Thursday, July 7, 2011

GUEST COLUMN: Cross-Over Voting in the May 2012 Indiana Primary Elections: Right? Wrong? Legal? Smart? or Maybe Really Dumb?

NOTE:  A friend of mine, attorney, author and a fellow blogger, Mark Small, wrote this essay on cross-over voting.   It is really the only substantive article I've ever seen of the issue, an issue which becomes increasingly important as we near the 2012 primary, which will feature a heated battle between Senator Richard Lugar and Treasurer Ricahrd Mourdock.  The views contain in the piece are Mark's and my publication of them should not be construed as my endorsement of those views. 

Cross-over voting is legal in Indiana, but the laws governing Indiana's primaries are a farce.

Richard Lugar last lost an election in 1974 as candidate for United States Senate against Birch Bayh, in those heady post-Watergate days. Lugar beat Vance Hartke two years later, and began the longest occupation of an Indiana Senate seat in history. His lock on the seat was so certain in 2006, the Democrats did not field a candidate; a serious challenge to Richard Lugar was unthinkable.

In 2012, Lugar will run for his seventh six-year term. Richard Mourdock, two-term Indiana Treasurer, has announced he will challenge Lugar for the nomination in the 2012 Republican primary. Some people might question whether a qualitative difference exists between two Dicks offered up for the Republican nomination.

Will people who usually have voted in the Democratic Party's primary cross-over in the May, 2012, primary to vote only for the office of United States Senator?

The office of President of the United States also will be on the ballot. I will address that race and implications of cross-over voting at a later time.

This essay addresses the legality of cross-over voting, the constitutionality of the laws governing primary elections, the reasons someone would cross-over, and the prudence of crossing over in the context of the Indiana U.S. Senate race..

For any hypothetical situations in this work, "Voter" will have no gender, but because multiple pronouns are cumbersome, I arbitrarily have chosen feminine pronouns when such are necessary.

What are primary elections?

This questions is not meant to be an insult to anyone's intelligence, but to establish clear definitions. A primary election is the "act of choosing candidates by the respective political parties to fill various offices." Harrell v. Sullivan, 41 N.E.2d 354, 220 Ind. 108 (1942). By statute primaries in Indiana are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May. I.C. 3-10-1-3. Indiana has what is characterized as an "open" primary system. There are no lists of members of parties. There are current polling lists of persons eligible to vote in the precinct in question. A member of each party is supposed to be represented at the polling place. In our precinct, the polling place workers sit behind a folding table with the polling books open in front of them. Voter approaches, gives her name, one of the workers asks to see the appropriate identification, and Voter's name is checked to see if she is legally registered to vote in that precinct. Once her name is found, she is asked what ballot she wishes - Democratic or Republican - and she takes the ballot of her choice to the voting stand and fills in the little dots as she wishes.

What is cross-over primary voting?

A person "crosses over" in a primary election when she votes a ballot for the "other" party, compared to her past votes. Indiana is considered an "open" primary state. Citizens do not register as members of any political party. Under the statute, Voter's prior voting record in primary elections is not an important factor in the ballot for which she asks in the 2012 primary election. I have voted a Democratic ballot in every primary election in which I have voted. If I were to vote a Republican ballot, I would "cross over." (In some contexts, one "crosses over" when one dies. One may ponder the divergent, and existential/mystical implications of the term as one wishes. In this essay, the term "cross over" will be used in its electoral context.)

The right to vote is fundamental.

Voting has long been recognized as a fundamental right in our republic. Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 336 (1972); Indiana Gaming Commission v. Mosely, 643 N.E.2d 296, 304 (Ind. 1994). It is protected by the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Murphy v. State, 837 N.E.2d 591, 595 (Ind.Ct.App. 2005). Art. II, sec. 2 of the Indiana Constitution also protects the right to vote and protects Voter from being disenfranchised. The right to vote, considered one of the most important rights of citizens, cannot be abridged or denied except as expressly authorized by the Indiana Constitution:
The right [to vote] is a political privilege of the highest dignity which can emanate only from the people, and is reverently and emphatically enshrined in the sovereign statement of the organic law of the people. The privilege cannot be abridged or denied by any board or agency created by the legislature, or through direct legislative enactment, except as such limitation upon the privilege is authorized by other provisions within the organic laws of the state.
State ex rel. McGonigle v. Madison Circuit Court, 193 N.E.2d 242, 249 (Ind. 1963).

1851 Woman's Rights Convention
held in Wayne County, Indiana addressed
slavery, prohibition and a woman's right to vote.
 The Indiana Supreme Court has held that “any effort on the part of the General Assembly to establish a public electorate which would differ from that defined in Art. II, sec. 2 of the Constitution must necessarily be in conflict with the manifest purpose of that section to designate the voters entitled to participate in all elections ‘not otherwise provided for by this constitution.’” Board of Election Commissioners of City of Indianapolis v. Knight, 187 Ind. 108, 117 N.E. 565, 569 (1917). Because Art. II, sec. 2 designates the class of persons eligible to be electors and confers on them the right of suffrage, in the absence of other provisions contained in the constitution those electors shall be entitled “to vote generally whenever the polls are opened ad elections held for anything connected with the general government, or the state or local governments.” Id. In other words, “[w]hen the Constitution defines the qualifications of voters such qualifications cannot be changed nor added to by statute.” Fritch v. State, 199 Ind. 89, 155 N.E. 257, 258 (1927) (citing Morris v. Powell, 125 Ind. 281, 25 N.E. 221 (1890)).

A basic principle of American government is that elections be free, open, and fair.

This statement should be self-evident. Perhaps it should be "THE basic principle..." The statement employs two phrases and several words that, as I was taught in college communications courses, are considered "god" terms. The three relevant for focus here qualify the word "elections."

The most obvious aspect of a "free" election is one in which Voter does not pay to cast a vote. Poll taxes were used post-Civil War to discourage African-American voters. However, "free" in the context of elections includes Voter's right to cast her vote as she chooses. No one can compel her to cast her vote for any office in any way. Other aspects of free elections do not readily come to mind to people in this country today. In our past, and in other countries' present, individuals with firearms patrol voting sites as a means of intimidation. Opposition candidates disappear and their supporters harassed, beaten, or killed. A final aspect is Voter is not punished for a particular vote. The overarching principle of free elections is Voter can vote for the candidates of her choice without fear of retribution.

"Open" is defined as "Visible; exposed to public view; not clandestine. ... Not closed, settled, fixed, or terminated." Black's Law Dictionary, Pocket edition, 1996, p. 456. Public oversight of the process is important, although did little to remedy the fiasco of the 2000 presidential election. Elections must be "open" also in the sense that all people eligible to vote are given reasonable opportunity to do so. Openness applies as well to the ability of candidates to gain access to and be listed on the ballot. If the field of candidates is winnowed out before the ballot is printed and available to Voter, a de facto election of sorts has occurred without Voter having a chance to pull a lever or fill in a little dot.

