Let me just state plainly my problem with Sunday's election opinion section in The Tennessean.
It is unacceptable that there were only two female writers in this section in the physical paper and three online and that two of those three female writers were 8th graders. It is unacceptable that the only people of color whose opinions are provided are 8th graders.
It doesn't matter if it's intentional or not. Setting up a situation where grown-up powerful white men who are or used to be politicians or who have advanced degrees are put alongside females and people of color who are literally children gives the impression that the opinions of adult women and adult people of color must simply not be any more sophisticated or valuable than those of children, since it wasn't worth The Tennessean's effort to make sure those adult voices were included. Like I said, that's just unacceptable.
But the part that puts this oversight into "laugh-to-keep-from-crying" territory is the unsigned editorial that accompanies all these thinkpieces. Here's the best/worst part:
In fact, in several states, proponents of top-down government are doing their best to keep certain groups of people from voting. They are counting on much of the electorate losing hope and staying home on Election Day.
It'd be hard to get more cowardly than these two sentences. The Tennessean won't specify which states (possibly because they don't want to make people angry by pointing the finger up the street), doesn't say who these proponents are (possibly because it'd mean admitting they're in the same party headed up by the man the paper endorsed for president), and doesn't name the certain groups of people being kept from voting.
Here's the punchline, Nashville. The people in those certain groups? The ones The Tennessean is so afraid will feel disenfranchised and not vote?
Those are people in the very same groups The Tennessean uses children to represent.
Don't get me wrong. I agree that more people should participate in or at least pay closer attention to politics. But if The Tennessean can't specify the groups of people affected by Republican-lead efforts to make it more difficult to vote and can't be bothered to include the opinions of eligible voters in those groups in their election coverage, then maybe The Tennessean shouldn't be so high and mighty about how other people need to do more to be a political presence. After all, The Tennessean knows they exist; the paper just won't make a real effort to make sure they aren't rendered invisible.
The Tennessean would be wise to take Bo Diddley's advice and, before they accuse us, take a look at themselves.