The concept of universal suffrage has continued its expansion from the point where reasonable minds may differ, to levels of insanity that should make even the most fervent advocate of democracy give pause. The latest from the left is that ‘Disability is No Reason to Strip a Person’s Voting Rights.’ The meat of the argument for this is laid out in the following example of a worldview utterly divorced from reality: ‘Proponents of such laws claim that people with developmental disabilities or mental illness may not fully understand our complex government or be able to make a “good” choice when they mark their ballots. But even if this were true (and it’s not), this makes them no different from their nondisabled peers.’ In a word, a developmentally disabled person is no different from a ‘nondisabled’ person, which is why there are no legal, grammatical and ethical distinctions between the two at all.
The 1965 Voting Rights Act, among other things, enshrined the ability of the illiterate and uneducated to dilute and disrupt the votes of those capable of carrying on Western traditions of government. The prima facia case was that literacy tests ‘disproportionately impacted’ minorities. However, one is only left to wonder why the solution to illiteracy is the destruction of the voting franchise rather than the raising of the literacy rate. Surely the solution is not to give those incapable of reading the keys to the kingdom, but rather take those incapable of reading and raise them to the level of stewarding the burdens of citizenship. The current push is to expand it beyond the illiterate, to the mentally incapable. The key to ‘safeguarding our democracy’ I’m told, is to allow those with severe developmental disabilities to choose who controls the largest and most deadly nuclear arsenal in the world. The argument that ‘nondisabled American’s can vote and cannot pass a basic civics test’ does not warrant inclusion of more voters. On the contrary, it is objective proof we allow too many people to vote.
To establish guardianship over an individual most often requires the durable power of attorney or in the cases where this is not present, a court determines who that person will be. The entire premise of guardianship is the legal way in which the assets and financial, medical and legal decisions of a person the court determines is unable to make for themselves are vested in another party. It is not a handshake agreement, but rather a legal status. The guardian now becomes liable for that individuals welfare, financial and otherwise. Due process is followed. Remedies are available. Reality can be cruel, but we also must conform our views to it.
We now live in a world where we pretend those a court of law has found unable to function as adults are a voting bloc. I write this not to disparage or demean those through unfortunate accidents or genetics have developmental disabilities. They are no less human or worthy of the same dignity we all are. However, we also must confront the ramifications of it. Given my philosophical bend, I disagree with the concept of the voting franchise as a whole. The natural end state of democracy will be true universal suffrage, children, non-citizens, and I’m sure the West Coast could include animals and plants into the voting public as well. After all, dogs are sentient beings and should have a say in the environment in which they live. What is not earned is meaningless, including citizenship. For us to continue to pretend a pulse is the sole requirement for voting is to embrace utter chaos. Then again, that is the end of all democracies, chaos, tyranny and bloodshed. Plato warned about this. I guess it is a good thing we have a piece of paper telling us we aren’t a democracy, despite all the evidence to the contrary. I had almost forgotten the convenient lie.