Letter: ‘Historical truths can be unsettling, but they remain truths’

Ballots being recounted an NYC BOE facility in the Bronx on Wednesday, July 8, 2020.
Photo Alex Mitchell

To the Editor,

This  week’s conservative follies include alleging the Biden administration’s criminalization of opposition, with, of course, no evidence or explanation to support the charge.

Perhaps the hard-right columnist was referring to steps taken to protect school board members from the threats issued by members of astroturf groups like FreedomWorks and the National Parents Union, groups bankrolled by big money conservative outfits bent on eroding confidence in public education as a prelude to privatization.

Right wingers are attacking school systems and educators who believe that history should not be whitewashed or sanitized to avoid the possibility of making some individuals “uncomfortable.” Historical truths can be unsettling, but they remain truths.

The right wing’s attempt to police thought and learning has frightening antecedents in authoritarian regimes like Russia and China. How far are we from what Orwell described in 1984, a nightmarish society where, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

The columnist also condemned attempts to “federalize election practices,” apparently unaware of the Constitution’s Article I, section 4, which grants states the power to decide “The times, place and manner of holding elections” but also states “the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations…” So to be charitable, it is a mistake to claim that such federal actions are a violation of the Constitution.

Recent congressional efforts to make voting more accessible and empower citizens disenfranchised by artificial barriers created to prevent their participation in the electoral process were thwarted by Republican politicians. Their belief is that a smaller electorate favors their chances to gain and retain power, as minority rulers of our country.

Meanwhile Republican officials are busy erecting new barriers designed to make voting more difficult and intimidating for constituencies unlikely to support their reactionary agenda. For example, Florida’s governor has proposed creating an Office of Election Crimes and Security, with a budget of nearly $6 million, in what amounts to a solution looking for a non-existent problem and a colossal waste of taxpayer funds. As Paul Keisling, Oregon’s former secretary of state notes, “Voters don’t cast fraudulent ballots for the same reason that counterfeiters don’t manufacture pennies — it doesn’t pay.”

Voter fraud is fake. Voter suppression is real.

Pasqual Pelosi

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