i'm an optimist. a cynical optimist, perhaps, but an optimist over and above all. in any given situation, i sincerely feel that the base human instinct is to do right and best, and i sincerely believe that when we give people fair means to do right and best, they will try to the best of their ability, and generally succeed. (it is for this reason, of course, that i decline to believe racism and partisan political selfishness might cause voter id proponents to be proposing those initiatives in an attempt to commit their own sort of voter fraud--by defrauding people of their rightful vote--and i do mean that sincerely).
i also know that many (most?) people are not optimists. they may or may not be cynical, but they are nevertheless quite sure that, in any given situation, there's a base human instinct for selfishness that suggests we are all and always in need of a little gentle supervision (to put it as kindly and benignly as possible) and that we are all best advised to come up with good and fair and orderly processes that would effectively protect us against ourselves.
so it is that the subject of voter id quite emotionally divides the world between optimists and not optimists, where the optimists want to believe voters will always prefer to vote fairly and do so to a sufficient degree, and the not optimists are insistent that such belief is naive, and leaving us vulnerable to catastrophe via voter fraud.
so lets take the not optimists opinion as correct, and chalk up misplaced optimism to insufficient supervision, shall we?
anyone else see the inspiring photographs of the ailing world war 2 veteran, fighting for his life so he can contribute one more ballot to our great democracy this november 6th? (made even more inspiring by his having to volunteer out of an internment camp in order to serve). so, anyone else see the irony that a disproportionate number of elderly veterans coincidentally lack sufficient identification to pass most "voter id" initiatives' standard for eligibility to vote? yeah, it's anecdotal and emotional, and maybe little more than evidence of more insufficient supervision, but at some point perhaps it might be useful to explore the granting of enfranchisement by the government, rather than the other way around. (seriously--think for a moment about the possible not optimistic ramifications of that).
but let's not digress too far. and i get it why we should all be agreed that non-citizens and others disenfranchised by law should not be able to vote. in fact, i do believe we are all agreed on this. so the question i have, to be posed to any and all proponents of "voter id" initiatives, is, what process currently exists to ensure full enfranchisement to all those eligible? after all, since we know people can't be trusted to ensure everyone gets their fair and full right to vote, we should be interested in a fair process to guarantee it, shouldn't we?
ah, yes, i can hear the not optimists now. caveat votor! (no, i do not know latin, and my online latin translater does not know what the heck "voter" means, either). i get it--while we're ensuring all the fraud-minded ineligibles are denied their nefarious intent, we really don't need to bother doing individual voter's work for them to ensure they are properly registered and identified to vote, as that's something they alone should be motivated to ensure. and we're all good, right?
so what do not optimists think we should do when an eligible citizen properly submits registration to vote, and are nevertheless defrauded of that vote via active sabotage? isn't the not counting of an eligible vote just as significant an assault on our democracy as the counting of an ineligible one?
i'm sure we are all equally outraged at such a possibility, right?
so, not optimists, here is your evidence that better supervision is, indeed, as you always believe, necessary. a clear-cut case of voter fraud, complete with physical evidence and the alleged perp in custody.
i'm looking forward to the same energy and zeal otherwise devoted to disenfranchising eligible voters, like our ailing world war 2 veterans who fought but didn't die for their right to vote, to be otherwise devoted to rooting out and prosecuting and incarcerating anyone who would defraud the electoral process.