Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Got a new kids book yesterday. It's about voting. It tells what voting is; it tells why we should vote; it tells about debates, and campaigning, and so on. It does one thing right: it tells us that kids can vote. Kids can vote by helping out in campaigns, says the book. Okay, I'd have said by writing letters to the editors and Reps and Senators, but that's good too.

But it also tells about how originally in the US, blacks, women, &c weren't allowed to vote and it took ages for us to get it together. Now, says the book, everybody citizen over the age of eighteen can vote.

If you had asked people during the 1890s if every citizen could vote, they'd probably have said 'yes', completely forgetting about the women. If you'd asked in the 1830s, they'd have said 'yes', forgetting all about the blacks. Now, we say 'yes', because we forget about convicted felons.

Whether convicted felons should be allowed to vote can be debated, but a convicted felon is legally a US citizen and is not permitted to vote in some stated. The author should have realised this. So should have her editor.

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