A really superb article was to be had at the American Spectator the other day by Andrew Roberts on the subject of oratory, and it’s demise, in the public and political theater in recent times. However, occasional sprinkles of it, or at least flashings of theatrical phrasing can be found if one listens.
One such occasion was the speech by our favorite nemesis, Eric Holder, to the NAACP in Houston. In his crusade to riddle the upcoming November vote with fraud and to intimidate the various States’ election officials from ensuring only eligible voters’ votes count, Holder used this device to get cheers from the overwhelmingly Black (nee African-American, nee Negro, nee-slave) audience:
“The arc of American history has always moved toward expanding the electorate. It is what has made this nation exceptional,” Holder said. “We will simply not allow this era to be the beginning of the reversal of that historic progress.”
‘The arc of American history‘ has such a nice ring to it that many in the audience could be excused if they forgot that the issue of their right to vote was settled once and for all some fifty years ago. And of course for those free white women not in the audience but weeping at Holder’s poetry, and ignoring his mangling of America and its exceptionalism, their suffrage came a hundred years ago. Holder was talking about expanding the American electorate to include Mexican nationals.
Expanding something is not necessarily a virtue, and not any more so for the electorate than anything else. Every citizen of the US, of legal age and not a prohibited felon, has the right to vote if he or she can provide legal proof of their identity. It is simply not an issue. If those African Americans wildly cheering Holder’s soaring rhetoric had had the advantage of an education involving comprehension instead of how to demand entitlements, affirmative action and reparations, they would realize that those ‘goodies’ they think government is supposed to funnel out to the deserving disadvantaged are about to be diminished by a factor of how many Mexican nationals Eric Holder succeeds in securing the right to vote in American elections for.
But that consideration won’t happen. The sentimentality succeeds in its intent. And soaring oratory, however fleeting, doesn’t have to make any more sense than plain speaking gibberish.
The “of legal age” condition we point out brings us to the next great frontier in the push to “expand the electorate”. Fantastically wonderful things come out of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Such things as The Kennedy Dynasty and the wretched remnants still flotsaming off from the Hyannisport shore, the Individual Mandate, and so much more, leap to mind. Barney Frank. Ed Markey. The latest wonderful development is coming out of the city of Lowell, where it is reported that the next demands for the sacred right to vote are coming from…..those below legal age.
When it comes to ranking the interests of teenagers, political activism would presumably come low on the list, somewhere between heeding good advice and doing the laundry. But teens in Lowell are defying such thinking, as they campaign to lower the voting age from 18 to 17 in their city’s municipal elections.
Well, a journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step, doesn’t it? Yes, it’s only seventeen-year-olds, yes only in Lowell, Massachusetts and yes, only in municipal elections. But it’s precedent, you know. The almighty precedent. For now, the only comments trickling out into the conversation are kudos to the kids for having some sense of civic responsibility and engagement. Why, who could fault that? Since the story is new, there is no indication yet whether The Dark Side is secretly behind the scenes, egging the kiddies on. But that also would not be without precedent.
But here’s the thing: It’s that “arc” thing, the oratory, the theatrics, the push to make every urge or brainstorm a virtuous cause, the strategic placement of resounding words elevating every proposed scheme to something nobler than it is, and to the level of some historical antecedent, regardless of the sense it makes.
Kids don’t vote, for the same reason that kids don’t enter into contracts, kids don’t make their own medical decisions and kids don’t tell their parents, or the mayor, how it’s going to be. The reason is pretty simple – because they’re kids.
Lowering the voting age to 17 makes no more sense than lowering it to 14, which, truth be told, the Lefties would love to see. By the same token allowing Monterrey Mannie to vote based soley on the fact that he can mumble “Si” when asked if that’s who he is by the Clerk leads inexorably to giving the suffrage to those able to muster a “oui” or an affirmative in any tongue you could name.
It’s called “bending the arc”, in this new parlance, and we know the inspiration is supposedly from Dr. King’s Alabama speech of 1965 -” the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” And we know Barack Obama is on board with the concept of bending things because he suggested it to ……schoolchildren……when he was running for president. He wanted them to ‘bend history’. He talked about it in his inaugural address, upon receiving the Nobel Prize, when speechifying on the ‘Arab Spring’ and at various other times. Just google “Obama” and “bending” to get a sampling.
All this ‘bending’ by mortals is of course a corruption of Dr. King’s expression. The moral arc of the universe bends toward justice of it’s own accord, without the need for humans to tug at it on a whim. All they are required to do is observe it and act accordingly. Bending history is a bastardization of the concept that morality is necessary for justice to triumph. Bending history by changing definitions to “expand the electorate ” is nowhere justifiable. Black people were always qualified to vote, after Emancipation and the necessary Amendments, even if roadblocks were put in their way. But then, “expanding the definition of marriage” slid right through the NAACP without much protest, didn’t it? So what rights people hold sacred is negotiable always, we suppose. Nevertheless, the supreme arrogance of the Obama/Holder tandem to superecede law, constitution and convention by ‘bending’ them to augment their power and influence, and then call it ‘justice’, is an abomination.
So. While it may be good to support the civic-mindedness of some teenyboppers in Massachusetts, let’s not get carried away and let them start passing referendums, setting salaries and, God forbid, progressing with their bent of history to the point they are making Supreme Court decisions. We have enough problems as it is.
postscript: Perhaps it needs to be pointed out and made crystal clear that Holder, when he spoke of “expanding the electorate”, declared his intent to enfranchise people who have no right to vote in the first place, including aliens, because, as we said, the electorate already includes every citizen. He did not say ‘assuring that people’s voting rights are respected’, he said “expanding the electorate.“