right to vote

I have finally given up on the prospect of any meaningful gun safety regulation or a ban of AR-15- like weapons at the federal level. I have felt that way since Sandy Hook in 2014 but CNN’s Michael Smerconish solidified my opinion. Mr. Smerconish said what I have been saying all along, “We have a gun culture like no other in the world.”

I don’t blame the NRA, I put all the blame on ourselves for allowing this to happen. Republicans will get up at 6:30 a.m. and talk about guns, and they whine about gun confiscation while the opposite is true. There are more guns than people in the United States. According to Gallup, in August 2019, only 32% of Americans own guns but they are a loud vocal group who vote on that single issue.  

While I have given up on guns, I will never give up on making it easier to vote. I’m for allowing and counting every legal vote cast. I favor absentee voting but curbside, more polling places, and same-day registration should also be used to entice more voters. We should do everything to eliminate long lines and demand a paper trail for each voting machine. Don’t allow poll watchers to become poll intimidators. It will give true meaning to the phrase “the voting result is the only poll I’m interested in.”

When our company first allowed us to manage our portfolio, I remember an old-timer telling us not to invest all of our funds into company stock because you should let your research be your guide, not your loyalty. While I trust the election process in Victoria, Texas, I see where they have had problems in the larger cities like Houston and Dallas. The bulk of the vote comes from the larger cities, so that’s where voter suppression takes place.

Republicans are now on a voter fraud scare. There is no basis for this since there have only been 194 cases of voter fraud in 94 million votes cast in the last fifteen years in Houston, Texas, according to Sunday’s Chronicle. The skeptics will question the liberal rag as they call it, but they can’t produce evidence to the contrary. They will deflect by overemphasizing the voter ID issue. That hasn’t been a voter suppression argument for a while other than wondering why a college ID is not an acceptable photo ID. Why does it take less than 30 minutes to vote in River Oaks but it can take six hours to vote in Sunnyside? I see the video footage every four years.

Texas remains one the hardest state to vote in (remember Victoria is just one of 254 counties in Texas) and a reason it was a pre-clearance state until the SCOTUS 5-4 ruling in 2013. Prior to 2020 Texas, voter turnout was dismal but in 2020 we led the nation in early voting with 66%. I’ve got to admit that the larger turnout dispelled the myth that a large turnout would turn Texas blue. Why does the GOP want to restrict voting if it helped them in 2020 in Texas? Perhaps they are looking at the data from Georgia.

I’m glad Mark Walters took the bull-by-the-horns and wrote a letter calling out the MAGA crowd instead of allowing them to control the narrative. The local letters run about 10-1 conservative to liberal. Local right-wingers don’t want to talk about the Capitol insurrection, current Trump investigations or the antics of Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Each side has its boogeymen but that’s more of a sideshow and should not impede having a serious discussion about the Afghan withdraw, or a serious committee hearing to get to the bottom of the January 6th siege on our Capitol. For example, last night’s 60 Minutes segment about the Oath Keepers should get everyone’s attention. The idea of an armed paramilitary group coordinating with local law enforcement is scary.

America does a lot of great things but we have avoided a serious discussion on race and income inequality, for starters. For that, we need to openly discuss our differences.

For the past six years I have listened to and discussed local issues at our breakfast club with the benefit of hearing both sides.

More recently, I have become a regular listener of a local Magic 95 AM RW radio show by Bill Pozzi. I have read all of the local GOP chairman’s columns so I went in with my eyes open. Although we have our political differences, he asked me to express my views uninterrupted and I called in a couple of times. Our political differences don’t mean I can’t admire his services as a Navy Seal and educator or his volunteerism in community services at the COVID Hub and with local veteran events.

At the end of the day, I will still be a bias self-described Obama Democrat but I’m ready to listen to the other side hoping they’ll have some substantiated facts because you know I’ll bring mine.

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Michael Gomez is a retired, opinionated left-of-center, political junkie who likes to discuss issues, as opposed to ideology.

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Michael Gomez writes a politics blog on VictoriaAdvocate.com.

(2) comments

Glen or Janice Ullman

I like it Mike. Facts are facts, and figures are figures, as an old friend used to say. Our voting system nation wide could be made so simple, cheap and foolproof, with a little 21st century technology. We have a lot of big tech coming in to Austin, maybe they can help with Abbott’s replacement. The gun situation makes me nervous, and I like and use guns, but I hate the idea of having to take one everywhere, especially if my grandkids are in the car with me, while I drive down I-45 trying not to PO some road warrior. Plus, the odds of being the good guy with the gun seems awfully remote, and is a lame excuse for open carry. At the very least our local law should discourage open display of firearms in our courthouse square, for any reason...Glen

Mike Gomez

That’s all I’m saying Glen by hoping that Texas will look and study the 21st-century voting methods other states are using to get fast accurate results. People will vote in larger numbers if we make it easier to vote. The 161 million people who voted in 2020 were the largest ever recorded. Republicans and Democrats alike enacted special pandemic provisions to accommodate the voters and they responded.

I still think the mass shootings as it relates to guns is a belief perseverance issue…. People turn to memes, sound bites, and confirmation bias rather than trying to find a solution. It’s not that we can’t do it because who would have thought we would be this far along in putting COVID 19 in our rearview mirror?

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