I have a feeling I am not the only one just a wee bit sick to my stomach today, Election Day. We are a nation evenly divided, with a choice between just two men, two vastly different men. Fear lives in my gut, because who wins today matters a great deal to me. I am not apathetic about our democratic process, like so many, but admit to feeling hopeless in the face of the politics of today. Clearly elections have the tendency to bring out the absolute worst in people. Politician is synonymous with liar because repeating lies ad infinitum will never make them true, yet our politicians do this. Persuasion overloads my mailbox; glossy yet serious literature, packaged for me by entities that bury their affiliations and title themselves innocuously …is there an American out there who doesn’t wish for prosperity or believe in our constitution? Understanding issues now requires each of us to do a fair amount of fact-checking (I hope). In the end, people vote their values—though I wish more people would actually vote.
I want to believe in the process, but become dubious when I learn that one of our candidates has a son who owns voting machines which just happen to reside in a major swing state. I become frustrated when legislation makes it possible for anyone with $101 million dollars to spend those dollars ensuring a candidate does not get re-elected. I am disgusted by the overt blatant efforts to disenfranchise specific voters, effectively silencing their voices. I suppose democracy always has been and always will be a messy, messy business. Someone please tell me again why we cannot get rid of the Electoral College once and for all? Why we cannot elect a President via the popular vote? It seems to me that the most democratic process is one where the playing field is level: one person = one vote (please check your dollars at the door). Overly simplistic I know, but the beauty is in the purity of it. Let the people decide, not some convoluted construct.
I wonder: If my guy doesn’t get the job, will I spend the next four years dwelling in angst? Like so many Americans have these past four? Democracy in America is the business of balancing the wants and needs of its 314 million citizens, with a whole lot of other factors thrown into the mix (like the needs and wants of the 6 ½ billion people we share an increasingly smaller planet with). Deciding who among us is most fit to manage the whole lot of it is messy and a whole lot of ugly…but that’s our system. If I don’t like it, if I don’t like my representatives, if I don’t like how the elected prioritize, I should do something to change it (a whole lot easier if I had 101 million dollars). Or, I could succumb to the belief that my vote does not matter, maybe then I wouldn’t have belly aches. Love it, hate it or endure it, I thank God I don’t have to live in a country that leaves me no choice at all.