Michael P. Ackley has worked more than three decades as a journalist, the majority of that time at the Sacramento Union. His experience includes reporting, editing and writing commentary. He retired from teaching journalism for California State University at Hayward.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.
Our U.S. Justice Department – arguing from numbers that are, at best, imprecise – says Texas may not implement its voter identification law.
By the department’s best guess, the number of Texans lacking a picture ID ranges from 603,892 to 795,955, and from 29 to 38 percent of these are Hispanic.
This raises troubling questions. Why, for example, can’t Justice estimate the number of ID-free Texans more closely than a range of 192,063? And why can’t the department make a better guess about the percentage of ID-less Hispanics closer than a nine-point spread?
Besides, the department says Texas hasn’t demonstrated that there has been voter fraud in the Lone Star State. How, one must ask, can Texas be expected to prove there has been voter fraud when there is no mechanism for confirming voter legitimacy? (Besides, vote fraud is a Texas tradition. Just look at Lyndon Johnson’s first congressional primary election.)
Touting a further statistical curiosity, Tim Perez, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said, “According to the state’s own data, a Hispanic registered voter is at least 46.5 percent, and potentially 120.0 percent, more likely than a non-Hispanic registered voter to lack this identification.”
How does one come up with this broad, 73.5 percent range? It is reasonable to speculate that the average IQ of Justice Department statisticians ranges from 85 to 110.
We put these questions to Perez’ assistant in Austin, Texas, Doroteo Arango, who explained, “The law requires Texas to prove a negative – lack of discrimination – and the fact that is philosophically difficult has no bearing on the matter. It’s the law as we see the law, and how we see the law is what counts.
“As for the admittedly large spans in our statistical estimates, well, those can be accounted for by Texas’ shifting demographics. A lot of Hispanics, you know, are always running back and forth across the border with Mexico, so they’re difficult to count.”
When asked if he was talking about illegals, Arango, looking hurt, replied, “No human is illegal. Anyway, a lot of Hispanic citizens live more than 100 miles from a place where they could obtain a state-issued photo ID, and they’re too poor to make the trip.
“This is true despite the Democratic Party’s continued support for the multifarious agencies of the War on Poverty. Why, we’ve been winning that war since 1964, and we’re sure that someday soon the percentage of Americans living in poverty may be even lower than it was when Lyndon Johnson – a great Texan – declared this war.”
We asked, “The percentage of Americans in poverty isn’t lower now, after 48 years?”
“No,” he said. “Certainly not in Texas. But only a cruel person would suggest terminating any of the fine, anti-poverty programs, because that would eliminate the jobs of a lot of fine, federal employees.
“That’s why we have to make voting easy for the impoverished, ignorant and possibly illegal citizens of the State of Texas.”
“Because they’ll vote to maintain the War on Poverty?” we asked.
Arango laughed, “No, because they’ll vote to maintain the Democratic Party.”
Lest any reader think the above is racist: Yours truly probably registered more citizens to vote in the State of Texas than any of you – as a VISTA volunteer poverty warrior way back in 1967. And all of those signed up were Hispanic and all of them were citizens, many of whom had proved their patriotism by valorous serviced in the United States armed forces.
And let it be recorded: The Democratic administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson tried assiduously to keep the volunteers from conducting our registration drive, because it threatened the local party establishment. Now, the same party, faced with increasing Republican strength in Texas, is singing a different tune.
Times change, but the sycophants, phonies and apologists who run the party apparatus change not at all.
And another thing: Occasionally, a reader will miss the satire disclaimer at the top of this column. Thus, somebody might think Doroteo Arango is a real character. I’ve been waiting years for somebody to tumble to the fact that Jose Doroteo Arango Arambula was a precursor of today’s Mexican nativist movements.
Arango Arambula was the given name of the revolutionary leader better known as Francisco “Pancho” Villa. On March 9, 1916, he had the temerity to raid and raze Columbus, N.M., to seize military supplies. This led to Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing’s “punitive expedition,” which chased Villa – in vain – all over northern Mexico for nearly a year.
In these columns, “Arango” stands in for Hispanics whose views and actions I see as inimical to the United States.