Abuse of power.1

We live in a time when the party of privilege and greed prevails over our lives. Its elected officials, from the nation’s capital to the small-town school board, hold the seats of power. They control what we teach in our schools, what we do with our bodies, how we  deal with our enemies, the stewardship of our natural environment, access to affordable health care, the level of wages paid to workers, and so much more. They get to enact laws that support and advance their political agendas, regardless of the effects of these on the population they serve. They will tell you that they have earned these privileges because the people have elected them. America has free elections, you see, and isn’t that wonderful?

There is another party in our nation, of course, the party populated by ordinary people who serve  the privileged as employees. If the ordinary, working-class people don’t like the decisions made by their privileged elected representatives, theoretically they can vote them out of office in the next election. The ballot box serves as the perfect term limit.

If that were true, America would truly be the land of the free. Is it?

Ah, but the members of the party of privilege long ago discovered that they can control even the ballot box by a variety of devious laws and rules that make it difficult for certain types of people to cast their votes. Shouldn’t that be against the law? Well, yes, and the courts have said so, lately ruling that legislators in my state must alter the geographical boundaries of voting districts to render them more politically balanced and competitive.

Naturally, the representatives of the party of privilege are fighting this ruling, struggling to maintain their gerrymandered districts that favor their interests.

Shame on them. The use of the power of one’s elected office to deny or inhibit anyone’s right to vote is the lowest, most despicable form of abuse. We who still have access to the ballot box should use it to replace those who abuse their power, as soon and as decisively as possible.

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