"Fair" is defined as "free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice." The American College Dictionary, 1962 ed., p. 433. In the early days of our republic, voters regularly bribed with liquor and cash. A more contemporary example of an unfair election would have been one of the Chicago mayoral races in which Richard J. Daley was elected. He served as mayor from 1955 to his death in 1976. When a precinct captain (or whatever the pertinent title was) bragged to Daley about having brought in his precinct for Daley on a vote of 303-to-0, Daley supposedly snapped that you never blank the other side; always give them two or three votes. Otherwise, people will think the election is rigged. Daley was famous for many things, amongst them always arranging to have his name at the top of the ballot - an advantage in the eyes of some because uninformed voters sometimes opt for the first name they see. The essence of fairness is that, before the flag drops and the political race is "go", everyone starts from the same line on the track.

Generally the Framers of the Constitution and other of the Founders frowned on political parties.

Most notably, James Madison, in Federalist Paper #10, argued against what we understand as political parties. Jefferson also opposed them. A biographer of Alexander Hamilton's wrote:
"Today we cherish the two-party system as a cornerstone of American democracy. The founders, however, viewed parties, or 'factions' as they termed them, as monarchical vestiges that had no legitimate place in a true republic. Hamilton dreaded parties as 'the most fatal disease' of popular governments and hoped America could dispense with such groups."
Ron Chernow, "Alexander Hamilton," 2004, p. 390. Although Hamilton collaborated with Madison on The Federalist Papers, the two were at opposite ends of the spectrum of mainstream political thought in the young country. Thomas Jefferson was viewed by many as Madison's guide or mentor. He also is placed at Madison's end of the spectrum. As one of Jefferson's biographers has noted:
"A 'party,' as the term was commonly understood, was nothing more than a 'faction, meaning an organized minority whose very purpose was to undercut the public will, usually by devious and corrupt means. To call someone a member of a political party was to accuse him of systematic selfishness and perhaps even outright treason. The modern notion of a legitimate organized opposition to the elected government did not exist. Indeed it would have struck most members of the revolutionary generation as a contradiction in terms."
Joseph J. Ellis, American Sphinx, 1998, p. 144.

The Framers generally viewed political parties as means for corruption and tyranny. Richard Hofstadter wrote that the revolutionary viewed political parties as "evil." The Idea of a Party System, 1970, p. 9.

An irony is Hamilton and Jefferson were responsible for the rise of the first two political parties, the Federalist and the (then) Republican (now Democrat). Political parties have not disappointed the Framers' dire expectations.

The Framers intended the United States Senate to have specific qualities.

As David Stewart has written, "Modeled on the British House of Lords and the upper house of the Maryland legislature, this second house was intended to stabilize the government against swings in public passions. Noting that the [Constitutional Convention] was a response to the 'turbulence and follies of democracy [Edmund] Randolph explained that 'a good Senate' would check that 'tendency.'" Stewart, The Summer of 1787, 2007, p. 64. As another historian has written: "The House and Senate would operate under different rules, and it did not take long for the Senate to act like the 'aristocratic='branch many had assumed it would be." Richard Labunski, James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights, 2006, pp. 184-85.

Members of the Senate were not directly elected, as they are today. Rather, the legislatures of the individual states elected Senators. One significant difference between a member of the House and a member of the Senate today is length of term. The former is two years, the latter six. Another significant difference is impact of vote. There are 435 voting members of the United States House of Representatives. There are 100 Senators.

Why would a person cross-over?

Operation Chaos was a strategy, employed in Indiana and
other open primary states, that encouraged Republcians to
vote in the Democratic Primary for Candidate Barack Obama.
Two principal reasons for Voter to cross-over in primaries are:

1) Because Voter genuinely prefers a specific candidate and wants to support her/him with the vote: a laudatory and, I would think, universally acceptable reason. We are supposed to vote for the person whom we want to hold an office.

2) Because Voter, whose allegiance is to one party, wants to screw up the other party's chances for victory in the contest for a specific office.

 The latter is where politics take on aspects of Mad magazine's immortal "Spy versus Spy." (In this instance, as Senator Lugar speaks to a small town audience from a wooden stage in its high school, Treasurer Mourdock, hunched beneath the stage, saws a hole around the Senator's feet while, behind Mourdock, Lugar, a mechanical extension on his arm, has reached back and under the stage to place a bomb under Mourdock's butt. You get the idea.)

Voter, who might typically might vote a Democrat primary ballot, could cross over to vote for Mourdock with the goal of victory for a lunatic tea bagger whom she believes has far less of a chance of victory in the general election than the venerable Senator Lugar. If Mourdock wins, from this perspective, Donnelly's chances in the fall general election are enhanced.

(Footnote) Some people are offended by use of the term "teabagger" to describe those who have reached back in history to identify themselves with participants in the Boston Tea Party. The offense is taken because "teabag," as a noun or a verb, also means a specific sexual act or engaging in that sexual act. However, teabaggers themselves used the term, early on (March 14, 2009, Fox news report) when they encouraged people to "Teabag the Fools in D.C. on tax day." If ignorance of the law is no excuse, then neither is ignorance of a term by which one refers to oneself.

There is a third reason, a hybrid of the two principal reasons already noted, for Voter to cross over. If Voter genuinely fears the prospects of a teabagger in the United States Senate, she could cross over to vote for Senator Lugar in the primary. In this scenario, Voter votes from her genuine beliefs, but only to ensure the usual lesser-of-two-evils she has at the polls in November involves a person in Lugar - for whom she will not vote in the general - whom she perceives as far less evil than Mourdock.

Indiana law requires a person disclose her or his past or future votes.

Indiana's primary election laws make no mention of either major party by name. That is a superficial indication of the fairness of statutes written by legislators - politicians - who were members of only two parties when the statutes were promulgated in 1986.

I.C. 3-10-1-6 allows a person to vote in a primary election for a specific party - Voter only can vote in one party's primary or the other - if the person is listed in the poll books for that precinct. There is a record of the party for which the person voted in the previous primary. But Voted can ask for a ballot in the other party's primary. It has been my experience that the poll workers ask a person "What ballot do you want?" I never have been asked a variation of "You have voted Democrat in the past. Is that the ballot you want?" I.C. 3-10-1-9 allows for Voter to be challenged at the primary. "A voter in a precinct may challenge a voter or person who offers to vote at a primary election. The challenged person may not vote unless the person (1) is registered; (2) makes: (A) an oral or written affirmation under IC 3-10-12; or (B) an affidavit ... (3) at the last general election voted for a majority of the regular nominees of the political parties for whose candidates the challenged person proposes to vote in the primary election and intends to vote for the regular nominees of the political party at the next general election; or (B) if the challenged voter did not vote at the last general election, intends to vote at the next general election for a majority of the regular nominees of the political party holding the primary election."

