Press-Republican

September 22, 2012

In My Opinion: Fairness and the American elections

By J.W. WILEY
Press-Republican

---- — How many Americans believe Americans are all about fair play?

What American parent would look the other way after a staged scenario involving their daughter’s denial of the opportunity to be the first female class president because precocious boys prearranged a method to discount votes from the girls’ classmates that might have won her the election?

Is this the American way? If so, who modeled this “fair” behavior for them?

Anyone ascending to any presidency in this fashion is pathetic and definitely not the type of leader I would follow. Any presidency obtained in such a manner would forever be tainted by winning perhaps not illegally but definitely immorally.

What is occurring around the country in response to possible voting fraud, voting rights and what ultimately amounts to voting suppression is reprehensible.

No one wants election fraud, and taking precautions to address such things makes sense, if it is a legitimate concern. However, if there is little to no history of voting fraud in a region — and yet a plan is devised to protect that community against such possible fraud that will make it more difficult for some to vote than others — something is amiss.

It must be difficult for some members of a political party that stand to benefit directly from this type of questionable activity to sleep at night. Shame often brings with it insomnia.

It is unimaginable that people would attempt to win at the cost of obstructing an American birthright, one that people died for. Are the individuals orchestrating the suppression of voters fearful of something? Perhaps it is paranoia about the ascension to political prominence of possibly divergent voices. Is it far-fetched to imagine there may have been overt concern with the possible immediate success by a precocious president who audaciously believed he could.

How do we explain a vice-presidential candidate’s attendance at a certain meeting the night of the Inaugural Ball? Per Robert Draper’s book “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives” it has been revealed a plan was devised to undermine a yet-to-be-inaugurated president. All the participants were allegedly committed to, essentially, character/political assassination of the president. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

I challenge students who stand by and watch bullying occur. I tell them that they themselves are also bullies if they could have played a role in eradicating bullying and conveniently chose to look the other way.

If voting suppression occurs — whereby it potentially further disenfranchises those already somewhat disenfranchised — are those conscious of the transgression anything more than bystanders? How millions of adults can stand by, turn the other cheek and benefit from their party’s affiliates’ not-so-subtle subterfuge is one of the most intriguing happenings in all of my years of watching American hypocrisy cloaked as American democracy.

What do we tell our children if /when they get wind of the way some Americans manipulate others for their own advantage? I tell mine that bullies “exist everywhere, not just students in schools but adults in business, politics and national governments. I tell them that actions which enhance xenophobia, promote privilege.”

I tell them that bullies demonstrate their insensitivity, cowardliness and ignorance when they attempt to elevate themselves at someone else’s expense. We must imagine bullies as mirror-less masters of menace because if they had mirrors how could they stomach to see — within their own reflection — a vacant soul devoid of the humanity to consider other’s hearts.

I teach them that often bullies seek and survive in the shadows. Ultimately, they know that both bullies and societies on the whole will benefit greatly when we shine the light on these captains of coercion early and often and force them to either crawl back under their rocks or change their ugly ways.

It is incomprehensible to think that these bullies would elevate themselves at the expense of the American public.  They reveal themselves as insensitive, cowardly and ignorant if they think that they alone know what is best for all Americans and can manipulate others to accomplish their goals.

They are not fooling anyone.

J.W. Wiley is director of the Center for Diversity, Pluralism and Inclusion at Plattsburgh State.