I would walk 10 miles around a controversy. I don’t like to argue, even on those occasions when I know I’m right and somebody else is full of ... well, just wrong. I hope that doesn’t mean I’m a weak person, because I’ll stand up for something that I believe in.

That said, our country is in trouble.

Deep trouble.

I believe that if we are not as divided as a nation as we’ve ever been, we are mighty darn close to it.

For my money, the politicians are at the heart of it.

Our “representatives” in Washington and Atlanta generally do not represent the entirety of their constituents. If they did, they would know what compromise is.

Most of our politicians are there to hang on to whatever power they’ve been able to achieve, largely through longevity.

Party line votes such as what has been happening in Washington and Atlanta, and bogus television advertising that picks one aspect of an issue, are driving me crazy!

I’m sick and tired of them.

I say this with respect to both parties. One is not any better or less culpable than the other. They are both equal opportunity knuckleheads.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I would consider myself a fiscal conservative. I guess that makes me a Republican.

I am also a staunch conservationist, maybe even a borderline environmentalist. Guess that makes me a Democrat.

Just don’t call me purple!

I have lots of good friends who fall on one side of the aisle or the other, and I’ll tell you those friendships could be really strained if I didn’t bite my tongue a lot.

I had one good Democratic friend who was disappointed in the fact the RN-T didn’t specifically indicate how our local representatives voted on the controversial Election Integrity Act of 2021.

You think he didn’t know how they voted? All of them have an R after their name!

Then there is all of this talk about voter suppression. Is requiring identification suppression? If I go into the same bank I’ve dealt with for 37 years, the tellers ask me for ID every time I undertake a transaction.

I’m “60 and none of your business years old” and if I want a glass of wine with dinner at the restaurant, they ask for my ID.

Is it too much to ask for ID when people are casting votes for the people who are going to run this country?

I know there are other parts of the bill; it’s 98 pages long.

It requires each county to have at least one drop box for absentee ballots. How many drop boxes do we need? And it (they) is/are only available during hours that early voting is available. What’s unreasonable about that?

Early voting can open as early as 7 a.m. and remain open until 7 p.m. at the discretion of individual counties.

The law also requires two Saturdays of early voting. Up to two Sundays are optional under the new law.

The new law does make some changes in the runoff regulations, most notably cutting the length of time between a general election and a runoff. That got whacked from nine weeks to four weeks.

Hallelujah. That cuts the amount of time I have to watch those nasty television commercials for candidates in less than half.

Who could possibly be against that, regardless of which side of the aisle you fall on. The commercials I watched during this last election cycle were equal opportunity nauseating!

The absentee voting provisions have also changed. Absentee ballots can be sent out 29 days before an election. It used to be 49 days. Surely the U.S. Postal Service can get a ballot out, folks can fill it out and get it back within a month.

Surely.

Voters can actually request an absentee ballot up to 78 days before an election. Applications must be received no later than 11 days before an election. The previous deadline was four days.

Unless you’re living in a cave on Borneo, you know an election is coming up. You’ve potentially got three weeks of early voting, two Saturdays, maybe even a Sunday or two.

It’s really hard for me to come up with a good reason anyone who wants to vote can’t meet those kinds of deadlines.

I’m old enough to remember the time when the only day you could vote was election day itself, unless you voted absentee. There was none of this three weeks of early voting.

Absentee ballot voters will be required to submit some form of ID in place of the old signature matching system. The ID could be any of a number of documents from a driver’s license, or state-issued ID card, or the last four digits of their Social Security number. If someone doesn’t have any of those items, a utility bill with their name and address will do. So will a bank statement.

The only way I see a lot of these suppressing a vote is if the voter is a complete off-the-grid deadbeat, or perhaps medically bedridden with no family members to provide assistance.

I recognize the fact that some folks are going to disagree with me; I just ask that you do so in a respectful manner.

And understand, right up front, that I’m not going to get into an argument with you over it.

We’re all entitled to an opinion and odds are that we’re still going to be friends and simply agree to disagree.

Associate Editor and business columnist Doug Walker is always looking for news and tips about area businesses. To contact Doug, email him at DWalker@RN-T.com or call 706-290-5272.

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