Any voter of the precinct may issue such a challenge. Also, in one sense, the statute does not discriminate. If I voted in the past general election, have voted a Democratic ballot in the last ten primary elections, and request a Democratic Party primary ballot, I may be challenged - even by a Republican.

A primary (no pun intended) reason for I.C. 3-10-1-9's challenge provision is a notion that Voter must demonstrate her loyalty to the party in whose primary she seeks to vote.

Secret ballots are an important aspect of our electoral process.

The infamous "Ballot Box 13" that gave
future President Lyndon Johnson
the edge in the extremely close
1948 Texas U.S. Senate contest.
Indiana law requires secret ballots. I.C. 3-11-13-8. Secret ballots, a/k/a Australian ballots, exist for valid reasons. Chief amongst those reasons: secret ballots prevent intimidation and retribution against those who might vote differently from those who would intimidate and cast retribution.

The system of political parties has codified itself in Indiana.

There only is one issue, if it can be called that, on which both "major" parties agree: make matters as difficult as possible for another party to obtain equal status, especially access to placement on the ballots.

The individual parties are not named in Indiana statutes that regulate primaries. The parties do not have to be named. There have been other parties, always - as long as I can remember, and from what I have read - called "third" parties. Occasionally a candidate for (what usually is not a major) office from such a party will draw a respectable number of votes. Rarely, a third-party candidate will win. The reality is that the two major parties hold the lock and all sets of keys to the system. Even in the early days of parties, two were pre-eminent. Federalist-Republican was the first pair. Federalists faded away, the Republican Party of Jefferson changed its name to the Democratic Party of Jackson and was opposed by the Whigs. Whigs elected two presidents, one of whom was William Henry Harrison (arguably the only president never to make a policy mistake while in office. He died 30 days after delivery, hatless, of a five-hour inaugural address in a chilly rain, and for most of the time lay in a coma). The Whigs split on the issue of slavery and the Republican Party of Lincoln (who had been a Whig) arose. There have been Populists, Bull Mooses, and varieties of socialists in there, but since the Civil War, the keys to the system have been held by the same two parties. In Indiana, our statutes safeguard the two parties' grasp of the ring on which those keys reside.

The two "major" political parties have used (or some would say "abused") the mechanisms of government to preserve their forms and dominance, and advance their interests, by statute.
"Major party" is defined by I.C. 3-5-2-30 as either of the two parties that received the highest number of votes for Secretary of State, statewide in the political subdivision in question, in the last general election. The statute describes the parties without using a form of either the word "Democrat" or "Republican."

Every four years the Indiana Libertarian
Party works hard to ensure they receive
at least 5% of the Secretary of State vote
in order to keep automatic ballot access.
The two parties control the basic structure of the election process. In Indiana, if a party's candidate for Secretary of State obtains at least five percent (5%) percent of the vote in the previous general election, that party is guaranteed places on the ballot for its candidates. That is a huge advantage over the alternative, in which petitions must be circulated. The office of Secretary of State was chosen as the bellwether presumably because no one (of whom I can think, except a candidate's close friends and relatives) votes in that race for a reason other than party affiliation.

These statutes were enacted by the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor. The majorities in both houses and the governor were Democrats and Republicans. It is reasonable to infer the legislation in which they take the keenest interest and upon which their political lives depend - that encompassing election laws - was drawn in such a way as to give their parties control.

Everyone should have a right to vote in whichever party the person chooses.

A voter otherwise eligible should be able to vote in the primary election of either party for several reasons.

First, the two parties have locked up the system to their advantage. The statutes have been written so as to preserve the two "major" parties' dominance. Still, the government belongs to the people of the State of Indiana. Primary ballots of the two major parties are not proprietary to the parties. The two "major" parties created primaries to function by statute. The two parties' primaries use public revenues to administer and regulate the process of voting. The parties themselves benefit from the process because the primaries are the chief means by which candidates are selected for the November ballot. There is no ethical basis for the parties to use the resources of the State of Indiana to such a degree and concomitantly claim a status by which Voter can be rejected before she has opportunity to cast her ballot.

Second, in many ways there is no difference between the two "major" political parties. I say this as someone who is genuinely and unabashedly left-wing. I voted for Barack Obama in both the primary and general elections in 2008. (Oops! I disclosed how I voted, in part, in a past general election.) Given the circumstances of that general election, my vote, were the same election held today, would be the same. President Obama has disappointed many (count me as amongst that number) who hold views similar to mine. He catered to big business on health care and taxes. He continued the (disastrous) Bush tax cuts, as well as our participation in the Iraq and Afghanistan military actions. I know people have died there and the costs have been enormous, but Congress made no formal declaration, therefore those military operations cannot be called wars. The two "major" parties - nationally - are backed by many of the same financial interests. Statewide, on financial issues, there only are superficial differences between the Republican and the Democratic parties.

The two parties have rigged the game to guarantee control remains with the two parties. They have manipulated the structure to their own benefit. Their allegiance seems, first, to be with perpetuation of their own power. Consideration of constituents, particularly the right of the people to control their government, at whatever level, obviously is secondary. That inheres in the legislation that governs elections. Given the parties' manipulation of the system to shut out or make effective participation by "third parties" far more difficult, there should be no ethical opprobrium for a voter who seeks to vote for the "other" party, for whatever reason the voter in question chooses. If someone cheats (a la the Republican and Democratic parties in league), a would-be competitor is entitled to take advantage of the vehicle by which the cheater unfairly gained an edge.

There is no enforcement mechanism for I.C. 3-10-1-1, et seq.

The Hillary Clinton presidential campain in 2008 faced a
concerted effort by Barack Obama to encourage
 Republicans to vote for him in Indiana's open primary.
I will specify a cross-over situation for clarity. On May 8, 2012, Voter, legally registered to vote in Marion County, approaches the table at her precinct and requests a Republican ballot. The Republican and Democrat poll workers at the table scan the voter lists and see Voter has voted in the Democratic primary for several elections in a row. The Republican challenges Voter. Voter signs the affidavit stating she voted for at least half the Republican candidates in the last general election or will do so in the upcoming general. Voter has met the law's requirement. She goes to the little stand, fills in the dots, drops the ballot into the machine, and walks out. In November, Voter returns and requests a ballot. The ballot is secret. The Republican official at the precinct cannot look over Voter's shoulder to make sure Voter fulfills the pledge she made, under oath, the past May to vote for at least half the Republican candidates on the ballot. Voter fills in the little dots and feeds her ballot into the machine. The vote is recorded.

