Tomorrow is election day and the world seems upside down. I think about the civil unrest that I have seen on TV over the last 47 years, and how I would think that I was so thankful that I lived in America where we have peaceful elections and transfers of power. I was born after the events of the 60s, and have lived during a time of relative peace in America. I wonder what those people around the world are thinking as they watch what is happening in the United States right now. I am a proud American, but I am also an uncomfortable American.
Right now each of us has a choice to be kind or be quiet. Our nation is built on a legacy of voting during difficult times, and built on a foundation of states determining the voting regulations that are right for the states people. For 244 years the power and authority of the state has been part of the foundation of our country. The citizens of that state vote for their representatives to represent the collective voice of the state. It really doesn’t matter if someone in Arizona doesn’t like the rules in Michigan or Pennsylvania. It only matters that the voters in that state have the power to elect the representatives that act as their voice in determining what is best for their state. There are not blue states or red states, there are American states that have the power to choose their representation. Each elected official was chosen through the majority voice of the people. This is something we must stop and remember. The power is to the people.
My vote is no more important then your vote. Your vote is no more important then mine. Each of us will vote in our state, and the collective voice of our individual states voters will decide who our state will cast their electoral votes for. No matter how you feel about the electoral college that is the current law of the land, and that is the law that we will abide by in 2020.
Americans voted during the Spanish Flu and they were required to wear masks when they cast their ballots. Women were still not yet allowed to vote, and while voter turn out was low during the Spanish Flu the results were legal and America moved forward. In 1944 the Federal Government passed laws ensuring that millions of soldiers fighting in WWII could cast absentee ballots, however the Federal Government was simply following the lead of state governments. In 1864 the presidential election was being held during the Civil War. States, some but not all, began sending commissioners to the battle field to record the votes of those in uniform. Each state had a choice, and states decided differently. The federal government did not have authority over what each state decided.
Early and mail in ballots are a focus of 2020, however our country has a solid history for this type of voting. You will find significantly different statistics regarding mail in ballots depending on your news source. My 15 year old daughter recently pointed out to me what news sources were actually registered as news organizations, and what news sources are registered as entertainment providers. Social Media and the internet have given us all the opportunity to only read the point of view of those that align with what we want to hear. Each news source attacks news sources with different points of view. News sources create a close minded and censored or outright wrongful view of politicians and the political system.
Under the filter of social media some Americans have become cruel. People troll the pages of their opponents only to cause chaos, arguments, and discontent. Instead of discussing what a candidate will do for the country or why a candidate is aligned with your personal views, people attack their opposition with accusations of baby killing, unlawfulness, racism, and more. Some individuals do not care to know what their candidate stands for and represents, instead their views are carefully crafted based on the source of their information. Or they have a framed view that only one party or the other can be in power, and vote by ticket with complete disregard as to the candidate. Speaking with pride that they would never vote for a Republican or never vote for a Democrat.
How do we change the spiral of hate and distrust that 2020 has become? I say that change starts with each of us. Change starts by crafting messages based on mutual respect. Change starts when we ask each other targeted questions, and do not call names and assign labels. Change starts with challenging the young people, who are voting in record numbers where able, or are eagerly waiting until it’s their turn to vote. Challenge them to obtain news from the candidates directly. Challenge those around you to listen to what a candidate has to say about their views, and not what others have to say about the candidate. Challenge them to obtain information from multiple news sources. From sources not aligned to a party or a candidate but truly independent sources that are available, if perhaps not as main stream. Change starts by not engaging those that are not willing to change, those that you know vote party over person, and those that choose to breed hate and negativity. Change starts with me. Change starts with you.
WE THE PEOPLE are the only individuals with the power to save or destroy what has been built over the past 244 years. WE THE PEOPLE have the power to decide where America will be headed on November 4th, 2020. On election day half of the candidates will win, and half of the candidates will loose. Democrats will win elections and democrats will lose elections. Republicans will win elections and republicans will lose elections. I believe that we are a stronger country when our representatives are a mix of both parties, and inclusive of candidates that reflect the majority views of the nation. I cast my ballot for individuals in both parties. I want my leaders to be representative of my views, and I am an American first. Because I am an American, and I believe in our political system, I will respect the voice of the people. I will respect the voice of the people even if that voice wasn’t mine. I will not attempt to discredit results simply because they are not the results that I want. I will not attack those celebrating victory, or gloat to those facing defeat. When I walked into my polling place last week, and dropped my mail in ballot into the drop box, I can proudly say that my ballot was cast for people not parties. That my ballot contained votes for both Republicans and Democrats, and therefore tomorrow I will be in fact rooting for members of both political parties.