Readers write: State of the capital and Georgia voting laws
Letters to the editor for the July 12 & 19, 2021 weekly magazine. Readers discuss the motives behind restrictive voting laws.
Appreciating our capital
Kudos for the May 31 cover story, “A monumental day in D.C.” It was another really down-home story about monuments, an informative and relaxed kind of a cross section of Washington, D.C., as it is right now. Having lived near and worked within this city and surrounding suburbs for over 40 years, I love D.C., and am always awed by its beauty, nature, and character. Right now is a highly unusual time here. Our Capitol city has been wounded, not just slightly, but by many small stabs over the last year and a half. The picture of the monument behind the fence perfectly reveals the state of our government, and the extent of the inner damage to our electorate and their faith in our system. It’s time to find peace between the parties and create an America that makes us all proud and happy.
‘Both sides’ need facts
I am responding to the June 14 From the Editor column headlined “A key to ending the culture wars: Respect.” The first item I noticed was political scientist James Davison Hunter telling Politico that “the justification for violence on both sides” is straining constructive conversations to solve problems. But what does “both sides” mean in the context of gun control? The Second Amendment is often quoted to satisfy those who support less gun control. Where is the respect for the lives of the vulnerable people in our society? Is this the way we treat those who need our attention and help?
In the Readers Write from the same issue, one Monitor reader has written that we “enjoy God-given rights, not rights issued by the government.” The government alone issues the right to gun ownership, and studies have shown that states with relatively minimal gun violence tend to also have relatively few gun owners. God didn’t give anyone the right to own guns; you have a right to defend yourself – with or without guns. Let’s converse with facts.
Voting rights smokescreen
I trust and admire the reporting in the April 26 article headlined “What Georgia voting law actually says – and why stakes seem so high.” However, I had to wait to the end of the piece for the question I wanted answered: “Why did Georgia feel a need to change its voting laws at all?” And like so many articles I’ve read in a variety of publications since January, it seems you’ve got the wrong end of the stick.
It is obvious to me that Republicans are not “reacting to Mr. Trump’s baseless election fraud charges.” Rather, this is a repeat of the wave of Jim Crow voting laws that brought crashing down the democratic participation of the newly freed Southern Black voters in the late 1800s. So long as Republicans can emphasize the “Stop the Steal” efforts and not be challenged about the real reasons for restricting voting rights, they will win this rhetorical game, at least with the 70 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump in 2020.
And as an aside, while I completely understand the campaign to label these laws “Jim Crow 2.0,” I wish there were more explanation that all voters are affected, not just racial minorities. For example, senior citizens and disabled people of every color will find voting more difficult when mail-in voting is restricted.