Challenges are rare.

The affidavit requirement of I.C. 3-10-1-9 renders the process illegal and absurd.

Statutes should not be absurd or meaningless. City of Carmel v. Steele, 865 N.E.2d 612, 618 (Ind. 2007). I.C. 3-10-1-9 is absurd, as well as wrong, for several reasons.

1) Voter cannot reasonably be expected to promise to vote for at least half of the party=s candidates in the November general election when, at the time she votes in the May primary, she does not know who those candidates will be. The purpose of the primary is to select the candidates who will appear on the November ballot. The statute requires Voter to vest trust in the officials of a political party.

2) The statute requires Voter to cast half of her votes for half of the other party's candidates. This inherently violates the concept of a "free" election. In order to vote in the primary, she must barter her votes in the general election. Under I.C. 3-14-2-1, offering to pay someone for their vote constitutes voter fraud. "Pay" is defined as "to give compensation for.   The American College Dictionary, supra. Voter is given compensation - a primary ballot - "as compensation for her vote for at least half of the candidates in the general election. " Therefore under I.C. 3-10-1-9 that is illegal.

Indiana recently began requiring photo
identification for voters to cast a ballot.
3) If Voter is amongst a large number of citizens who cross-over with the specific purpose of voting for Mourdock, all any of them has to do if challenged at the primary in May is smile, sign the affidavit, and cast the vote. In the general, come November, no one can monitor Voter's ballot, or any other ballots, to make sure the promises made in the affidavits have been kept. Voter potentially will have committed perjury. I say "potentially" because perjury (again under Indiana statute) requires the person knowingly lie under oath. I.C. 35-44-2-1. If she crossed over with the intent to vote for Mourdock because she favors that candidates nut-job positions, she may intend to vote for a majority of the Republican candidates in November. Also, as she exits the polling place in May, she does not know who those candidates might be. Otherwise, the statutes create a situation in which Voter, to exercise her franchise, must commit a felony, the commission of which cannot be established unless Voter issues a sworn statement to that effect.

One could assert Voter does not have to vote in the primary.

This statement is true. Usually stated in a snotty tone, a person says, "Nobody makes her vote. She doesn't have to vote in the primary." Neither does she HAVE to vote in the general election come November. The reality is that primary elections have an effect, sometimes significant, on the general elections.

Usually the race for any office boils down to a choice of the good old lesser of two evils. Primary elections are one means by which the worst evils can be eliminated. The NCAA tournament does not jump straight to the championship game. There are all those preliminary rounds with Wafford and Lamar and Stetson. Rarely a Butler advances to the Final Four. Usually the last game features two teams from large state schools with huge (taxpayer-funded) budgets.

If Voter is deprived of the ability to vote in the primary, she is effectively disenfranchised. She is denied the ability to have a say, however minor, in the choices (damn few if the teabaggers prevail) she has in the November general elections.

Voter is not wrong to cross-over to vote for Mourdock if she seeks only to hurt Republican chances.

The two parties wrote the rules and put in the fix on something that is more than a game. Elections are the means by which we are governed. If the parties have manipulated the system, people are on valid ethical ground to manipulate it, too. Ah! Someone may ask how can Voter be called "ethical" if Voter is willing to lie in an affidavit about her past vote or how she intends to vote in the upcoming general elections? To which I would say: (1) politicians, the players in the elections, live on lies and (2) because the Voter has no choice if she wishes to exercise her franchise.

My personal view is that Mourdock is a scary candidate.

This statement might seem extreme to some, but not to a lot of people.

Emblematic of my concerns is the content on Mourdock's official website. He is proud of his participation in Glenn Beck's March, 2009, march on Washington.

Mourdock is anti-choice. He believes Roe v. Wade should be reversed because it does not reflect the original intent of the Framers of the Constitution. Apparently he embraces the jurisprudential philosophy called "originalism." I have written on that matter before. The original intent of the Framers cannot be ascertained for specific cases and, even if it could, 224 years of constitutional amendments, court decisions, societal evolution, and statutes have developed a body of law far removed from the document written by white, sweaty, wealthy men in Philadelphia in 1787, at least 20 of whom claimed ownership over other human being (i.e., were slaveholders). The Framers acted outside their charter when they created an entirely new government. They only were to meet to make amendments to the Articles of Confederations. So a person who relies upon original intent of the Framers relies upon persons who were initially devious in setting about their task.

Mourdock is against regulations promulgated by the EPA. He is pro-gun. He is anti-national healthcare. A really scary aspect of his views is that he is pro-nuke - not as in nuclear energy, but as in nuclear weapons, and that is even worse than the nuke energy thing. In short, he is a teabagger.

As for his political record, he is proud of the way in which the Indiana Republican Party has been able to sell off capital assets for which the taxpayers paid a lot of money to build and develop in the first place - e.g., the Indiana Toll Road.

Senator Lugar might not be a lesser evil.

Senator Richard Lugar
Senator Lugar is not a progressive by any means. Why the teabaggers are so intent on his removal is a mystery to me. He has high marks from all the lobbying groups who back guns, want to exploit oil to the exclusion of most everything else, give big tax breaks to the rich, and snuff civil and legal rights. He has low marks from groups that support public education and national health care. He should be the teabaggers' "guy." Perhaps his failure to foam at the mouth when certain phrases are used in his presence makes him suspect to the Palin set.

In the past he has pushed for nuclear disarmament. That is a good thing, unless one embraces a view of Armageddon and the destruction of the human race as a "plus" ordained by a supreme deity in Revelations. Inherently, rational discussion with persons who like Armageddon is difficult - if not impossible - because they believe in something (the bible) as a matter of faith (belief which is not based on proof" American College Dictionary). If one blindly accepts immolation of the Earth as a "plus," there is not much one with a divergent view can do to dissuade. If the person has accepted the matter without proof, what means does one employ to dislodge the belief? Proof would seem to be off the table, to use a current cliche.

Perhaps my impression of Lugar as a wise person of great intelligence has been engendered by his media contacts. I have met the man twice. At IU School of Law (I think I was in second year), he impressed me with his knowledge m- as in thorough, could answer questions about the dynamics of domestic policies in Costa Rica - and his sense of humor.

In the quest for the lesser of two evils, there are several possible ways in which cross-over voting may or may not affect the outcome.

Here are the ones of which I can think, in no particular order:

1) There are few cross-over voters and Lugar wins the primary. It turns out the numbers and influence of teabaggers were overblown (especially after people had a chance, after the 2010 elections, to see what the teabaggers do once in office).

