Saturday, November 17, 2018

AVI Interviews Eben Jenkins About Voting Requirements

Reprinted from 2010.  I cleaned up the eye-dialect.

(AVI last interviewed Eb about his plan to build a fence along our southern border to keep Massachusetts people from immigrating)
AVI: Eben, I admit I stole one of your ideas about government the other day, and I wanted to set the record straight and give you full credit.
Eben: Don’t botha. If it catches on it would just mean repotas from the city comin’ up and trampling the squash.
AVI: I won’t give the address, then. What kinds of squash did you put in this year?
Eben: Hubbahds, same as ev’ry utha ye-ah. They keep better. Have to take an axe to ‘em around Febrary to open ‘em up. Now that’s a squash.
AVI: You were telling me about your plan to raise the voting requirements.
Eben: Yep. That Mota Vota ideer was one of the most damfool things to come out those damfool congressmen in a long time. Goin’ in just the opposite direction of what we want. Should make it hahda to vote, not easia. Hell, I’d change the pollin’ place ev’ry Novembah if I could.
AVI: You’d want everyone to show identification, then?
Eben: Identyfication? Identyfication? I want ‘em to show a whole family photo: Motha, Fatha, and two kids at least eight yeahs old. No one should be allowed to vote until they’ve sent two kids off to school for a coupla yeahs.
AVI: Why would that qualify them to vote?
Eben: With two, you get a pretty good ideer what hasta be fixed and what just can’t. Just what we need down in Washington.
AVI: Both mother and father? What about widowhood and divorce?
Eben: Who-eva has the kids gets to vote.
AVI: Joint custody?
Eben: Then they both wait til the kids are 16.
AVI: Eb, I get the point that we want to have responsible voters. In the old days you had to be a white male property owner…
Eben: (interrupting)…and they shoul’ve done it this way then. Much smahta.
AVI: But Eb, this is crazy talk. There are lots of people unmarried, without kids, who are very responsible.
Eben: Yep. And most’ve ‘em can do a little math, too. They’d look around and sign on to this in a hahtbeat. I do worry about distractin’ the othas long enough to get this passed, though. Maybe a 50% sale at Whole Foods. I hear that owna might go along with it.
AVI: People could fake those photos, Eb. Easy.
Eben: Easy? Compayud to what? Kids put up a lot moa resistance than dead people do.
AVI: Two kids could rent themselves out to a whole neighborhood pretty quickly.
Eben: Rent themselves out? That’d be two smaht kids. I’d punch theya ticket to vote right then.
AVI: But the cheaters who hired them…
Eben:…would be payin’ to vote. Pretty near as good. We can work with those. And at least they’d neva dayuh run for anything.
AVI: People would object because it favors the rich.
Eben: The prosp’rous, maybe. But the fanatical rich who neva have time for anything but money, they’d be right out. And theya would still be plenty of poora folks that would qualify. And just as a bonus, those’ud get moa respect.
AVI: What about illegal aliens?
Eben: That was a puzzle. We don’t have much problem with that heah, but if it started, we’d just tighten the restrictions a bit. Maybe they’d have to show a dump stickah or somethin’. Come to think of it, if they had a dump stickah we might not worry about the photo so much.
AVI: But anyone could just go down to the town hall and get one of those.
Eben: Yep. And thuhty puhcent of the natives haven’t figured that out yet. I figure the ones that do, even if they’ve snuck in from somewheah, they’d be all right.
AVI: Most of the country isn't going to go for this.
Eben: Explain to me how New Hampsha electin' bettah people hahms the country. And I think theyah are a few states that might follow along anyway.
AVI: Vermont?
Eben: (laughs) Well, that'd bring 'em back to red in a hurry, wouldn't it?
AVI: Engineers, and doctors and nurses, any of the applied sciences – those people have a good idea what has to be fixed and what can’t. Can’t they get in?
Eben: I should think we could qualify such folk for an exemption. But we’d keep the law on the books. Just so they’d know why. Let them make the case to the Selectmen.
AVI: Any other voter limitations?
Eben: Half-a-dozen. Like for example, I don’t think people who work for the guv’ment should vote.
AVI: I work for the state. Would that mean I could still vote in local and federal elections, or not at all? (Eben gives AVI a baleful look here. AVI backs away and changes the subject). What do you think of the Tea Party, Eb?
Eben: I like it better’n the original. They’re throwin’ politicians ovaboad instead of tea. And theah not blamin’ it on the Indians this time.


Anonymous said...

Now here is some really sensible legislation we all ought get behind. Yessir.

Brent said...

Eben's on the right track. I think a combination of required duties/services (military service, gun ownership, jury duty, volunteer fireman or EMT..) and economic stake (net taxes > benefits, landowner, S&P 500 stockholder..) would work really well, with flexibility to include both poorer folks who serve a lot and richer folks who may serve less.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Eb likes to keep it simple. Perhaps those other items could be grounds for exemption from the main rule.

A psychologist friend wants to reverse the idea. You can't have children until you've voted in two presidential election.

I'm not in favor of any additional restrictions, of course. I consider showing ID to be blindingly obvious. Because voting is a legal right in our system, we tend to confuse it with a moral right. But by history there is no such right - there are other systems of determining "the consent of the governed." Caucuses come to mind, and a republican form of government is already a compromise move because of size.

Legal rights can be forfeited. In smaller groups, one forfeits the right to influence by not showing up, not participating, by being deceptive, or by disturbance.

Mostly, I was trying to illustrate that a greater wisdom derives from certain life-experiences, and if such are not the basis for voter eligibility, they should at least not be treated disdainfully. As often happens now, where possession of certain cultural attitudes is deemed a higher qualification than important life experiences.

RichardJohnson said...

Eben Jenkins? I was expecting either Enoch Turner or Eben Robay, whom I met decades ago in Down East Socialism.

Texan99 said...

I'm on board with the dump sticker. That became a white-hot issue in my county last year. What do you do if trash pickup is temporarily disrupted? There were people who never could wrap their minds around it.