Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

The material I post on this blog represents my views and mine alone. The material you post on this blog represents your views and yours alone.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Mandatory Voting -- Still Not Registered?  Still Not Voting? – It Should Cost You

A few weeks back the “Terre Haute Tribune Star” published my proposal that voting be mandatory (May 24, 2015,  FLASHPOINT, How About Requiring Every Citizen to Vote).  I expected a selection of rich, rugged individualists, a stray angry survivalist or two, and not a few “protect the vote, expel the cheats” Republicans to indignantly reply to my reasonable demand.

Nothing coming in from these worthies. From the Koch brother operatives on the top floors of granite corporate skyscrapers to Stockades of Freedom in the woods of Idaho, those who fear democracy have decided no defense is the best defense.

Their silence almost matches the shuffling, somber quiet one finds around ballot boxes at election time.  And while the lack of response from those who fear democracy was predictable, it’s still perplexing and depressing.

So I’ll try this out: Because I believe in representative democracy, and because the vote is the engine, the tool and the fuel of a working democracy, I advocate penalties for not voting.  A $20 fine or community service is about right. This would give all current, semi-comatose, eligible-to-vote citizens a pecuniary/personal stake in every election.  Stay with me on this.

Twenty buckaroos is what it costs you to go AWOL in elections in Australia. Around here, that’s dinner with wine and a tip at the Olive Garden or four or five trips through the Rally Nutrition Center drive through.

I ask:  Does a double-saw buck fine cross a line in the sand on your beach of non-voting righteousness?  Does parting with a Jackson push the tide of needed action far enough up the shore to turn your silent, dry civic apathy to wet snarls of self-defense?  If a “Vote or Pay” law offends you, please explain.

As patriots are constantly telling us as we send our young and not so young off into far away mountains and deserts to die or come home hurt, freedom isn’t free.   I can guarantee you won’t be facing snipers and IEDs on your way to register or go to the polls. And after all, the maximum penalty for failing to register with Selective Service is a $250,000 fine and up to five years in prison. Freedom isn’t free, so why should not voting get a public pass and a shrug?

Vote or pay up Ms. and Mr. Citizen.
This letter appeared in Terre Haute Tribune Star, June 14, 2015

“Still not voting? It should cost you”

GO HERE  [on p. 2 of Reader's Forum]