December 30, 2011

If You Want to Vote...Vote!

It's not rocket science.
I just don’t get it.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the U.S. Justice Department blocked a new South Carolina law that would require voters to present photo identification at the polls, saying the law would disproportionately suppress turnout among eligible minority voters. Apparently they have the authority to do so, under the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

In a recent editorial, the New York Times identified another subset of voters that tend to be disenfranchised under such a requirement: college students. Such a voter might (ordinarily) live in State A and attend school in State B, yet never bother to obtain an official ID in State B because his tenure there is only temporary.

The broader conspiracy, according to some? Blacks, Hispanics, and college students tend to think liberally and vote Democratic, whereas the voter ID laws are generally promoted by Republicans. Hence, obviously, this is nothing more than a poorly veiled scheme to stack the deck and elect more Republicans to public office.

Ugh. Where do I start?

Contrary to the rants of liberal politicians and journalists, no one has a constitutionally protected right to vote. No one. So whatever you might believe about this highly sensitive issue, let us begin by having an honest discussion based on demonstrable facts.

Even if the conspiracy theory is true, and even if every state enacted such a statute, every “disenfranchised” voter can still beat the system. It is neither difficult nor expensive to obtain a state ID card. If you want to vote, just get out there and get one! Many states even allow voters to use a passport, or a military ID.

Very few things offend me to the core of my being, more than the proposition that your personal freedoms and happiness are someone else's responsibility, that the outcome of your life is dictated by some outside force beyond your control. If you want to vote, then it's up to you to study the process and make it happen.

So, you want to empower these downtrodden people? Let’s try this: Instead of complaining that we don’t do enough to protect their rights, teach them to be responsible citizens who participate in our political system. If the state says they have to follow a certain procedure, teach them how it works. If they need a state ID, walk them over to the DMV and help them with the paperwork. If they can’t afford the fee, help them pay it.

I live in the freest and most tolerant country in the world. Not only that, but it’s also the freest and most tolerant civilization in the history of the planet. No one else even comes close. Hence, I find it troubling when I hear people complain that they’re not free enough.

Freedom is not free. Along with its privileges come a host of responsibilities that we all must bear for the common good. Honest people have nothing to fear from a little accountability. Let’s get to work.


  1. The ones against the SC law have no argument worth the air it took to explain their position.
    'Disenfranchising' makes no sense when a photo ID is needed for so many other reasons. A driver's license and cold medicince are two of the best.