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock
2) There are few cross-over voters and Mourdock wins the Republican primary. His campaign's celebration in the lobby of a Motel 6 is shown by the networks; half the celebrants are dressed in Revolutionary garb and talking on cell phones.

3) There are a lot of cross-overs and Mourdock wins the Republican primary. I do not see the cross-over effect as favorable to Lugar. Democrats, hungry for a United States Senate seat in Indiana for the first time since December 30, 1980 (I mean really, Evan Bayh was a Democrat only because he saw opportunity; his views were safely right-of-center), who want to throw the election to Lugar are the persons who have the most feasible motive to cross-over.

In the six months between primary and general, many things can change. The economy could improve (helps the Democrats). The economy could get worse (helps the Republicans and is the development for which many people think the Republicans yearn). Sarah Palin could publish a political work of deep insight and clarity that gives people a vision for where the country should devote its resources to give a sound foundation for the future. (Sorry, I had to interject a moment of absurdity there. Because very serious things could happen.) A lot of people have guns. Someone could get shot.

Campaigns across the country, no doubt, will be rough. Karl Rove will flex his muscles, stretch his reptilian wings, and send forth his minions with checkbooks. The Koch brothers will fund every right-wing person who makes the Unbreakable Vow. Citizens United will be given full effect. Enough mud will be slung as to be reminiscent of the old Snake Pit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Be careful, you might get that for which you wish.
For any person who traditionally has voted in the Democratic Party but who considers voting for Mourdock simply to upset the Republican apple cart, I would say: be very careful. The tactic could work in the primary. Lugar could lose and Mourdock be the Republican candidate in November. That does not mean Congressman Donnelly has a walk in the park.

The teabagger movement has been known for dirty tricks. Last-minute efforts could be launched, funded, say, by the Koch brothers, to discourage some groups of people from going to the polls. Election officials could do wat they did in Florida in 2000. Mourdock could be declared winner of the election. A rational voice - that of Richard Lugar -would be replaced by the voice of an idiot - that of Mourdock - in the United States Senate.

I may cross over.

Come May, 2012, I might ask for a Republican ballot in the primary election. If I do so, and I am challenged, I cannot sign an affidavit to disclose my past votes or my future votes. I do not intend to litigate over the matter, although one always can change one's mind. In good conscience, though, I cannot swear to the affidavit.

Because I will refuse to disclose my past or future votes, by affidavit and under compulsion of statute, does not mean I am a hypocrite if I discuss here, in other writings, or in conversation with friends or others, how I intend to vote or the individual candidates whom I support. I believe there is a qualitative distinction between voluntary expression of my opinion and compulsory disclosure of my votes as a prerequisite to exercise of my right to vote. By opposite reasoning, one cannot simultaneously espouse opinions about specific candidates and vote by secret ballot.

As I sit here today, I would vote for Lugar because I believe he is the better candidate, when compared to Mourdock. I can guarantee I will not vote for Mourdock. Mine would not be a cross-over vote cast to screw up the Republican chances in the general election. I would seek to cast a vote because I believe the better candidate should win. There is at least one other candidate whom I believe will run for an office in that Republican primary who also will receive my vote if the person declares candidacy. But let us get back to Lugar.

I would vote for Lugar because I believe Mourdock would be disastrous in office. We have enough teabaggers in office. I hope the teabagger fad passes soon, like the leisure suit before it. If Lugar wins, again as I sit here today, I would vote for Donnelly in the general election. I would do so not because I am enamored of Donnelly. He voted against Planned Parenthood. But he voted for NPR. At least his views are more consonant with mine. I also believe he has intelligence such that I would trust his decision-making in a crunch.

So mine would be a vote cast for the person whom I believe to be the better of the two and (hopefully) to block the other from the November ballot. I would not do so to enhance the chances of the Democratic candidate. I cannot discern whether a Mourdock primary victory would be good for the Democratic candidate.

As for the Republican presidential candidates n the primary, the only reason I would vote for any of them would be because Ron Paul favors legalization of all drugs, a belief I first expressed on television in 1976.


M Theory said...

Lugar IGNORED all the letters, phone calls, and emails imploring him to vote against the bailouts and voted to spend our tax dollars in a way that was far less than transparent with a cartel of criminal bankers.

That's what upsets me so much. I can't help but think that other small government types don't appreciate being ignored either.

David Ditton said...

Thank you for invalidating your entire dissertation on 'crossing over' by revealing yourself an an individual whose feet are planted firmly on the far left.

Your use of the term 'teabagger' IS offensive. Yes, the Tea Party used if first, albeit through ignorance, but the Tea Party does NOT use that term now, and it is only used to offend and inflame those who support Tea Party values.

I will outline three reasons why Lugar needs to go, and several reasons why Murdouck is exactly what Hoosiers are looking for.

1. Lugar co-sponsored the DREAM act 5 times, before recently pandering to the right by taking his name off the latest revision. Illegal immigration is ILLEGAL. If any person wants to be in this country, they need to come in the FRONT DOOR, not over the fence. Would you be more likely to welcome a visitor to your home at the front door, or climbing over your fence in the back yard? It IS that simple.

2. Lugar's support of President Obama's two Supreme Court nominees is absurd. Kagan and Sotomayor do NOT represent the values of a majority of Hoosiers. When a Republican nominates justices, the Democrats fight every one of them. For reference, see Robert Bork, Harriet Meirs, and Douglas Ginsburg. To roll over and accept Obama's nominees is akin to total surrender of the Court to leftist ideology.

3. Lugar is simply out of touch with Hoosiers. A recent article in The Evansville Courier & Press indicated that no one that the writer talked to could remember a visit from Lugar. Does he even know that Indiana extends beyond Marion County?

As for Richard Mourdock...

1. The majority of Indiana is pro-life. So should our candidate be. The typical 'rape/incest victim' nonsense are red herrings used to promote an anti-life attitude.

2. The EPA is being used as a tool of this Administration to go around Congress and implement green ideals. The public screams about jobs while the EPA destroys them.

3. Most Hoosiers are pro-gun. When are we going to admit that gun control laws only restrict those who care to follow the law? That's why Chicago has the most restrictive gun control laws in the country, and also is among the worst in the country for gun violence.

4. Most Hoosiers are against Obamacare. So should our candidate be. Let the states decide questions of healthcare.

5. The technology for nuclear weapons exists. Someone will build one, somewhere. We need to be in a position where any adversary who even THINKS of attacking this county with a nuclear device is going to KNOW that they will be incinerated. Iran CANNOT be allowed to posses nuclear weapons. Their leaders have repeatedly expressed their wishes regarding 'The Little Satan' (Israel) and 'The Great Satan' (USA). I support every available means, up to and including the use of nuclear weapons to prevent Iran from possessing (and using) them. There are people in the world who simply want to KILL us. No amount of pandering or negotiation will change this. The Middle East is full of irrational people of faith who believe that killing infidels is an E-ticket to Heaven. All of your negotiation and pandering will be used as a tool to KILL you.

