Bill Murchison

The right to vote takes on these days the look and smell of a social entitlement: mine, gimme, never mind what I know, never mind what I care. All our democratic republic seems to need right now is the appearance at the polls of slobs who don't give a flip about responsibilities generally judged to have a solemn character.

There was never in our human saga a golden age of votes cast with maximum wisdom and minimal irreverence or indifference. Since the first ballot was cast, bosses of one kind and another have been buying, selling, stealing, bribing, horse-trading for the highest advantages. A Texan needs no pinprick to recollect how Lyndon Johnson and Friends, when they needed votes in Jim Wells County, in the 1948 senatorial contest, found just the number they needed.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 -- still generally in place despite misrepresentations by Democratic partisans -- rightly opened polling places unconstitutionally closed to Negro Americans (as the conversational currency had it back then). The passage of nearly half a century diminishes in no way the need for an honest, serious-minded electorate. Reducing the franchise to an exercise as easy and automatic as taking a drink of water debases not only the right to the franchise but also the governmental framework resting on that franchise.

That's today's sermon. The way things are going, it won't change a thing. Just thought I'd mention the matter out of -- what's that old-fangled word? Responsibility.

William Murchison, author and commentator, writes from Dallas. To find out more about William Murchison, and to see features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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