Depressing your vote

The panelist on the National Public Radio program sounded eager to clarify the distinction between “depress” and “suppress” when it comes to voting. To suppress means to put an end to an activity by force or authority. To depress means to make less active. Please don’t accuse her political party of suppressing votes, she said, but it does wish to depress voting.

None of the other panelists seemed shocked by this confession. Her political party — you can guess which one — works hard at discouraging a group of Americans from voting because statistically this group has been shown to support candidates from the other party and their positions on important issues. So we should persuade them not to vote at all. What could be more heinous than this?

Republicans have worked hard at gaining and keeping power for many years, from the highest levels of government to regular folks along Main Street and in the suburbs, who make phone calls, get out the mailings and post yard signs. Nothing wrong with that. This effort has paid off with dominant majorities in both houses of Congress, in state legislatures, and on the Supreme Court, where one’s politics aren’t supposed to matter. It does, though, as we know from the historic 5-4 overtly political decision that handed the presidency to George W. Bush. We know how that turned out.

And so Republicans continue to perch on top of the heap, for now. But decades of misdeeds and wrong-headed agendas that do more to turn back the clock, hurt middle-class Americans and reward the wealthy, has fomented resistance among us the governed, and now here comes a new wave of motivated young voters, eager to have their say at the ballot box. Will the Republican party try to depress their vote, too?

Let’s be clear. Our right to vote, our opportunity as individuals to hold our elected leaders accountable, is precious, free and available. Anyone who attempts to discourage us from exercising this privilege is working against Americans, not for us. One political party is doing this, just one. Let’s all remember that when we vote.


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