I was saddened after reading the recent Commentary in the May 2020 issue.
However one feels about affirmative action, no reader comes away having a better understanding of the issues or policy choices after reading the column. Instead the reader is bombarded with legislative jargon, lots of strung together aggrandizing sentences and quotes, including a quotation by Edmund Burke and some obscure comment from some unnamed “college student” in the Dartmouth Review. Honestly it’s not clear how Burke’s statement about “justice” applies towards having an understanding of affirmative action, except as a sophistic embellishment that the vague premise is supported by one of the great legal scholars in history. I guess. Burke said so, so that’s that.
Okay fine, but then we are told the absentee ballots are bunk because the author culls some statement Jimmy Carter made from a 2005 Commission, which we are assured is legit because? Because Carter is not a Republican or a “bone spurs” President? Really? Oregon and Washington State have been doing absentee ballots for years without problems. And why not source more recent bodies of research other than a politically appointed Commission in 2005 or some random quote from a politician who wrote something in the Wall Street Journal. You don’t stir the pot of research with a toothpick.
How about recent studies by the Brennan Center, or MIT? Why did you also contemporaneously ignore the largest study to date on vote-by-mail — written about in the 16 April 2020 Washington Post? That study was done by Daniel M. Thompson, Jennifer Wu, Jesse Yoder, and Andrew B. Hall from Stanford University with the conclusion that there was no partisan advantage.
You are a Californian. You know about Stanford University. How come you gotta reach way back to the Bush administration and use some random politician’s quote to contrive a slanted argument?
Richmond district resident
Native of San Francisco
Categories: letter to the editor