"It is hard to say that something is legitimate when whole portions of the country can't vote and doesn't vote," ~Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., 30 January 2005
What if ... John Kerry had been George Washington, unanimously elected by his countrymen in 1789? John Kerry, true to his principles would have abdicated, because of the Illegitimacy of the election. Only one in fifteen of his countrymen was permitted to vote in the new republic.
The founding fathers had worried about the liberalization of suffrage laws. John Adams wrote: "It is dangerous to open so fruitful a source of controversy and altercation as would be opened by attempting to alter the qualifications of voters; there will be no end of it. New claims will arise: women will demand a vote; lads from twelve to twenty-one will think their rights not enough attended to; and every man who has not a farthing will demand an equal voice with any other in all acts of state."
When my mother was born, although voting rights had been expanded to some descendants of slaves, her own mother was not eligible to vote because she was a woman. Somehow our democracy has muddled through to the "perfection" of today. Thank God that John Kerry was not George Washington, as the "imperfect" fledgling Republic of 1789 would have been too illegitimate to bother with.