Sorry to be tardy friends. Bit of trouble at the ranch, so to speak. The column is late, but the ideas are on time.
Everyone seems to be worrying about the wrong thing, including the President-elect. Some folks are worrying about the Russians. Did they come? Did they do anything? If they did anything what was it and did it matter? Put it off to the side for a bit.
The Electoral College. Lots of folks think its a piece of antiquity. One friend argued that it was a ploy to satisfy the plantation states. Some are horrified that it allows something other than the popular to decide the election. Others are horrified that the popular vote isn’t winner take all. (Where have they been for the last few hundred years?) Put it off to the side for a bit.
“Millions of people….” didn’t vote, couldn’t vote, voted but weren’t counted” in a massive case of what? Manipulation, fraud, collusion? Fixing an election in America is like taking the Titanic, giving it 50 steering wheels, and trying to turn it on a dime. No matter. Put that one to the side for a bit as well.
Then we have those that say that the US is the only democracy in the world that takes 2 1/2 years to elect a president. And? So? Tell the croupier to grab that one too and sweep it over to the side.
And the amounts of money an election costs and the impact that money may or may not have! Hrumph!! These are already over to the side. As soon as the croupier heard money the hook was out and grabbed the pot. (Sorry if the analogies are wrong. I have an allergy to losing money, so I know less than little about craps.)
So what should everybody be wringing their hands about? Here’s what. Less than half the registered voters eligible to vote in this election did so, that’s what. The chink in this system’s armor is that number. We take the most sacred of our rights and treat it like…the girl treats the boy who takes her for granted. She brushes him off and so do American’s brush of America when they don’t vote.
Could we have had a more electric election than this? When I think about it, I see Zero Mostel sweeping on to the stage in his toga to sing “Something for everyone….” from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Think about it. One party fielded 15 candidates. The other fielded two; the two beat each other up just as well as the 15 beat themselves up. Statements of “fact” were zipping around like Starship star fighters and most had the reality of there actually being Starship fighters. We had a billionaire who told us to trust him on how much he had, where he had it, if he paid taxes on it, and it he dropped alms in the boxes of the poor guys sitting on grates around Trump Towers no less any others. There was the possibility of making history by electing the first woman to hold the presidency. Two more disliked, untrusted characters have never stepped up to the plate no less in the same game. Walls were going up taxes were coming down.
I could go on for paragraphs, but the point is there truly was something for everyone. When you have an election that has appeals to so many different economic, political and ethnic groups, you’ve found yourself in the middle of the Mid-Way called to by multiple barkers, some to the side shows, some to the main attraction. You’d have to have been comatose not to have some or all of this stuff pull you towards the election booth. Or lazy. Or in some cases legitimately unable to find your polling place and get to it. The bottom line is when you don’t vote, you get what/who someone else voted for.
Voting is a simple process made difficult. It can be simpler and should be. There are reasons it is difficult and we will discuss them another time. I want to close though with a story of the most amazing election I ever witnessed. It was in Guatemala in the ’80’s.
Under mounting international pressure, the military junta that had ran, raped, and ruined this historical, beautiful nation decided it was time to let the people have their say. They didn’t make it especially easy. Literally thousands of indigenous people walked along treacherous paths out of the mountains to their polling places. Often they went days without food because well they didn’t have enough for the journey. They also knew gunman hired by the generals would be shooting at them. They knew that what little they had left behind in their quest to vote might not be there on their return. They wold be welcomed home by smoking timbers and piles of ashes.
In the cities bombs went off. Roads got jammed. Excessive measures were put in place that made lines so long they tested one’s physical strength no less patience. It was an act of personal warfare to fight the system. And people did it.
Would the soft, take what we have for granted citizens of these United States do it? I think not. It’s so much more fun to complain.