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Local View: In any individual's world, few would be allowed to vote

From the column: "It seems that, in “The World According to Me,” the voting rolls would be pared down significantly, which is what some people want."

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A state representative from the southwest of the country recently got us thinking about an important issue facing our entire nation: access to the voting booth. The representative said, “Everybody shouldn’t be voting.” He also said, “Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes as well.”

Such statements are a direct challenge to democracy.

Evidently, according to this politician, not all votes are equal, and what follows from that is that not all voters are created equal.

His words got me wondering what my criteria for exclusion might be if I were to draft voting qualifications. I’m imagining “The World According to Me,” borrowing from John Irving.

I might begin with people who insist that the insurrection of Jan. 6 was not a violent assault on the foundations of our democracy. A senator from a nearby state who was present during the attack stated boldly that he “never really felt threatened.” Despite the voluminous video records of the ferocious aggression that resulted in the deaths of five people, including law enforcement, the senator nonetheless insisted the protestors were largely “people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, (and) would never do anything to break a law.” He went on to say, “Had the tables been turned … and those were thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I would have been concerned."

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In “The World According to Me,” that man and those who think like him would not be allowed to vote.

Others to be excluded would be those who not only embrace but espouse highly questionable beliefs (there are other descriptors), such as the notion that the recent wildfires in California were started by lasers from space; or that school shootings were not real but rather staged, and Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg was a “paid actor” and a “coward”; or that actor Tom Hanks and other national celebrities and politicians are Satan-worshipping, cannibalistic pedophiles. A certain U.S. representative associated with such notions complained, “I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true.” Seriously?!

“The World According to Me” would exclude people who refuse to ‘fess up.

Networks and their scoundrels who propagate false narratives under the guise of “news” and those who are hoodwinked, willingly and without a shred of skepticism, by disinformation would also be barred from voting in “The World According to Me.”

Then there are the anti-maskers, the anti-vaccinators, and the climate-change deniers. And those who would endanger the lives of others by insisting that schools and businesses be opened in spite of the vehement objections from the medical community. In other words, those who insist that some people are expendable for the sake of the economy.

Perhaps most egregious of all are the so-called evangelical-Christian leaders who masquerade as sincere followers of Jesus, who unashamedly supported the former president, and who insist he was the Lord’s “anointed.” False prophets!

In “The World According to Me,” those who fly Confederate flags and those who suppress voting rights would be guilty of treason, for which there would be a federally prescribed punishment. That would eliminate a great many people who call themselves Americans.

It seems that, in “The World According to Me,” the voting rolls would be pared down significantly, which is what some people want.

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The world according to anyone can only end in a dystopian nightmare, and we’ve just been through four years that were leading down that road.

Seriously, if qualifications were to be imposed on voting, the only criterion I would defend is the capacity for compassion and empathy. Imagine the world according to those values.

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The Rev. David Tryggestad

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