Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Robert G. Ingersoll's Suffrage Address

This is Jenniffer Masterson speaking from Robert G. Ingersoll's "Suffrage Address." She's taking part in the 2013 Ingersoll Oratory Contest. (As good as this is, she only came in fourth in the contest. Yes, there were some excellent speakers. Check out the rest of them here.)

I wanted to post this one, though, because of the topic. Ingersoll was speaking in 1880, but it sounds remarkably modern, doesn't it? Residents of Washington, D.C. are still disenfranchised in America. Voter suppression is still occurring - indeed, it's increasing.

The rest of it, too, could be talking about events today, not 134  years ago. Yes, there has been progress since then, but not nearly enough. And today's Republican Party seems determined to roll back the progress we have made.

The GOP doesn't want people to vote. Many Republicans even admit it. Why shouldn't the rich decide everything? Why let the poor and the ignorant vote?

This is wrong in so many different ways. But let me just point out one of them. If you restrict voting to just the well-educated, politicians will have a real incentive to keep most people poorly educated. If you let only the rich vote, then politicians will have an incentive to keep most people poor.

If everyone is allowed to vote, and most everyone does vote (currently, voter turnout in America is disgraceful), then maybe the smart thing to do would be to make sure that everyone is educated. Of course, that's only if your political party isn't relying on ignorance and gullibility. So yeah, that's not actually how it would work.

Nevertheless, if you object to the poorly-educated voting, maybe you should work harder to educate everyone. If you're actually telling the truth, at least. If that really is your concern.

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