Today, We the People engage in the sacred rite of electing those from among us who will temporarily take the reins of government on our behalf.
Their charge, should they win, is to defend the Constitution in whatever office they will occupy. The question of whether or not government of the people, by the people, and for the people will survive will rest partly in their hands.
Notice that I did not say that this question will rest entirely in their hands. It does not. We the People do not live in a dictatorship or a monarchy. We have the privilege and the responsibility of living in the world’s greatest democracy. That means, among other things, that our responsibilities as citizens do not end when we shove our ballot into the machine. It means that our responsibilities to our country begin with voting, rather than ending there.
The burning question of whether or not the Republican nominee for president will “accept” the outcome of the election has been cussed and discussed up and down this land for weeks now. It is a mark of the overall tawdriness of this campaign that such a question can be asked by serious people.
The wider question of whether or not We the People will accept the outcome has been hinted at, but, so far as I know, never addressed with more than tut-tut commentary. Let’s take a moment and consider it now.
I voted early this morning. It was an uplifting experience, primarily because of the large crowds I saw, including many people who were obviously voting for the first time in their lives. I was so proud of them as they wended their way through the line and thoughtfully read their ballots and cast their votes. They were polite, gentle and good people who deserve leadership from their elected officials that considers them and provides for their future.
Based on what I saw, this election will run up a huge turnout, and a lot of the people who will vote in it are folks who don’t go to the polls all that often, or who have never voted before in their lives. What that means is that, if the rest of the country reflects what I saw in my home precinct today, we are seeing a paradigm change in American electioneering, and not from the candidates, but from the voters themselves. It also means that the polls leading up to this election may be based on inaccurate sampling.
I don’t know who is going to win this election, but for someone who has spent much of her adult life dealing with elections, this process is fascinating. So, instead of biting my nails like a lot of other Americans are probably doing, I’m enjoying the intellectual process of analyzing what is happening and why it’s going that way.
We the People are choosing elected officials all up and down the ballot today. I even voted on several school bond issues. I’m in a different position than most people in that I know personally just about everyone on the ballot except the candidates at the top of the ticket who are running for president and vice president. That makes voting decisions easy for me, at least most of the time.
Of course, the election that brought out the crowd this morning was the one that dominates our thinking and has set us against one another for months now. We are choosing our next president. That is a noble enterprise, but this campaign and these candidates have not been noble at all. We’ve all been slimed by this campaign, and it’s going to take a while to get the goo washed out of our minds and hearts.
That’s a long lead up to what I’m really writing about, which is the question of how We the People are going to behave tomorrow. Unless this thing is some form of a repeat of 2000, we will be talking about either President Elect Hillary Clinton or President Elect Donald Trump. No matter which of them wins, half the people of this nation are going to be certain that evil has triumphed. There will be caterwauling and we-wuz-robbed carrying on up and down this land.
We the People have become so polarized and crazy that we routinely reject verifiable facts for thought salad internet gibberish when it conflicts with our political loyalties. I’ve heard some of the most stupid and outrageous nonsense coming out of the mouths of people who I know are intelligent and thoughtful under ordinary circumstances, and I knew from the glassy-eyed anger they were demonstrating that pointing out the massive illogic and fantastical nature of what they were saying would only get me hated and attacked. This, from people I’ve known and loved for decades; people I trust and respect.
This election has created an angry mob mentality that has bled over into our relationships with our family and friends. Absolutist thinking is just about the only thinking that’s being done. Everyone is committed to the notion that everyone else who disagrees with them is going to a fiery hell. We the People have lost our common sense in this election.
I think it’s time we reclaimed it.
No matter who wins today, I am going to accept the outcome of this election and move forward. That is the American way. It is what Americans do.
We’ve been hyped half crazy with Armageddon everything-is-riding-on-this talk to the point that a lot of people actually seem to think that there will be no other chances for our beliefs to prevail if they are not upheld by our boy or girl winning today.
There is a word for this. The word is nonsense.
This is all nonsense.
We live in America. If our candidate fails today, all we have to do is reload and try again next time. Everything that is done can be undone so far as whatever nothing Congress doesn’t do and whatever over-the-top legislating the Supreme Court does. In American government, there are a pa-zillion ways to skin any political cat.
But to exercise those options we’ve got to start using our thinking brains and stop lying to ourselves about reality. Confabulation and pretend will not save the life of one single baby. They will not stop one law legalizing euthanasia. They certainly will not prevent the economic destruction of the working class in this country or keep us out of wars. We need to engage with reality and stop listening to nut jobs and their various manipulative lies. That is the first step toward actually doing something that will save lives.
We need to begin the process tomorrow, by accepting the results of this election.
Then, no matter which of these candidates wins, we need to get our heads out of fantasyland and give some serious thought to how we can best help our country and advocate for what we believe.
I voted today, and it was an uplifting, inspiring experience to see so many of my fellow Americans, standing in line to do that which just about everyone else on this planet wishes they could do: Choose the next President of the United States.
If you haven’t voted, there’s time. Go do it.
If you have voted, be proud of yourself and our wonderful country.
And tomorrow morning, no matter who wins, accept our new president elect with civility and hope.