Posted on Thursday, 18th March 2021 by

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This tune keeps playing in my head after listening to XM radio’s sixties on six yesterday. A Sonny and Cher hit that topped the charts in 1967! After 54 years the words are still relevant, especially the last stanza.

Grandmas sit in chairs and reminisce
Boys keep chasing girls to get a kiss
The cars keep a going faster all the time
Bums still cries, “Hey buddy, have you got a dime?”

My First Full Time Job – 1968

Life was simpler back then. I and many my age recall casually conversing with classmates during lunch, sitting on the front stoop in the evening with friends just passing time with casual conversation, listening to vinyl records at our friend’s house, and the slower pace of just about everything in our lives at the time. When you left the house, you went about whatever business you set out to do without interruption. No computers, cell phones, instant messaging, and social media to detract you from your plans. We had six channels to choose from on our black and white TVs; no remotes to channel surf and yet we all survived and many flourished considering the austere times we lived in.

Cars of the day had character and when a Cadillac, GTO, the early Mustangs or any of the classics passed by, you instantly knew the make, and often times the model. Many of the 50s and 60s cars were two tone, something you rarely see these days, Buicks had distinctive side ports, Cadillacs were true touring cars, the Corvair Spyder for the younger folks, classics all.  My first car, a 1957 Buick special was copper and cream with a straight six that still had some get up and go when I bought it for $100 in 1967!

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We recycled much of what we consumed, TVs, appliances, watches, vacuum cleaners, and just about everything else was repaired; not discarded in a local garbage dump, plastic wasn’t polluting the oceans, landfills, and everything in between. We returned pop and milk bottles to the local grocery store for cash: 2 cents for a 12-ounce pop bottle and 5 cents for a quart bottle. Paper was king, and even though I do recall littering, at least the paper was recyclable, and we used nothing but paper bags for groceries and our lunches.

Times have changed, often for the better, yet I do believe as a society those times and circumstances fostered character and motivated generations to exceed beyond their expectations. The civil rights movement rose up and enlightened America, we conquered space, and landed on the moon. America was and still is the beacon of freedom for the world. Yet, I’m not sure just how long this will hold true considering our current state of affairs.

The flip side is also revealing. We were embroiled in the Vietnam War that spurred antiwar protests and rioting. The draft was taking our youth in record numbers to the front lines in Vietnam; we watched the war up front and personal on TV each evening. Seems like never ending wars are the norm no matter what time period we live in. A sad but true state of our affairs.

We may reminisce about the old days, as our parents did, and their parents before them. The truth of the matter is left to individual interpretation; what was a good time for some was a nightmare for another. The automation and artificial intelligence of today would seem like fantasies to our ancestors that labored at the simplest of tasks to get through a day. I recall my mother in the 1950s washing clothes in a galvanized tub; scrubbing them on a corrugated wash board, and hanging the cloths out to dry summer and winter. She and my older sisters pulled a large galvanized tub into the kitchen every Saturday afternoon. They would heat water for our bath in large pots on the stove. The four children and Mother shared a small rundown two bedroom home in the country. I know for a fact my grandparents had it far worse; Mother appreciated having what little she had even back then.

Even though I look back with fondness on my formative years and do relish a less hectic pace, I can’t imagine living without the advancements made these past 70 years. The improvements in healthcare, automation, living standards, automobile reliability, the improved environment, less poverty, more support for those in need, and opportunities for all who choose to work hard and make the sacrifices that go along with that decision.

Correction (Last Article)

Last week’s article, “Blindsided – Don’t be Caught Off Guard,” discussed two bills before congress that require clarification. This article is updated on our blog. I used the first release of the Voting Rights Bill (HR-1) along with pending amendments and wrote this article before the age 16 voting amendment was rejected. The amendment for 16-year-olds lost 125-302 in the House. However, per Part 10 (Voter Registration of Minors) section 1094 of HR-1 states, “A State may not refuse to accept or process an individual’s application to register to vote in elections for Federal office on the grounds that the individual is under 18 years of age at the time the individual submits the application, so long as the individual is at least 16 years of age at such time.” They are allowing 16-year-olds to register to vote, a state’s age limit still applies for voting.

There is a contradiction with this passage and this extends to illegal alien voting. Per Section 1015 page 63 of the act, (Voter Protection & Security in Automatic Registration) “anyone who is preregistered under the automatic registration of any individual or the fact that an individual declined the opportunity to register to vote or did not make an affirmation of citizenship (including through automatic registration) under this part may not be used as evidence against that individual in any State or Federal law enforcement proceeding, and an individual’s lack of knowledge or willfulness of such registration may be demonstrated by the individual’s testimony.”

The Act states numerous times that voter registration is governed by the requirements of section 7(a)(6) of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (52 24 U.S.C. 20506(a)(6). However, if individuals are automatically registered, and most will be if the law passes, aren’t required to provide proof of citizenship, they could be on the voting rolls and vote without penalty per this clause. This leaves the door wide open for abuse, per the paragraph above, “an individual’s lack of knowledge or willfulness of such registration may be demonstrated by the individual’s testimony.” All anyone has to do is claim they didn’t know they shouldn’t vote, and state, “you registered me to vote!”

I received a number of messages from subscribers that suggested I was incorrect in several of my assumptions. If you perform a fact check online you will find many indicate illegal immigrants can’t vote under this bill. However, if you read the bill and per the above paragraphs, you will see where they can if automatically registered and that was my intention in the previous article. Automatic registration, without affirmation of citizenship, provides an out for anyone automatically registered. I revised the article on the blog and added specific reference paragraphs from the actual law that you can personally review.

As this bill works through the Senate hopefully reason will prevail. However, I’m not optimistic at this point. This bill does include desirable improvements: all voting machines must be manufactured in America and increased access for voters with disabilities.

The common-sense approach to voting reform is to require IDs and signature verification when voting, and proof of citizenship when registering to vote. We already have the national REAL ID program that could easily satisfy these requirements. This reminds me of a Beatles song, “Come Together,” the lead track on their Abby Roads album: “He say I know you; you know me – One thing I can tell you is you got to be free – Come together, right now, over me.” Maybe our representatives should play this during negotiations, let down their defenses, and compromise.  I doubt this will happen. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

 

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