The PJ Tatler

At SOTU, 102 Year-Old Woman to be Poster Child for Voting Problems

I would strongly suggest that you refrain from eating anything sugary prior to the State of the Union speech tonight. If you fail to heed this warning, you will almost certainly overdose on the sappy, exploitative, weepy, saccharine scenes of staged advocacy for one of several Obama agenda items for his second term.

No less than 20 victims of gun violence will be in the gallery, according to USA Today, guests of various gun control advocates in Congress. While I sympathize and feel badly for their tragedy, I have nothing but contempt for those who allow themselves to be used and manipulated for political purposes. It is obscene in a democracy for politicians to use tragedy as a political wedge to advance legislation. To inject emotionalism into a debate by appealing to our feelings of pity for victims runs counter to the idea of good governance and wise legislating.

Nothing being proposed by the president or Democrats will prevent another tragedy similar to the ones experienced by these victims. But the emotional argument they are advancing by parading these poor unfortunates before the cameras makes it appear that it will.

We can expect another moment of pathos when a 102 year-old woman who experienced problems when trying to vote early in Florida last October is acknowledged by the president as an example of difficulties in voting.


A determined Florida centenarian who had to make two trips and wait several hours to vote for President Barack Obama last fall will sit with first lady Michelle Obama during Tuesday’s State of the Union. Her resolve became a symbol of early voting obstacles in the presidential election.

Desiline Victor, 102, of Miami, endured a weather-delayed flight to Washington on Monday in order to get to town for Obama’s address. She will be among the guests seated with Mrs. Obama, an opportunity she called “a beautiful thing.”

In October Victor went to the polls on the first Sunday of early voting in Florida. That day, she had to make two visits to her voting precinct, and waited three hours on the first attempt, in order to cast her vote for Obama.

Her determination, despite the physical strain, inspired others to remain and endure up to six-hour waits.

“She just wants everyone to know she wants everyone to vote,” said Victor’s nephew, Mathieu Pierre-Louis, who translated her words from Creole. Her vote, she said through her nephew, is special. She said she loves Obama and will tell him so if she gets the chance.

A farmworker from Haiti, Victor was born in 1910. She arrived in the U.S. in 1989 and was naturalized in 2005. She first voted in the 2008 presidential election and cast her ballot for Obama.

A slew of states, including Victor’s home state of Florida, implemented new voting restrictions in the two years after Obama’s historic first election, in which black and Hispanic turnout reached record highs. The laws reduced early voting days, instituted rules requiring voters to show accepted forms of photo identification and curtailed some voter registration activities.

The subtext at work here — and there is always subtext when appealing to emotions — is that all of this is the GOP’s fault and that their goal is to prevent minorities from voting. One should point out that the responsibility for having enough polling stations open belongs to the local jurisdiction — in this case, Miami-Dade, one of the heaviest Democratic enclaves in the state. One has to admire Mrs. Victor’s pluck in waiting so long to cast her ballot but perhaps she should speak to the local Democratic party about the problem and not try and make a national issue out of a local concern.

For people who don’t believe voter fraud exists — and that includes the President of the United States — it’s easy to use a little old lady to bash their opponents. Mrs. Victor is just one more prop in an endless stream of theatrics being used by Democrats at the State of the Union to marginalize their opponents and discredit their views.