There is a thin line, not often noted by the public, in reading what an editor writes, separating personal political doctrine versus fact. Confusion of the two ought to be scrupulously avoided. The Aug. 23 editorial completely fails to note that distinction, which is worsened by the unacceptable, excessive, Maui News reiteration of the editorial writer's previously expressed ultraconservative private political views.
The editorial lambasting people coming to the polls, labeling those who are "driven to the polls are probably so uninformed about the candidates and the issues that their votes are worse than useless," is such an "oh my God" attack on every citizen's ought-to-be-unfettered right to vote that such not thinly veiled squelching of this fundamental constitutional right cannot go unnoticed, unchallenged or uncondemned.
The editorial writer thus advises that people of this community who are driven to vote that they should essentially have their voting right eliminated as "worthless" because they were driven to the polling area. Perhaps the editorial writer would require all voters to own land. Or perhaps each voter ought to be required to pay a $50 fee to vote to show how understanding they are of public issues.
One wonders whether the editorial writer would invalidate all older Mauians whose health would preclude them from going alone to the polls, and have to be driven; people who are described as "uninformed" and whose votes are condemned as being "worse than useless."
The arrogance in trying to get readers to believe that people who have to be driven to vote have a lesser right or maybe no right to vote merely because of how it was that they came to the polling place has no place in responsible newspaper operation. Nothing in the state or federal constitutions restricts the right to vote - guaranteed to every citizen - by reason of how the voter comes to the polls. Car, wagon or helicopter, the right is the same.
One should cry shame on anyone who would seek to psychologically abridge a citizen's voting right merely because it might be that the voter, driven to vote, cast a vote for an issue or candidate not favored by the editorial writer.
This editorial would have disenfranchised the tens of millions of black people who, in the middle 1950s through the middle 1970s, were urged to vote in the South, to obtain their freedom, their economic rights - matters the white man, presumably with the restrictive thinking espoused by white men of ancient caveman thinking, similar to the objected-to editorial, had denied and suppressed, merely because they were urged to cast aside the yoke of white man's oppression, and begin to turn and become equal people who had to be driven to the polls because it was unsafe to walk through the cordon of white men standing around outside the voting area.
Mr. Editorial Writer, Remember: Even an uninformed vote is better than no vote. And you go way beyond the pale of responsible newspaper operation insinuating and accusing those less fortunate than you that they are lesser people because they stay home and watch "Judge Judy" on the telly. Did you ever think that those people whom you make fun of, who stay home and watch "Judge Judy," in fact, by doing so are indicating an interest in civics? That they are gaining some basis for understanding the American judicial system, one they probably didn't have, and thereby gain an improved knowledge of American politics - a right you would myopically deny them for trying to improve themselves?
Tell the readership this: Why are you so adamant about poisoning the minds of this community to not only write as you did but in the fine print appearing at the end of your editorial, you note that a version of this editorial had previously appeared in The Maui News. The old adage "once bitten, twice shy" applies. If you are compelled to use your paper for this kind of political bigotry, shame on you. For me and others, were we to not challenge and expose this reactionary, intimidating, ideology for what it is, shame on me.
* James Krueger is an attorney with offices in Wailuku.