6. Why does the State need to own property it no longer needs? As for the Toll Road, it is a long-term operating LEASE, not a sale. Go drive Michigan's roads for a while and see if you like it better there.

These six things make Richard Mourdock a better candidate for the wishes of Hoosiers.

If you disagree with so many values of the average Hoosier, may I suggest that you relocate. Perhaps Massachusetts, New York, Washington, or California.

A note for Paul...Normally, I agree with most of your positions, but this guest is out of step with the positions usually taken here. If this guy really does represent your values, then I will need to reconsider continuing to read your writings as well. His logic is destroyed by his bias against Hoosier values.

Paul K. Ogden said...
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Paul K. Ogden said...
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Paul K. Ogden said...
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Cato said...

"Tea Party values?"

When did these happen? Do show me this bill of precepts.

So far, all I've seen is a half-baked, contradictory hash of yeah-rah, quasi-patriotic, pro-government, pro-flag, pro-God, pro-Pledge, pro-cop, pro-war, drug-war, historically challenged, anti-freedom nonsense.

"Tea Party" seems to be a direct equivalent for that set of beliefs that a White, rural or suburban, Obama-hating senior citizen would hold.

By the way, do you know that the "Patriots" dumped the British tea in the harbor over ***LOWER***, that's right, ***LOWER*** taxes?

Paul K. Ogden said...


I thought I made clear in my opening disclaimer that I don't endorse Mark's views. This is true when it comes to the Lugar-Mourdock race. I am also very pro life (not because of religion but because of undeniable science) and think Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. Mark is the only legal mind on the planet (outside of the remaining living justices in the majority of the 1973 case) who think Roe v. Wade was correct as a matter of law.

Mark may occasionally be "out there" and simply "wrong" when it comes to many of his political views. However, Mark's a real straight shooter, an intellectually honest, open-minded person that I am happy to call a friend...even when he's wrong, which I find is fairly often. If we had more people like Mark out there discussing issues, we'd have more frank discussions which I think would be a good thing.

I should point out though that we shouldn't let Mark's opinion on the Mourdock-Lugar race, abortion or any other issue he discusses distract from the fundamental and very legitimate point he's making about cross-over voting in Indiana. The laws make no sense, are contrary to the Indiana constitution and are utterly uneforceable. Personally I'd prefer Indiana scrap the nonsensical statutes and go to a closed primary system where you register as a member of your political party.

varangianguard said...

Mark, you remain my favorite debater!

David, if you cannot stomach reading "alternative" opinions. then I'm very sorry for you. Why? Because that falls at the roots of anti-Democratism.

Blog Admin said...

Mark, I'm pretty certain it's 2% in the SOS race to be considered a minor party and get ballot access. It's 10% and above to be a major party (meaning participating in primaries rather than conventions). In fact, some in the LPIN were hoping this was the year of obtaining Major Party status.

Now, I'm not a lawyer and haven't reviewed the code myself, but that's what I remember from the 2010 election cycle

Nicolas Martin said...

Libertarian Party candidates ensure the party's ballot access by abandoning (or opposing) libertarian principles. The party consists of Republicans who like being big fish in a minuscule pond to being tadpoles in the Republican ocean.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Indy Student is correct. It's 2%, not 5%. See IC 3-8-7-25.

I think why this didn't ring wrong is the level I believe used to be
.5% and was raised to 2%. I knew there was a 5 in there.

2% is not nearly the obstacle 5% would be. Still as a candidate of a party without ballot status you have to get 2% of signatures of registered voters. That's no easy task.

Cato said...

It is a violation of the 1st and 14th Amendments to list party affiliation on a general election ballot.

No primary should be conducted with a penny of public dollars. The public doesn't foot the bill for who is going to be the next head of the local Kiwanis.

This party business and ballot access is a crime against the country that is principally responsible for the decline of the country.

Only names should be listed with order determined by straws.

David Ditton said...

Paul...I apologize. It appears that I missed your disclaimer. Also, I agree with you that Indiana's primary election laws are stupid. The primaries need to be closed.

Cato...You cannot hear what you do not wish to hear. The message from the Tea Party is loud and clear...STOP the spending, STOP the 'tax the rich' nonsense, STOP the over-reach of government, STOP the encroachment of Liberty.

Also for Cato...The controversy of the Boston Tea Party was over the reduction of taxes to ONE company, The British East India Company (subsidy!) and the Townshend Duty Tax. The Tea Act allowed BEI to sell tea cheaper than anyone else in the Colonies. The Townshend tea tax was retained just so the Crown maintained its 'right to tax the Colonies'. The combination of these actions led to hostilities.

To varangianguard...I can most certainly handle 'alternate opinions' or I would have stopped reading the article at the first Palin-bash. One must learn the ways of an adversary if you are going to engage them. As for 'anti-democratism'...Why is it that the left never takes on issues, they just insult and bash the right? For reference, see Sarah Palin, Clarence Thomas, etc. I disagree with nearly everything that President Obama says and does, but I still grant him the respect that the Office requires. He is an intelligent person who knows EXACTLY what he is doing. It's funny how I don't hear that flavor of discussion on MSNBC concerning the right.

The bottom line is that Lugar no longer represents the average Hoosier, and needs to retire. I am not a Mourdock devotee, and if someone else moves into a better position to defeat Lugar, I will examine their values in the same manner as my previous comment.

Cato said...

So the Tea Party advocates the end of the Drug War, getting the Pledge of Allegiance out of schools and ending our empire?

Really? Every Tea Party rally I've seen has long soldier worship ceremonies, cop-loving, Anthem-singing and Pledge-reciting.

The Tea Party is just big government from the pro-authority socialists.

varangianguard said...


"One must learn the ways of an adversary if you are going to engage them. As for 'anti-democratism'...Why is it that the left never takes on issues, they just insult and bash the right?"

Sir, if you think we are "adversaries", you're living in the wrong country. I don't consider you "one of them", and I hardly consider you to be the freaking enemy here. If you think I am, then you have forfeited all credibility with me. Just because I actually know a little US History and don't necessarily believe in all the same things you do doesn't make me any less than you, not any less deserving of being an American.

Your second part is one of those false arguments like when I ask you whether you beat your dog daily, or just on weekends. It's meaningless.

But, to humor you, here's an "issue". I know which Concord I should be referring to concerning the American Revolution. Why is it that those like Rep. Bachmann can play fast and loose with the "facts" and still be given any kind of credibility as a Presidential candidate?

