Controversial George Will Column on Nonvoting

George Will:

The poet Carl Sandburg supposedly was asked by a young playwright to attend a rehearsal. Sandburg did but fell asleep. The playwright exclaimed, “How could you sleep when you knew I wanted your opinion?” Sandburg replied, “Sleep isan opinion.”

So is nonvoting. Remember this as the Obama administration mounts a drive to federalize voter registration, a step toward making voting mandatory.

Andrew Cohen:

There are so many things wrong with George Will’s latest column on voting that it’s hard to know where to begin. Actually, that’s not right. It’s easy to know where to begin. The very title of the piece, “Mountain out of a molehill,” is offensive to every American whose right to vote was jeopardized this past election cycle by Republican voter-suppression efforts.

Will’s piece is 14 paragraphs long and the only one that survives close scrutiny is the first, because it consists mostly of a quote from Carl Sandburg. The other 13 paragraphs render wholly unrecognizable both the voting-rights battles of 2012 and the national debate over how those battles ought to be resolved. Let’s take it one graph at a time.


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