ben mckenzie and youtube told me to.

Although the election is four months in the past, I was recently reminded of the inundation of  the “vote!!! omg you should vote!!!” message.  It was  E V E R Y W H E R E.  It was on the television.  It was on the radio.  It was on YouTube.  It was on Facebook.  It was on The freaking Superficial.com.  WTH?  I had to deal with my group of friends discussing it relentlessly.   Bands would abuse their microphones to soapbox (yes it’s now a verb) about it at concerts.  Celebrities told me to.  I was handed flyers.  I was vocally pestered by volunteers.    I was already registered and I had been since I was 18.

But thanks. I guess.

Anyone else notice a trend with these modes of conveying the “vote” message?  They are mainly geared towards younger Americans.  I’m not exactly an expert, so I have no idea if they were handing out registration cards at nursing homes, RV/boat/home/garden/gun shows, office meetings, or wherever non-college aged people hang out.  I guess they must all be registered or something?  Probably not.

The over-concentration of focus on young voters wasn’t even the thing that threw me over the edge.  What bugged me the most was a particular overzealous and uninformed voter registration volunteer who said, among other vacant things, “Voting is a fundamental and constitutional RIGHT!”

No, actually, it’s not.

There is nothing in our constitution that explicitly guarantees the right to vote.  Yes, there is plenty of language that states reasons you cannot be denied to vote: race, gender, 18+…but NOTHING that ensures you the right to vote.  Any additional requirements are left up to the states, so long as they don’t conflict with the constitution.  For example: in Texas, if you’re mentally incompetent, a convicted felon in prison or on probation, then you can’t vote.

Other political “in the constitution” things, that actually are not, include:

  • “separation of church and state”, not in the constitution, the saying comes from something Thomas Jefferson wrote about the first amendment back in the day
  • The right to privacy, not in the constitution, supreme court decisions have interpreted it as such though.  Also, it’s often related to certain amendments in the bill of rights.  Ex: not being forced to quarter soldiers
  • Marriage…nope.
  • It’s a free country.  AHAHAHHAHAHAHAAAA.  No, it’s not.  Are you free to dine and ditch?  kill?  What about speeding?  Sure I guess you CAN do it, but not without consequence. Obviously we are more “free” than others, but it is not a “free” country.  And yes, I understand it’s just a saying…but really…

I don’t know everything and I may have gotten something wrong, but I do know there are plenty of common constitutional misconceptions. When I went to the national archives, I overheard someone getting all confused about the difference between the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. Our government schools = awesome win

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