Monday, May 25, 2009

“The Really Big Chill”
by John Alexander Madison
May 25, 2009

Over the Memorial Day weekend we relaxed, we watched several DVDs, and we thought often about the brave men and women who served in our armed forces throughout our nation’s history. It was, of course, very appropriate to do so, especially for those who gave their lives to preserve the freedoms we all enjoy as citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.

On Sunday evening we gathered around to join Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, William Hurt, Tom Berenger, Jeff Goldbloom, May Kay Place, Jobeth Williams and Meg Tilley for their memorable weekend reunion following a funeral of an old friend. Aside from these great actors the “Bill Chill” soundtrack included “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “In the Midnight Hour,” “Gimme Some Lovin’,” “My Girl,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “I Second That Emotion,” “Quicksilver Girl,” “Take a Load Off Fanny,” “Dancing In The Street,” “Natural Woman,” “I Second That Emotion,” “When a Man Loves a Women,” “A White Shade of Pale” and “Joy to The World” thus making it an all-time classic.

We weren’t too far into the movie before a few big chills went through our cabin and up and down my spine. It was not due to the cool evening mountain air which inevitably follows (“as the night the day”*) a refreshing Colorado afternoon thundershower.

Rather, just reflecting on the movie’s title got me to thinking about the agenda of the current White House administration. It’s what many have called a socialist agenda and what Mark Levin describes in his new book (Liberty and Tyranny) as a “statist” agenda which is nothing less than a full frontal assault on our free market economy. But we’ll save comments on that for future discussions.

This week, I bring your attention the several interests groups who will be meeting in Washington, D.C. to discuss “The Future of Elections.” There will be predictable, inevitable, pre-determined outcomes from this meeting since, according to one participant, the final report is ‘intentionally devoid of details and any negatives.’ Additionally, other election-related subjects will be omitted, and that too is a shame.

One subject which needs in depth discussion and agreement is voter eligibility.

The Constitution of the United States includes two specific references to the “right of citizens to vote.” Specifically, the XIV Amendment (in part) “prohibits each government
in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's race, color or previous condition of servitude (i.e., slavery).” And, the XIX Amendment (in part) “prohibits each of the states and the federal government from denying any citizen the right to vote because of that citizen's sex.” Furthermore, we know that voting eligibility is defined by state statutes and specifically says that a person registering to vote must be a “U.S. citizen.”

Regarding voting eligibility, the question is whether proof of citizenship should be required when registering to vote and whether that responsibility falls on the individual or the government. In 2004, Arizona enacted legislation to require proof of citizenship and that statute was upheld in the courts. Then, too, government issued photo identification (IDs) is another important aspect of the voting process. In April 2008, an Indiana law requiring photo IDs was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court which said that requiring a photo ID was NOT an unreasonable barrier to voting. Those who favor the liberalization of election processes were sent packing while kicking, screaming and shouting “Why should we have to show election officials who we are before they give us a ballot.” Oh, I don’t know…perhaps to ensure the integrity of elections?

Most people believe that every eligible U.S. citizen should be registered to vote and, thereafter, participate in our elections. And can’t we all agree that no unreasonable barriers should be placed before any citizen who wishes to participate in the election process? Of course we can. The question then becomes “What is reasonable?”

If you are registered to vote and you regularly participate in elections you are doing your part by helping to preserve our democratic process and maintain the freedoms for which we are so grateful, especially on this Memorial Day weekend.

But here’s a call to action for you to weigh in on many of the issues which are being discussed in Washington, D.C. this week. You can begin by answering these questions:

1. Are you in favor of Election Day Voter Registration?
2. Do you support a National Voter Registration database?
3. Do you support Voting Rights for Illegal Aliens (i.e. non-citizens)?
4. Do you support The Real ID Act?
5. Do you believe that Proof of Citizenship should be required?
6. Should government issued Photo IDs be required?
7. Do you believe fully certified touch-screen voting machines (DREs) accurately record your votes?
8. Do you believe Hand Counting of Ballots should replace fully tested and certified optical scan ballot counting equipment?
9. Are unofficial election night results important to you?
10. Do you have any concerns about the integrity of Voter Registration Drives (such as A.C.O.R.N.)?
11. Are you a proponent of all Mail-In Ballot elections?
12. Is individual personal responsibility important to the voting process?

These questions address several critical issues being discussed and acted upon by legislators in Colorado and in Washington, D.C. For each of us, registering to vote and voting are very important…and a good start. Those who feel strongly about these issues should do more by contacting their elected representatives in the Colorado Legislature and the United States Congress to help them reach decisions on these matters.

Now is the time for us all to help ensure that elections remain transparent, honest and accurate. If we don’t, the plethora of legislation now being introduced and enacted to liberalize our election processes will continue, to our future regret. That’s when the really big chill will set in.

* from William Shakespeare (1564-1616) “This above all, to thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man”

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