Frustration Is Felt on All Sides

COVID-19 vaccinations are a source for frustration

Frustration is a common human experience. It moves us to be rash, to sometimes quit, to sometimes resist, and – in our best of times – to progress forward.

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Zeke Miller, writing for The Associated Press, reports: Sweeping new vaccine mandates for 100 million Americans.

In his most forceful pandemic actions and words, President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered sweeping new federal vaccine requirements for as many as 100 million Americans — private-sector employees as well as health care workers and federal contractors — in an all-out effort to curb the surging COVID-19 delta variant.

Speaking at the White House, Biden sharply criticized the tens of millions of Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives.

“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” he said, all but biting off his words. The unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”

Who cares?

Biden’s declaration was met with frustration from the other side. Miller continued:

Republican leaders — and some union chiefs, too — said Biden was going too far in trying to muscle private companies and workers, a certain sign of legal challenges to come.

Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina said in a statement that “Biden and the radical Democrats (have) thumbed their noses at the Constitution,” while American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley insisted that “changes like this should be negotiated with our bargaining units where appropriate.”

Who cares?

News is a common source of frustration

If your memory is longer than your nose, you may remember the frustrations spewing across the news as our military pulled out of Afghanistan. Some wanted us to stay. Others cried foul as many were left behind (some still evacuating as you read this). Most Americans, on the other hand, have polled their relief that finally we’re bringing our soldiers home after years of war-time frustration.

Again, who cares?

Frustration is the staple of democracy. Ours is a form of governance that exists amidst the push and pull of ideas as time, our history, marches on. We cannot escape such frustration unless we wish to devolve into a dictatorship or monarchy and forfeit our right to self-govern.

Gerrymandering is a source of frustration

Another source of frustration is emerging as states redraw their congressional boundaries. It’s what we do every ten years as a result of the census taken. Our legislators “pretend” to avoid gerrymandering, that egregious method wherein the elected do their best to pick their constituents. It’s egregious because it runs counter to an honest democracy. Still, it is done by any political party in power.

I devoted some space to how districts should be drawn in my recent book, All Votes Matter! The process should not be onerous nor partisan. There actually should not be a call for unbiased committees nor partisan fears. Such drawing should be, can be, accomplished via a simple guidance of principles founded on basic math and geometry. Shoving those precepts aside gives way to frustration from both sides of the political aisle.

Again, who cares?

Silencing voters should be a common source of frustration

Another frustration we experience is with how we elect our presidents. On the one hand it is proclaimed that we do so by exercising democracy. It simply isn’t true. We stomp on the ingenious workings of the Electoral College by allowing the convention of Winner-Takes-All (WTA) to disenfranchise tens of millions of voters in every election. We must not be fooled into thinking this is democracy.

Add to this the egregious antics Republicans are taking to limit voting access. Instead of enlarging voting opportunities and encouraging voter turnout, the legislative strategies that toy with legal restraints, point to voter suppression.

Who cares?

Frustration rears its ugly head when Democrats favor an even more undemocratic process called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). The hypocritical process is anything but democratic.

Again, I devote a fair amount of space to discuss the shortcomings of NPVIC in All Votes Matter! The book discusses how it is ridiculous, radical and dangerous. Without going into all of the details here, it is worth noting that NPVIC defies the U.S. Constitution, ignores the sovereignty of states, and puts the votes of citizens at greater risk of disenfranchisement than what we currently experience.

Knowing that several states have already signed on to NPVIC is a good cause for frustration. My own home state of Oregon has and puts all of the state Democrats at risk of being disenfranchised when they vote for a president. I’m sure it won’t sit well (frustration much?) should that come to pass.

Again, who cares?

Frustration grows knowing that many don’t realize what is happening. Further, there is a sense that few are curious enough to inquire, especially among our current legislators. Being ignorant of the situation and combining such ignorance with a lack of curiosity points to leaders simply not caring (that concern again).

Our votes represent the power of our democracy. Such power rests with us – the people. Frustration sets in when process is used to block us or limit us or deny us our votes. Frustration builds when steps are taken to disenfranchise us.

We must persist. We must care. Our patience must not flag. Our votes must matter. Our democracy depends on it.

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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team