We are responding to the viewpoint expressed by James S. Smith and published in the Dec. 8 issue of Current in Carmel. It appears that Mr. Smith’s published letter to the editor entitled “Voices of ‘true taxpayers’ diluted in Carmel” in effect ignores the foundation of our democracy: The right of all citizens of age to vote freely for the candidate of one’s choice and to have that vote count. By the implication (of the letter) apartment dwellers in our community should not have the right to vote because they are not landowners.
One need only do a quick Google search and review the history of voting rights in America to realize the fallacy of this thinking. In 1789, the Constitution granted the states the power to set voting requirements, at which time the states generally limited the right to vote to property-owning or tax-paying white males. Over time, voting rights have evolved so that now all citizens at least 18 years of age, including non-whites, Native Americans, racial and language minorities, and yes, even women, have the right to vote free and clear of discriminatory roadblocks. In fact, over 60 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made it abundantly clear in a series of landmark decisions that tax payment and wealth requirements for voting are prohibited.
Mr. Smith’s letter also opposes diversity in Carmel. As history shows, the argument that if someone does not own land in Carmel his or her voice and their vote is less important, is wrong on many levels. All U.S. citizens’ votes are meant in practice to be counted, whether they own land or not, whether they are wealthy or poor. One person, one vote is the basis for redistricting, so that each of us have the opportunity to elect officials who are representative of our communities as a whole.
Mr. Smith next claimed a “more poignant topic — voters with little or no liability of property taxes tend to throw wisdom to the wind and want all kinds of freebies and other asinine programs that have bankrupted many major cities … (which) tend to be heavily Democrat.” “Asinine” and “freebies” were not specifically identified, but if he was referring to assistance programs that are designed to assist those in need, we do not find those programs “asinine” and would not call them “freebies.” We would call them essential programs in a civilized, moral society.
It is clear that for Mr. Smith, Carmel is no longer the “white-bread” community in which he chose to live. We hope that the attitude expressed by the author does not represent the majority of those residing in our community, regardless of whether they are landowners or apartment dwellers, rich or poor, Republicans or Democrats.
Alvin and Dee Dee Katzman, Carmel