Candidate Mourdock appears to be pandering for votes shirtailing off those like Rep. Bachmann, et al. Does that appearance give one any kind of confidence that he will actually change his behavior in D.C? Panderer here, panderer there. Is that what you really want in a U.S. Senator? Perhaps Sen. Lugar is a little long in the tooth for another six years, but can the Republicans not come up with a better challenger than this?

marksmall2001 said...

This is a riposte to comments made in response to a blog my friend Paul Ogden was kind enough to run on his website, “Ogden on Politics.” In his response, one David Ditton suggested that if I “disagree with so many values of the average Hoosier” perhaps I should relocated to Massachusetts, New York, Washington, or California. This “love it or leave it” attitude was not new when I heard it expressed in the 1960s.
“Values” are more complex than to be boiled down and labeled as a set. Also, as I will show, that person’s position was flawed. .

marksmall2001 said...

If “Hoosier values” exist, they are not what tea baggers claim them to be.
The Hoosier values” I gleaned from the response were rather simple: anti-choice, anti-EPA, anti-immigrant. I did not see a whole bunch of positives in there. That said, there are over six million people who live in Indiana, according to the United States census. It is silly to say that one set of values is so widespread as to be common to these six million.
Even if there could be such a set of values, of what would it consist? Our Hoosier history is of such complexity as not to as simple as implied in the response.

marksmall2001 said...

A Hoosier is a person who was born in Indiana or who moved here and stayed.
There is great disagreement about the origins of the word “Hoosier.” Whatever the word’s etymology, of significance to this discussion is what makes a person a Hoosier? First, a “real” Hoosier is a person who was born in Indiana. This keeps with the spirit of the Fourteenth Amendment. Also, place of birth frequently is the lynchpin in conversations about famous Hoosiers. Thus, Phil Harris (Linton, Indiana) was a Hoosier. Contrary to popular myth, Chuck Manson (Cincinnati, Ohio) was not, although he attended high school and was incarcerated in Indiana. Of course, if a person whose values are not genuinely “Hoosier” was born here but left Indiana, Mr. Dutton’s love-it-or-leave-it attitude is fed. Sorry, but place of birth is important.
In many instances, the departure from the State can be explained by economics. New York and Hollywood were natural destinations for artists and writers who sought to appeal to a broad base of patrons and readers.
A person can immigrate to, and become an important part of the culture of, Indiana. Robert Owen and Alfred Kinsey were not born here, but became a vital part of Hoosier culture.

marksmall2001 said...

The word “values” can be defined, but values held by Hoosiers are a different matter.
“Value” in this context means “the things of social life (ideals, customs, institutions, etc.) toward which the people of the group have an affective regard. These values may be positive, as cleanliness, freedom, education, etc., or negative, as cruelty, crime, or blasphemy.” The American College Dictionary, 1962 ed., p. 1342. Values are operant in that definition. For example, I am not the only person who views “blasphemy” (“impious utterance or action concerning [g]od or sacred things.” Id. at 127) as positive. As a societal force religion has been largely negative in the course of history. Impiety toward a deity is a poke in the eye of one of the fictional entities that have caused so much negative.
The matter becomes how we determine whether there is such a body of “Hoosier values.” Mr. Ditton refers to the “average Hoosier.” I am not sure there is such a creature. But let us look at famous Hoosiers and see if there are values commonly held by them.

marksmall2001 said...

If iconic figures represent Hoosier values, gay people are solidly there.
If you get no kick from champagne (originally cocaine) and mere alcohol doesn’t thrill you at all, you might be humming the tune to “I Get a Kick Out of You.” That song, and many other fine works, were from Cole Porter. A product of Peru, Indiana, Porter is perhaps the greatest writer of—if you are a homophobe, becareful about what you are about to read—Broadway musicals. Porter also was gay. He graduated from Yale—so we have that East coast intellectual snob thing going, too. But Porter maintained his family estate in Miami County (maybe so that, like Harry Potter, he could venture back on a regular basis for the protection of old magic).
James Dean (Born in Marion, Indiana) was known to swing both ways. Dean has become the modern apotheosis of “cool.”
Robert Indiana (creator of the “LOVE” sculpture and other famous pieces) is a little light in the loafers, as the more upper-brow amongst the tea bag set might say.

Musical Hoosiers have not confined their talent to writing musicals.
John Mellencamp—a person safely left-of-center—Michael Jackson (from another planet but born in Gary), and Axl Rose all fall within the definition of Hoosier. Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon was from Tippecanoe County. David Lee Roth was born in Bloomington. JJ Johnson was revered as a jazz trombonist. Wes Montgomery set the standard for a jazz guitarist. These folks’ music would not be classified as “contemporary christian.” Their professional success was/is world-wide.

Gene Debs was a Hall of Fame leftie.
And I am not talking baseball. Eugene V. Debs, an early labor leader and noted socialist, was born in beautiful Terre Haute. He was imprisoned for his active opposition to United States involvement in World War I. He also ran for President from prison. Upon his release from prison, 50,000, people greeted him when he arrived in Terre Haute.

marksmall2001 said...

There are other “values” that have held sway in Indiana.
Okay, if you do not want the word “Hoosier” to be identified with Broadway musicals and pacifists, we can look at other displays of Hoosiers’ beliefs.
Perhaps you mean “traditional values,” as reflected in Hoosier history. Then let us travel back through time.

William Henry Harrison killed a lot of people indigenous to this area and owned slaves.
Harrison was not born in what would become the Hoosier State. He was the territorial governor
and a figure in our eighth grade textbook on Indiana history, primarily for his generalship at the Battle of Tippecanoe. (He served the shortest term of any President of the United States—32 days—having contracted pneumonia following his long inaugural address delivered without a hat. He was perhaps our greatest president, based on his having done nothing of substance while in office.) Harrison brought with him to Indiana slaves he had held in Virginia. The Northwest Ordinance forbade slavery, but various loopholes were found and, thus, slavery existed.

marksmall2001 said...

