Letter: Voting is Great!

[A response to "Knowledge of the Intent," a Feb. 28 letter to the editor by John Letterman, which was itself a response to Brian Griffin's letter, "Boxes Within Boxes," Feb. 21, 2013:]

Thank you for your concern about my education. I spent a lot of time ducking-and-covering at school and probably missed something.

In a way, my education might not be as "current," as you suggest. For example, I've always harbored the notion that Americans voting for their representatives is a good thing. Apparently that idea is not very popular among current Republican Party authorities and their highly-trained mouthpieces. By such standards, I guess I'm more "old-fashioned" than "current." But because the "current educational system" teaches that all Americans should vote, I can see why you think my views on voting are "current" and therefore suspicious. My support of voting rights conflicts with conservative Republican efforts to resurrect restrictions on voting rights. In short, I think voting is great and should be expanded, while today's "conservatives" distrust voting and want to restrict it.

Being happy about my right to vote for U.S. Senators is something I have in common with William Jennings Bryan. Bryan was a big supporter of the 17th Amendment, the one that allows citizens to vote for U.S. Senators—the amendment you seem to dislike.

You might have liked Bryan, though. Like you, he favored old-fashioned education instead of the "current" approach of his day. For example, he was suspicious of the expansion of public high schools because some of them taught modern ideas about science. A few even began teaching human biology without including religion, and chimpanzees became very popular figures in both politics and religion. As I'm sure you know, Tennessee's preachers opposed public high schools because of this. That's why Bryan agreed to prosecute a teacher accused of teaching modern, "current" ideas about human biology in one of those new-fangled "high schools" that somehow got built in Dayton, Tenn., over everybody's dead body.

I was named after Bryan because my family thought he was a good Christian and a terrific guy. However, my name was spelled wrong on my birth certificate. Apparently my father wrote "Brian" instead of "Bryan" on the hospital form. He and my mother and my grandfather all apologized to me about this when they realized, years later, what they had done. (I pointed this out to them myself when I was 8 years old.) Even so, I do not doubt that my family's distrust of education remained strong. Like you, they were suspicious of the "current" education of their day.

In any event, I guess we have to agree to disagree. I'm big on voting. You're not. That's okay. You don't have to vote unless you just want to.

About the income tax that you mentioned. How's that working for me? Well, I'm okay with my share. I like America, and I believe our government can improve if those who hate government, such as most of Tennessee's Republican "conservative" representatives, would stop tearing it apart.

Brian Griffin