It is Election Day, and I am very sad.
A CNN headline explains why: “Officials brace for lines and lawsuits as the polls open on Election Day.”
I am old enough to remember when we greeted Election Day as a real holiday – a joyous celebration of a free and open balloting to choose our countries leaders.
Opposing candidates disagreed on the issues – often strongly – but the personal attacks, insults and accusations of criminal behavior were not part of the tableau.
I am beyond distressed by the news clips of people standing outside in frigid weather waiting hours to cast their ballots Why? Voting is both a right and great privilege of American citizenship. Our country owes all of its citizens sufficient polling places with sufficient staff to ensure that no one must wait an inordinate amount of time to vote.
In all my 53 years of voting – wherever I have lived – I never waited more than 15 minutes to vote. Every American citizen should be able to say the same thing. There is no reason that I should have that privilege just because I have always lived in “nice” neighborhoods.
Counting the ballots
Even in the pre computer days of Paleozoic technology, people voted, the ballots were tabulated and by the next morning at the latest, we knew who had won.
I am sure almost all of us either remember or have seen in history books the early headlines proclaiming Dewey the victor over Truman in the 1948 election. But by the next day, all was sorted out.
This year we will wait days, perhaps even weeks to have final results, and the entire process will be marked by cries of fraud.
Unless the victory of one of the candidates is completely overwhelming, accusations of a crooked election will cast a pall over the entire process
Never in my life have I heard an incumbent temporize when asked if he would accept the results of the election.
I can imagine the anguish Barack Obama must have felt when after losing the popular ballot by more than 3 million votes, the Electoral College tally made Donald Trump the winner of the 2016 election.
And yet with the grace and class that marked his eight years in the White House, Mr. Obama did all one could ask and more to graciously turn over the reins of power.
Unlike many, I do not call for the abolition of the Electoral College, but I do call for fair and equitable access to our countries sacred right and privilege to vote.
No matter what the outcome of today’s vote, we must continue to work hard to promote the ideals in which we believe and preserve the rights that we see threatened.
Unlike many, I do not see the end of American democracy hinging on what happens today. But I do see how much is broken and needs fixing in our country. No matter what, we dare not despair.
But still …
It is election day and I am very sad.