Thursday, July 16, 2020
There are two sides on every dice
We have already watched the scenes play out: massive 8 hour lines for people desperate to vote in important State elections, some of them sprawling out in dramatic queues of masked people, risking their lives in a dangerous pandemic to take one last gasping breath of democracy. In Wisconsin an off-the-rails Supreme Court forced a dangerous vote at the last minute, endless lines also plagued voting in Georgia in the Summer, and in possibly the most important election in modern American history, the one coming up, voting access, accountability, fairness, and availability is under attack like never before by a Republican Party that has gone entirely off the rails.
There is a desire to see this in a kind of almost comforting dichotomy: This extreme on the right is balanced by some kind of extreme on the left. Switching to the other side will solve those problems, or maybe one might even think some middle point of extremes is a clear way forward. But I'm afraid for all of you who just want everything to be okay, it doesn't work like that.
There is only sensibility and humanity, and everything else.
You would like a dichotomy?
Sure, there are two sides to every dice. I have your opposite number to these voting tragedies right here in largely Democratic Minnesota, in the library where I work.
Here we have a kind of voting hysteria. In a primary election in which virtually nothing is contested and the prospective winners are de facto unchallenged, my County has shoehorned itself into my pandemic crippled library to provide a month of early voting access. A month! It might even be more than a month. For six hours a day, five days a week, with the library closed down, a team of at least six paid people staff a polling place in the teen room. About halfway into this voting they have never been close to having a single day where the total voters outnumbered the staff. One day, to my absolute delight, one of the election judges called two hours after the polls had opened; she had gone outside for a snack and it turned out the doors back into the library were locked. Apparently after our staff had let in the computer appointment people at ten they forgot about the polling and locked the front doors so no one could come in. So for the first couple of hours of the day no one could come in to vote and the election people didn't notice anything was wrong, because that was perfectly normal! Zero is about average for any given hour of the early voting.
So what does this mean?
It means that if something evil is in power its opposite, its opposition, is only in one sense "good".
In another sense the opposite of evil is the incompetence that allows for it.