The 'Majority Rules' Initiative Would Violate the First Amendment

After reading The Range in the Sept. 4 issue, I was appalled by the "Majority Rules" proposition. The entire premise of this proposed legislation directly conflicts the most sacred of American ideals: freedom of speech. The freedom to be apathetic remains (or should remain) as guaranteed as the freedom to voice opinions noisily and confrontationally.

People of all races and backgrounds have become innovative in finding new and more complex reasons to defend their choice not to vote, but the issue lies with that: It's their choice.

Ideally, all American citizens would keep up with current events, become active in local politics and remain knowledgeable about legislation and its ramifications. However, an average of 46 to 48 percent of the voting population actually cast ballots in the 2006 congressional elections, according to the U.S Census Bureau. Considering all nonvoters as a "no" toward any proposed raising of taxes robs these nonvoters of their choice not to be heard in the political process. This proposition is akin to asserting that all citizens who don't have health care are perfectly healthy and neither want nor need health care.

Counting nonvoters as a "no" also diminishes the effort and dedication that many citizens exhibit in the fight for democracy. As a student at the University of Arizona, I witness passionate adults campaigning for causes they believe in on a daily basis. A student who spends hours out on the UA mall in 100-plus-degree heat just to get other students informed should not have his/her vote negated by the slacker who stays at home on Election Day for the sake of an all-day Entourage marathon.

While apathy may be the dominant reason for low voter turnout, there are also countless hard-working Arizonans who cannot find the time to get to the polls. A single mother with multiple jobs, as well as the need to juggle daycare and spend time with her children, could find it nearly impossible to get away from her responsibilities even for a short amount of time. To have the state consider her hectic schedule as a vote for "no" is a direct violation of the First Amendment.

Voting is a privilege instead of a right, because it can be taken away, and it requires (or should require) at least a minimum amount of effort. That effort consists of finding the local poll location and traveling an average of 10 minutes to cast a ballot (or requesting an early ballot). The "Majority Rules" proposition is an attempt to nullify the First Amendment when it comes to Arizona tax legislation.

Daniel Sotelo

Sarah Palin, Spiro Agnew. Spiro Angew, Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin (younger and 40 years later) is nothing more than Spiro T. "Attack Dog" Agnew in drag.

Nixon, much like McCain, was not a terrific public speaker. Nixon, much like McCain, needed a front, a "barracuda," to provide the vitriol and heat. And history has recorded how Agnew went down in flames.

Is Obama any better? Only time will tell. Yet, re-read Tom Hayden's article ("Dreams of Obama," Currents, Aug. 21), and you will find not an obligatory backing or simpering support, but a word of caution: If Obama messes up, storm the walls. Regardless of which politico gains the catbird's seat, we must always be willing to storm the walls ... or we are nothing.

Right, Danehy?

Peter Yates-Hodshon

From the Home Office in Tucson, Arizona...

Palin power ("Parsing Palin," Editor's Note, Sept. 4, and "Meet Sarah Palin," Currents, Sept. 4)? You've got to be kidding!

Here are the Top 10 reasons why Sarah Palin should be ignored ... or do we really need another Anita Bryant?

10. Palin doesn't seem to know the name of her "opponent." Has she ever mentioned his name?

9. She claims to be grassroots, but suggests that grassroots "community organizers" are unimportant.

8. She believes abstinence is the most effective means of birth control.

7. She's been a mayor of 9,000 people, and a governor of 600,000, in a country of more than 300 million!

6. Trying to sell a plane on eBay is something of which Palin is quite proud.

5. Energy policy? Drill, drill, drill!

4. In Palin's view, God created Alaska (and all the other places) in seven days, more or less.

3. Polar bears, moose and the media are not her friends.

2. It's not enough that she's a woman; she's not a feminist.

1. Saran Palin is not running for president in November!

Heidi Shirk

Yet Another Volley in the Nauseatingly Never-Ending Names Debate

I'm the woman who Tom Danehy quotes (Sept. 4). I'll take the bait.

Sure, John is to Juan as Sean/Shawn is to D'Shon? (But "as Robert is to Jer'MelQuan?" Not so much.) OK, so D'Shon isn't the Yoruba translation of Sean. So what? It's no more or less valid than K-Lee/Kaleigh/Kaily/Kayley, ad infinitum. The point is, Tom: Your Anglo-centric view of names smacks of the same racism you say "we should all fight," whether you like it or not. When the dominant dictate to the minority, there's a problem. Intercultural Communication 101, baby.

Yes, we should name our kids anything we want, especially if we are from an oppressed minority group. Africans brought to this country as slaves were stripped of everything including (significantly) their very names. You don't have to be a cultural anthropologist, historian or linguist to understand why blacks would be compelled to re-assert ownership of their names, "made up" or not.

I'm not African American and am an outsider on the aforementioned topic. So is Danehy. We should defer to their expertise. Why did he quote me, and not black scholars or his many black colleagues?

It's silly to suggest that Juan, Jer'MelQuan or Jalal al Din will have any greater odds of success for being named John. Their résumés might move up to the front of the bus, er, stack, but they can't hide their skin at the interview.

Whitney Weirick

Danehy's Names Policy Reminds Me of Don't Ask/Don't Tell

Tom Danehy's position regarding "black names" reminds me of the U.S. military's Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy. That policy allows homosexual military personnel to serve so long as no one knows their sexuality.

This is not a good policy for 1,427,546 reasons (the number of people in our military as of June 30). It negatively affects every military person by denying any one person's civil rights. We should all have the right to be recognized for who we are.

If everyone were saddled with Danehy's idea of an acceptable name, that would add to a Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy regarding race.

Jesse Zoernig

Jonathan Hoffman Has a Fan!

Agree with Jonathan Hoffman's thoughts or not, there is no question that his often acerbic commentaries are by far the most thought-provoking pieces in the Opinion section of the Tucson Weekly (Guest Commentary, Sept. 11). It would be difficult to argue otherwise when comparing them to the often repetitious cocktail-party talk and overused cliché subjects of many of the other guest (and even regular) commentators. Hopefully there is some serious consideration being given to making Mr. Hoffman a regular commentator.

Dan Davis

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