“The U.S. constitution is under assault, laments Joy Freeman-Coulbary, a young civil rights attorney on page B2 in the Metro Section of today’s Washington Post.” I know that she is young because the article includes her picture in which she looks intelligent and thoughtful, just like a smart young lawyer should. Then she continues thusly:”So much so that maybe we ought to inscribe this Latin phrase Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate, or Abandon all hope, you who enter here, on it alongside the other weighty ideas.
She does not identify the author of the sentence or the book from which it was taken, perhaps because she assumes that every educated person knows or ought to know that Dante’s Divine Comedy was written in Latin (incidentally, had it been written in Latin, it would probably sound like this: Omnes relinquite spes, o vos intrantes). Ms. Freeman-Coulbary then proceeds to appeal for grass-roots support because otherwise “the right to vote will no longer be a sacrosanct and safeguarded principle if conservatives have their way”.
Among other things she says in her article:”the electoral debacle, in which George W. Bush narrowly defeated Al Gore, included hanging chads, police intimidation, roadblocks and improper purging of felons from the voting rolls.”
While I can absolutely identify with her sentiment, I really am abandoning all hopes that democracy will survive in my country if it is protected by civil right attorneys of the caliber of Ms. Freeman-Coulbary who write such insightful articles for the Washington Post.
The way I remember it, Al Gore did not lose the election in 2000. We know (or rather some of us still remember) that he won the popular vote by more than half a million votes. In a democratic country, he would be the undisputed winner based on the simple formula: 1 man or 1 woman = 1 vote = democracy. But we don’t really know who lost and who won Florida because the election in Florida was decided by a majority of two (2) votes on the Supreme Politburo, commonly also referred to as the Supreme Court, which stopped the recount of this troubled election in what was only the first sign of many more very troubling and tragic events that would usher in the third millennium. To hell with voters!, said the Supreme Politburo, and that was that.
Also, the way I read her article, her sentence seems to imply that it is improper to purge felons from the voting rolls. Well, whether you agree that people who were in prison for any reason should or should not be deprived of the right to vote for the rest of their lives, in some states, (most states, I think), this would be proper because it is the law in many states that convicted felons cannot vote in America. But what was really happening in 2000 was that Republican operatives were illegally and in violation of the law purging people who were not convicted felons, but who were not likely to vote for Republicans because they were black, from the voting rolls under the pretext that these people were felons and thus not eligible to vote.
“Nearly 10 years later, we are still on the battlefield for full enfranchisement”, she writes toward the end of her short article in the Washington Post. “The U.S. Constitution needs to be amended to make the right to vote explicit!” are her last words.
I can deal with conservatives. I don’t agree with most of their ideas, although I do agree with some of what some of them say.
But if the U.S. Constitution, or what is left of it, which isn’t much, is amended by defenders of the Constitution such as this young civil rights attorney, namely lawyers who can’t even tell the difference between Italian and a dead language that used to be and perhaps still is studied in law schools, or write in clear and unambiguous English, God help us all!
After I write my post, the reference to the “Latin” sentence disappeared from the online version.
But I did not make it up.