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16 October 2018
I grew up proud to live in a democratic country, and watched us attempt to bring democracy to other countries, whether by force or by example.
As I've looked around me the past many years, I realize that we don't live in a democracy at all. In a democracy, our leaders are elected by the popular vote yet we have this abomination called the "electoral college," which was created initially because people lived so far from each other and there was no easy way to communicate. It is now outdated, but we must go by the vote of these few people, not the vote of the majority of the country. Thus, we never had a President Gore or a President Hillary Clinton and yet we have a buffoon who crows at every possible moment about how he won the election. He didn't. We aren't a democracy.
And then there are the extreme lengths people are going through to prevent certain classes of people from voting. In Georgia, for example, they are using an "exact match" for identification. If my ID says Beverly A. Sykes and they have me as "Beverly A Sykes" (no period), I am not qualified to vote. The exact match can be as simple as an extra space... Beverly A Sykes, not Beverly A Sykes. An analysis by The Associated Press found that 70 percent of 53,000 new registrations currently suspended were for black Georgians. Georgia's Secretary of State has purged more than 1.4 million names from the voter rolls since 2012.
And then there is what is happening in North Dakota. The IDs of many Native Americans won't be accepted at North Dakota polling places.
This week, the Supreme Court declined to overturn North Dakota's controversial voter ID law, which requires residents to show identification with a current street address. A P.O. box does not qualify, as it has always qualified in the past.
Many Native American reservations do not use physical street addresses. Native Americans are also overrepresented in the homeless population, according to the Urban Institute. As a result, Native residents often use P.O. boxes for their mailing addresses and may rely on tribal identification that doesn't list an address.
Tens of thousands of North Dakotans, including Native and non-Native residents, do not have residential addresses on their IDs and will now find it harder to vote.
How can we call ourselves a democracy when we are working so hard at keeping certain demographics from voting?
My non-soporific movie that I turned on to put me to sleep (because it has in the past) last night was Lust for Life, the 1956 movie about Vincent Van Gogh, starring Kirk Douglas. It won a supporting actor Oscar for Anthony Quinn as Paul Gaugin and a nomination for Douglas.
It has received rave reviews but I found it very frustrating. Douglas seems angry most of the time and while the credits list about a dozen museums which allowed photographing their paintings, most of the ones they showed were lesser known works -- and the marvelous Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam was not listed. They have the biggies.
This, and the sunflowers, was about the most "famous" of the works they showed.
The movie on TMC stopped abruptly before reaching the end, so perhaps they did finally get to wheatfield with crows and it just got cut off, which is unusual for TMC (or maybe I fell asleep and didn't notice!).
I never did see Starry Night, perhaps because it's so big. It takes up an entire wall in Amsterdam.
They also celebrated the sale of his first painting, though I have read a lot about Van Gogh and I think (though am not sure) that he never sold a painting in his lifetime.
But another annoying thing was the cutting off of his ear. Van Gogh's paintings show that it was his right ear, though it is his left which is bandaged in the movie and many scenes after the amputation show him with two perfectly normal ears.
Nonetheless, it kept me awake until 5 a.m.,
so it must not have been that bad a movie!
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