November 4, 2008

Being an historian is a dirty job, but someone's got to do it

I voted by absentee this year, so I was able to canvass for a little this afternoon before turning into Chauffeur Dad. I'm waiting at a large warehouse-turned-kid-exercise-palace, with a gymnastics place on one side and my son's taekwondo place on the other. I was sitting on the floor when I heard a fellow parent, or maybe a gymnastics coach, pontificating to several poor desk personnel about how we should reinstitute some sort of literacy test for voting. I heard him misstate the positions of one of the candidates for a few minutes, and then I couldn't stand it any longer. I stood up and walked over.

So I heard you wanted to reinstitute literacy tests for voting?

Uh, maybe not anything like a college degree but I think people need to ...

Okay, so I have to ask: what's your favorite Federalist Paper?

Uh..?

What's your favorite Federalist Paper?

Um, well, I'm not sure I mean that, but I think people need to know something--

Okay, fine enough. What's your favorite section of the Florida Constitution?

Look, I'm more of a statutory guy. There's a difference between knowing about platforms and knowing about the constitution.

Right. So then I asked him about some relevant legislative positions of the candidate he was fulminating against. Not that accurately, either. Fair? No. But I wanted him to think that maybe, just maybe, disfranchisement mechanisms affect more than just the targets of your hatred. Occasionally, maybe once every few years on average, I have to use my knowledge in public. I consider it an occupational hazard.

And to answer the obvious question, at the moment my favorites are Federalist No. 10 and Florida's Article I, Section 1.

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Posted in History on November 4, 2008 7:59 PM |