I Fail to See How Making Voting Rights Contingent on One’s Knowledge
of Mad Men is Discriminatory.
I really thought we were all on the same page on this one. Really did. Voter fraud represents a substantial threat to our democracy, and I truly thought we all shared an interest in snuffing it out.
So you might imagine my surprise when the opponents of the Voting Legality Verification Act (VLVA)—a bill which I proposed and staunchly support—began making ludicrous accusations that it is merely a pretext for voter suppression, on the basis that it requires people to pass a simple test of Mad Men knowledge before being allowed to vote.
In drafting a bill to protect our elections, my fellow supporters and I went to great lengths to ensure that the VLVA applied equally to all Americans. And there was near-universal agreement among everyone I spoke to—be they friends from the country club, members of the media, or fellow Congressmen—that nothing unites Americans, regardless of race, creed, or class, like our intense devotion to Mad Men. The only two outliers I encountered were my gardener and my maid, and they’re probably just too interested in gardening and maiding to watch much television or look at me when I speak to them.
To opponents of this bill, I ask you: if a Mad Men test is “pretextual,” is it also then “pretextual” that any voter who can produce an original ticket stub from a Bruce Springsteen concert shall be granted two votes instead of the customary one? Hmmm? Is it “pretextual” that the VLVA prohibits voter registration booths within 200 yards of Tyler Perry movie premieres and lively church services?
I just don’t see it.
Look, we can sit here all day debating about what’s the best way to safeguard our elections from voter fraud, and whose bills are tantamount to discrimination against whom, but one thing we should all be able to agree on is that requiring Americans to list their five favorite NASCAR drivers before being allowed to vote does not raise even the slightest hint of impropriety.
Without proper voter registration, how would we have protected our fledgling democracy from attempts by Native Americans to enter our lands, vote in our elections, and contaminate our ballot boxes with their diseased blankets? How else would we have protected our system of government from being overrun by witches? What else but aggressive enforcement of voter credentials could have prevented Johnny Reb from covertly sending his slaves to cast secret votes in Union elections? Because of robust voter ID laws, Union election officials could legally deny those slaves the ballot, then collect a bounty for safely returning them to their masters. And thus, democracy was safeguarded.
I’ll spell this out one last time for the opponents of the VLVA. The VLVA sees only one race: the human race. And the VLVA sees only one color: the rainbow. And it is clear that the text of the VLVA, interpreted in the most literal manner possible and divorced from any preconceived notions that you might be harboring but that wouldn’t even cross my mind because I don’t think like that, does not explicitly disenfranchise anyone.
Honestly, if you think this is pretextual, I can already tell you’re going to hate my abortion rights bill.
SUGGESTED READSAesop’s Fables Teach Children the Art of Voter Suppression
by Andrew Golden (2/5/2008)
FAQ: Attracting Female Voters
by River Clegg (10/18/2012)
Conversations While Canvassing For Bill Bradley in Small New Hampshire Towns
by David Gaffen (2/10/2000)
RECENTLYThe Pagan Origins of Valentine’s Day
by Kathryn Doyle (2/12/2016)
List: Some (More) Things That are Worse Than Being Alone on Valentine’s Day
by Ali Garfinkel (2/12/2016)
Inside Witnesses: One Crime’s Many Narratives: Chris Loses Kevin Outside
by Marti Jonjak (2/12/2016)
POPULARList: Alternatives to Resting Bitch Face
by Susan Harlan (1/25/2016)
Jamie and Jeff’s Note to the Babysitter
by Paul William Davies (1/13/2016)
Eight Excuses I Have Told My Son to Use for His Failure to Hand in English Homework, Excuses I Have Learned are Acceptable During a Thirty-Year Career in Journalism, Books, and Film
by Nick Hornby (2/5/2016)