On Tuesday, my wife and I went and voted early, mostly to get it out of the way while my dad and sister are visiting and they could watch our newborn. The experience was pretty much what you’d expect – paid temporary workers trying to remember their training, to varying degrees of success, in a community center’s gym with a bunch of other people looking to check the “civic duty” box. But something struck me this year that made me wonder what the point of citizenship is anymore.
My ballot in Maryland was in both English and Spanish. Maybe it’s been that way for years, I honestly don’t remember. On the way out the door, as always happens, someone tried to give me and my older daughter, a whole 17 months, an “I voted” sticker. I passed because I think they’re stupid and obnoxious – you shouldn’t celebrate doing what you’re supposed to do – but my wife, who took longer to vote because she skipped every race where there was only one person on the ballot, took one. It read, “I voted, yo vote.” It was then it occurred to me that the benefits of citizenship are either going away or pretty much gone.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have pride in the country, but the country is changing significantly, or more correctly it’s being changed, in a dramatic way I’m not sure people are aware of.
Why would a ballot need to be written in English and Spanish when, by law, you’re expected to be proficient in English in order to become a citizen and, therefore, be eligible to vote?