makes it a point to explicitly state not once but twice, along with several other comments that suggest the same theme, that Kyle doesn't have an ID himself. Why she would draw this conclusion I'm not exactly sure, but she more of less uses this as justification for dismissing the previous argument: "I understand why Pina would oppose this, especially because he does not have a valid Texas ID, but. . ."

Perhaps I’ve missed something somewhere, and I do hope either she or he will correct me if I’m wrong here, but I don't believe he ever said that he didn't have an ID himself, only that he hadn't previously considered the concept of requiring one for voting purposes. And even if he had said what she claims he said, I see no reason that this would justify being totally dismissive of his position. If anything, it would only offer further support. It seems to me she has inadvertently illustrated the very essence of the counterargument by blatantly disregarding the subset of potential voters who would inevitably be adversely affected by such a law. But again, I don't think he ever said that. He's a student; he clearly has a valid photo ID of some sort, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to enroll in the first place.

As for this Fund chap she references to back up her claims: John Fund basically wrote one of Rush Limbaugh's books for him. . . .  Need I say more? Perhaps this is just the "slut" in me talking, but as far as I'm concerned, this fact alone effectively invalidates anything that has ever or will ever come out of the man's mouth. This is not to say that every argument made by Fund is necessarily and automatically bad, but surely there are countless credible resources available.

Now, as for the argument itself: Since we're apparently allowing overtly biased opinion to count as credible evidence and because he can state this far better than I, I'm going to let Jon Stewart make this argument for me, complete with an appearance from our man John Fund: The Wizards of ID and Leashes for Unicorns. (Sorry for not participating in the bootlegging culture and including embedded clip here; trust me, I'm not above that, I just couldn't find a version that included the parts I wanted. I blame YouTube.) The part you'll want to see starts about 30 seconds in. (Also, please enjoy the mandatory previewing Jack-in-the-box promo. You're welcome.)

In sum, I do have somewhat mixed feelings about the whole voter ID issue. That being said, though, I am inclined to think that this ultimately amounts to the voter's-box equivalent of Gerrymandering. Now, considering this unseemly and questionable practice has apparently gained the Supreme Court stamp of approval, it does indeed seem reasonable that we could perhaps have a debate about whether or not enacting voting laws can or should be used to achieve the same political purposes. But that isn't the conversation we're having. Before we can even begin to fairly assess the situation in its entirety, we must first call it what it actually is: votermandering. Or something like that.

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