A shocking dis­grace

Walker County Messenger - - Front Page - George Reed Jr. An his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive

The largest sin­gle bloc of Amer­i­can vot­ers to­day is the “League of Non Vot­ers.” In the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion over ninety mil­lion el­i­gi­ble vot­ers failed to show up at the polls.

That’s 42 per­cent of the to­tal, larger by far than ei­ther ma­jor party and not too much less than both par­ties com­bined.

Even worse, 35 per­cent of Amer­ica’s el­i­gi­ble vot­ers aren’t even reg­is­tered. They don’t even in­tend to vote. For the world’s wealth­i­est nation and its first suc­cess­ful democ­racy this is an ab­so­lute dis­grace. My grand­mother would call it: “Just plain sor­ry­ness!”

Hil­lary Clin­ton feels that a let­ter sent to Congress by then-FBI di­rec­tor James Comey about the agency’s se­cond in­quiry into her use of a pri­vate email server for clas­si­fied doc­u­ments might have tipped the scales in the last few days of the cam­paign. But this will con­tinue to be a mat­ter of con­jec­ture, as if it any longer mat­ters.

Most stud­ies in­di­cate that the solid 5 per­cent ma­jor­ity that gave Bar­rack Obama vic­to­ries in 2008 and 2012 was still there but Hil­lary just couldn’t seem to con­nect with it. Obama had a re­mark­able abil­ity to get peo­ple to the polls in a coun­try ranked among the world’s worst in voter turnout. Hil­lary, ob­vi­ously, did not. She also lacked em­pa­thy and ap­peal with blue col­lar rank-and-file vot­ers. Most pun­dits agree that Don­ald Trump beat her by woo­ing a group he ac­tu­ally de­spises.

An­other in­ter­est­ing note: Of the vot­ers who gave Trump an elec­toral, but not a popular ma­jor­ity, a sub­stan­tial per­cent­age ac­tu­ally dis­ap­proved of Trump but gave him their vote any­way. They ap­par­ently dis­ap­proved of Hil­lary even more.

The group of vot­ers who put Trump over the top seems to have been mo­ti­vated more by emo­tion than rea­son or self-in­ter­est. This lower-mid­dlein­come blue-col­lar con­stituency felt they had been pushed out of their right­ful places in so­ci­ety, first by African Amer­i­cans, then by the fem­i­nists and now by il­le­gal im­mi­grants. Although they didn’t put a lot of cre­dence in Trump’s dis­con­nected rhetoric, they did be­lieve his warn­ings that Hil­lary Clin­ton in­tended to open the flood gates to mil­lions of il­le­gal aliens in or­der to add them to the rolls of Demo­cratic vot­ers. To para­phrase the at­trib­uted words of Lyn­don John­son con­cern­ing SOBs: They knew Trump was a crook, but he was “their crook.”

Although I claim no ex­per­tise in Amer­i­can his­tory, I do have some aca­demic cre­den­tials in that area and have at least an over­view of our nation’s past. And I can re­call no pe­riod of Amer­i­can his­tory that even re­motely re­sem­bles the present fi­asco.

As al­ready stated, I be­lieve one of the main causes of the Trump anom­aly was our fail­ure to ex­er­cise our most sa­cred right and duty, the vote. I could list a host of ad­jec­tives to de­scribe this de­plorable sit­u­a­tion, but I would run out of space be­fore I would run out of ad­jec­tives. Peo­ple in coun­tries un­der au­to­cratic rule have risked their lives for the right to vote. But we won’t even give a cou­ple of hours of our pre­cious time once ev­ery two years on the first Tues­day of Novem­ber to ful­fill our duty as cit­i­zens of this great coun­try. If we don’t wake up, Amer­ica’s reign as the num­ber one world power could turn out to be the briefest re­gency on record.

George B. Reed Jr., who lives in Rossville, can be reached by email at reed1600@ bell­south.net.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.