How Politicians Deliberately Confuse Voters
An op-ed story that never ran and should haveJune 3, 2014 By Denny Hatch
I vote in every election when I can. As a registered Independent, I cannot vote in party primaries, but I can vote "Yes" or "No" on Charter amendment questions.
Not this time.
Three questions were on the ballot. I found them so incomprehensible—and I got so pissed off—I banged out an op-ed piece for the Inquirer.
It relates directly to my new book, Write Everything Right! and a quote by the great New York editor, Arthur Brisbane (1864-1936): "Good writing is easier to read than to skip."
I scoured the Inquirer website looking for the address of the op-ed or "letters to the editor" person.
I emailed the piece to a writer I know on the paper and asked him to 1) forward this to the right person or 2) give me the email address so I can send it off.
Never heard back.
Here's the piece that never ran and damn well should have.
Philadelphia Politicians Practicing Discrimination Against All Voters
About the March 20, 2014 Ballot
It is impossible to make an informed decision regarding the three questions on the March 20, 2014 ballot.
To do so, a voter needs a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in English and a J.D. (Juris Doctor—law degree). No kidding.
Quick Backgrounder on U.S. Literacy
• 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their children
• 50 percent of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level
• 45 million are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level —National Institute for Literacy, National Center for Adult Literacy, The Literacy Company, U.S. Census Bureau
• "Nearly half of all Americans read so poorly that they cannot find a single piece of information when reading a short publication." —UNESCO, Institute for Statistics
Quick Backgrounder on Sentence length
Tests have shown that a sentence of eight words is very easy to read; of 11 words, easy; of 14 words, fairly easy; of 17 words, standard; of 21 words, fairly difficult; of 25 words, difficult; of 29 or more words, very difficult; so this sentence with 54 words, counting numbers, is ranked impossible. —Fairfax, Virginia Times