Last night, there was a minor disturbance in the political force when Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and bona fide member of the Kennedy clan, posted a picture of herself and former President George H.W. Bush on Facebook. The photo was captioned “The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!”
Now, there are all kinds of political implications to this. What does it mean when a former president abandons his party? Is this political or personal, since Trump was horrible to Bush’s son Jeb in the primary? Can Hillary use this to her advantage?
Then there’s this question that’s ringing in my mind: Did Ms. Townsend get consent to post that information?
No one in the Bush family has been willing to endorse anyone since Jeb left the race earlier this year. They’ve been conspicuously silent on the matter — as is their right as Americans. See, we have the guarantee of a secret ballot process in elections so that no one can be penalized for their voting choices.
Afraid your boss might hate your candidate? Worried your minister will shame you over your vote? Don’t wanna tell your crazy brother-in-law that you and he don't see eye to eye? Good news! You don't have to say a word! You can be as silent as the Sphinx about politics and avoid retaliation from all corners.
This is particularly relevant in the current election cycle because mob rule is in full effect among certain factions of Trump supporters. There are a lot of angry dickbags out there who are more than happy to threaten Hillary supporters on the internet or in person.
Does a 92-year-old former President, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather deserve to have swarms of trolls coming after him for his vote if he didn’t affirmatively consent to make his vote public? No. He does not.
Now, Bush was director of the CIA as well as having been President, and Townsend is a politician from a political family, so maybe they were both acting in full cooperation, knowing what this information means. But if not? Townsend owes Bush an apology for violating his right to a secret ballot.