The Indiana Constitutional Convention of 1850 was not friendly to African Americans or single women, was reluctant to adopt phrases from the Declaration of Independence—and was against religious bigotry.
Dissatisfied with the constitution with which Indiana had entered the Union in 1816, delegates met in Indiana in 1850 to draft a new one.
A spirited debate broke out over whether to include wording from The Declaration of Independence. Many opposed such wording, including Daniel Kelso, delegate from Versailles:
“Now I think I may be supposed to know something of what we came here for. It was not to make a Constitution for the whole world, nor for the United States, nor for any other people than the people of Indiana. And, sir, some of us came here instructed upon certain questions which were expected to be brought before this body, and I, for one, am so instructed, especially in regard to the admission of persons of color within the State hereafter. Perhaps the most solemn pledge that I gave to my people was that I would vote uniformly against permitting them to emigrate into this State.”
Debates and Proceedings of the Convention for the Revision of the Constitution of the State of Indiana, 1850, pp. 970-71. In this same vein, Delegate Kelso continued:
“I maintain that the proposition that all men have an equal right to enjoy life, liberty, and property, is not strictly true. For instance, if a white man meets a black man upon the public highway in Indiana, and they are alone together, and the white man falls upon the other with a bludgeon, and beats him unmercifully the black man is not permitted to go into a court of justice and make an affidavit upon which the offender can be arrested; or if the man be arraigned, the black man cannot give testimony by which he could be convicted. ... If I could carry out the principle, and do common justice to the people of Indiana, I would most willingly vote for it, for I like the sentiment; I think it is a good one. But I cannot vote for both, so I choose to do in this matter as I promised the people I would do.”
Id., at 971. Fortunately, the Convention adopted the wording of the Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately, only one delegate, Edward May of Angola, voted to give African-Americans the right to vote.
On the other hand, Robert Owen—founder of the Utopian community of New Harmony in southern Indiana—sought to secure property rights of widows and married women. Apparently single women were left to fend for themselves, a theme picked up in Sister Carrie, a famous novel from 1900 written by Hoosier Theodore Dreiser.
Finally, the delegates were strident in their defense of the rights of conscience. Article I, sections 2 through 9 are explicit in their protection of freedom of conscience. Apparently the delegates, as a group, had less of a problem with racial than religious bigotry.

marksmall2001 said...

We should not forget Indiana’s 1907 compulsory sterilizations law.
Based on a concept of eugenics, Indiana enacted legislation, signed into law, that made sterilization of confirmed criminals, idiots, morons, and rapists compulsory. Our—meaning Indiana’s—Supreme Court ruled the statute unconstitutional in the 1920s.

marksmall2001 said...

The Ku Klux Klan ran Indiana in the early 1920s.
Perhaps, by Hoosier values, you mean those held by the brave people in white sheets who wore hoods (to hide their identities) and advance the good christian values of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. D.C. Stephenson (born in Texas; big surprise there) lived in Irvington. He had taken a prominent role in the KKK and made a mint from sales of what one might call KKK starter kits. As one writer has chronicled:
“No Catholic, Jew or Negro could be elected under the Klan edict that ‘only 100 percent native-born Protestant Americans should rule this fair land of ours.’ The Horse Thief Detective Association became the police force of the Klan and made stern reprisals against notorious law violators. In dead of night, prostitutes were taken from their beds and flogged. Drunks were tarred and feathered. Klansmen in hoods and robes entered private homes without search warrants and disciplined errant husbands—or errant wives (and sometimes faithful wives who wouldn’t come across to a Kluxer.”
Irving Leibowitz, My Indiana, 1964, pp. 208-09. Leibowitz was managing editor of The Indianapolis Times and a respected journalist. As he wrote about Klan control of the State:
“The day Ed Jackson was sworn in as Governor on January 12, 1925 the invisible empire of the Klan controlled the State of Indiana. It made the laws and enforced them. Besides Governor Jackson, it had elected legislators, prosecutors, judges and Mayors. Nearly 500,000 Hoosiers, in white robes and hoods, burned their fiery crosses almost nightly to strike fear in the hearts of their neighbors.”
Id., at pp. 189-90.
On July 4, 1923, approximately 200,000 attended the KKK rally in Malfalfa Park, just outside the town of my birth, Kokomo. Fortunately, the Klan’s dominance was short-lived. D.C. Stephenson was a horny bastard. He raped and sodomized a young secretary. She committed suicide but gave a death-bed statement about the ordeal. There still were politicians who were not in the Klan’s pocket. Also, it was estimated that, at its peak, the Klan claimed half of the white male population of Indiana as members. The other half reacted negatively to Stephenson’s crime. The Klan lost its hold on Indiana.
But do people who truly hold their values abandon those values when one person, whom they could claim was a bad apple, does something wrong?

marksmall2001 said...

The plight of Ryan White put my high school on the world map.
I graduated from Western High School in 1973. Ryan White, later, was a student at WHS. He was diagnosed with AIDS in December, 1984. A hemophiliac, he had contracted HIV from a blood transfusion.
The HIV retrovirus had been isolated in May, 1984. The scientific community was aware of certain aspects of HIV, amongst which were its fragility outside the body of a host, and its susceptibility to bleach. From all that I have read, Ryan White was a good kid. From all I have read, he was not a “biter,” or prone to other antisocial behavior such as to increase risks of passing HIV to other kids. He wanted to go to school. People of the school district wanted Ryan White out. Fortunately a high school in Hamilton County accepted him with open arms.
What are the Hoosier values operant here? Are they values based on suspicion, fear, and ignorance that caused people to chase a young man—who only wanted to go to school—out of a community? Or are they the values of tolerance and acceptance that were at work in Hamilton County? Or was the “average” Hoosier someplace in-between—Tipton?

marksmall2001 said...

There are many other Hoosiers whom you might not think of as holding Hoosier values.
A famous iconoclast and brilliant author was Kurt Vonnegut (Indianapolis). God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, as I recall, largely took place in Indiana. Many of his characters were Hoosiers. Dan Wakefield (Indianapolis) also has had best-sellers.
Is Steve Kroft a bit left-of-center? If 60 Minutes is what your crowd parrots as lame-stream media, I would think he qualifies. How about David Letterman (Indianapolis)? His humor seems more rooted in the left than the other side. Jane Pauley (Indianapolis) married—gasp—the author of the comic strip Doonesbury, as left-wing a piece of work as most folks encounter.
Tavis Smiley also is from Kokomo. He is brilliant, although you probably do not think so.
Carole Lombard (Fort Wayne) was a brilliant, and bawdy, comedienne/actress. Sydney Pollack (Lafayette) was a bit of a lefty film director. Twyla Tharp has been revolutionary in her concepts of modern dance.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.
Did I mention Strother Martin? He also is from Kokomo. He had that famous line from “Cool Hand Luke.”
The values I have described—right and wrong, left and right, up and down, back and forth—have developed over our history. There is no individual set of values one may label as “Hoosier” anymore than there is an “average Hoosier.” Your views on the matter are simplistic. I would not suggest you leave the State of Indiana if you are unable to handle these complexities. I would suggest you go to school, if the people of your values have not already succeeded in eliminating education in the area in which you live.

David Ditton said...

Wow...I think I pushed a button...

Mark (and others), I have scanned your comments, and need some time to digest the vast wealth of information. Please be patient, but be assured that I will respond.

marksmall2001 said...

I look forward to reading your response.

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