Quote of the week

[E]ven if the [coronavirus] is under control, many voters may be cautious about stepping out to a polling place where many people will gather. When I reached out to a wide array of voting rights advocates, election law scholars, and former election officials, I heard the same three-word solution over and over again: “vote by mail.” Mail-in ballots are a major reason turnout did not crater in the Florida and Arizona primary elections held earlier this month. And they are the most straightforward way to ensure that voters can still cast a ballot even if they are stuck at home. In the ideal regime, which already exists in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Hawaii, voters would automatically receive a ballot in the mail in the weeks before the election. These voters should also be given the option to vote in person, in case they do not receive the ballot or lose it, but no one should have to request a mail-in ballot in order to receive one.

Ian Millhiser
Vox
22 December 2008

Mugabe, Mbeki, murder

In the letter written by ex President Thabo Mbeki to the ANC after he was fired as President he listed Robert Mugabe – who pretends to be the legitimate President of Zimbabwe – as one of the heroes he has had the honour to interact with. Can one tell the quality of a person by his or her heroes? Probably yes.

So when the New York Times reported this morning that a new survey has found that hunger is wide spread in that country, I could not help but wonder what Mbeki would say to this. The report states:

The survey, recently provided to international donors, found that the proportion of people who had eaten nothing the previous day had risen to 12 percent from zero, while those who had consumed only one meal had soared to 60 percent from only 13 percent last year.

For almost three months, from June to August, Mr. Mugabe banned international charitable organizations from operating, depriving more than a million people of food and basic aid after the country had already suffered one of its worst harvests.

Mr. Mugabe defended the suspension by arguing that some Western aid groups were backing his political rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, who bested him at the polls in March but withdrew before a June 27 runoff. But civic groups and analysts said Mr. Mugabe’s real motive was to clear rural areas of witnesses to his military-led crackdown on opposition supporters and to starve those supporters.

Can one remain a heroe if one has contributed so starkly to this state of affairs? Apparently one can if one inhabits the moral universe of Thabo Mbeki. Thank goodness we are rid of him.

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