Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Young Voters

At 18, I enlisted in the Marine Corps but wasn’t able to vote until 21, as a college student and Korean War veteran.

I’m proud to have voted for JFK the first Catholic President, Obama the first African- American President, and had hoped that Hillary Clinton would have become our first female president.  

During the Vietnam War the draft was a major source of resentment among college students.  The age of the average soldier serving in Vietnam was 19, seven years younger than in World War II.  Young Americans were legally old enough to fight and die, but not permitted to vote.  Only after 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam, and four students in the vicinity of an anti-war protest on the campus of Kent State University were killed by National Guardsmen in 1970, did Congress pass the 26th Amendment in 1971, to allowed 18 year olds to vote.

Historically, America has one of the worst voting records in the free world. Nationally 46.9 percent of eligible voters didn’t vote in November.  In the general election four years ago, New York State ranked a pathetic 44th in voter turnout.  Minnesota voters had the best turnout percentage with 76 percent. 

Voter turnout in New York is lowest among younger voters.  California, Connecticut, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia automatically enroll voters at age 18.  Thirty- seven states allow no-excuse absentee voting, but New Yorkers can only vote early if they request an absentee ballot ahead of time and attest to a disability or being out of town. 

In an age of instant communication, there's no reason to require voters be registered at least 25 days before the next election.  The New York State Assembly passed a measure to allow early voting on 3 occasions, but it was repeatedly obstructed by Senate Republican.


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