Identity

     I’m feeling philosophical today, so let’s talk about identity.
     Do you think and, therefore, feel you are?
     If so, why isn’t that good enough for your local registrar?
     The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled (Crawford v. Marion County Election Board) that it’s OK for election runners to require photo identification before people can vote.
     Apparently this means more than taking a picture of yourself and signing it because a bunch of people argued all the way up to the Supreme Court that all sorts of minority, elderly, disabled and/or otherwise completely clueless people might not be able to vote because of this requirement.
     At the very least, many thousands of dead people are now going to be disenfranchised in some of our major metropolitan areas.
     On the surface, this controversy may seem a little silly. After all, how hard is it to remember to bring you ID with you to the polling place? And do we really want to allow voting by people who can’t figure out how to get an ID and bring it with them? Aren’t there enough really dumb people voting already?
     If you think those things, you’re only scratching the surface of the silliness here. You need to do a little mental work and get yourself to the next level of absurdity. If you haven’t done that, I’m here to guide you.
     Consider this: the ostensible purpose of the photo ID requirement is to ascertain that you’re really who you say are (i.e., an eligible voter). This might make sense if the photo ID proved you were that person.
     Now try Googling the phrase “fake ID.”
     See what I mean?
     It gets better. This is from the Supreme Court opinion: “No photo identification is required in order to register to vote, and the State offers free photo identification to qualified voters able to establish their residence and identity.”
     So you need a photo ID to establish your identity to vote but you don’t need a photo ID to establish your identity to get a photo ID.
     And that means that the voter photo ID requirement doesn’t deter anyone motivated and energetic enough to commit fraud but still manages to keep the disabled, poor, clueless and/or dead out of the polling booth.
     Hmm. Well, maybe that’s the real intent. After all, you could argue that the truly enterprising are our most informed voters.
     Or best-paid voters.
     By the way, if you’re thinking the legislators in Indiana passed this law to stop rampant fraudulent voting, then you haven’t read the Supreme Court opinion. This is from the majority opinion: “The record contains no evidence of any such fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history.”
     Apparently they wanted to make sure those poor and disabled people don’t get any ideas.
     But let’s get back to philosophy or maybe practicality. It seems to me that we should be taking a more holistic approach to elections. There’s so much more we could do at these polling places.
     For example, DNA testing. What better way to establish identities and, at the same time, screen for deadly diseases? You could vote, save your life, and see if that kid is really yours all at the same time.
     And why not use elections to promote universal health care?
     I’d like to see free colonoscopies available at every polling place. You’d encourage people (especially people with stomachaches who might not otherwise want to venture out of their houses) to vote and you’d reduce the strain on the health care system by spotting problems early.Some of the dead voters could really benefit from this.

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