"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Unpopular Electoral College Vote

 It's 3 AM.  I'm awake.
I'm baffled.
I'm a poor study when it comes to government and politics.
I'll admit that freely.
But I do not understand how these election results evolve.

I was watching the whole drama unfold on TV:
the red states, the blue states,
the numbers, the percentages,
the popular vote and the Electoral College votes.
There were still states in the west who were colored gray
since results weren't yet in,
the time change making their polls still open
hours after the east coast had closed.

I thought of my son-in-law in Fairbanks, Alaska.
He had worked all day outdoors, in bitter temperatures of minus 20 degrees,
thawing wells before he could test them.
Yet he still committed to stopping by the polls before coming
home to thaw out his own body.
But, before he could even have a chance to vote,
the media was announcing a winner!
Obama  had gained enough electoral votes,
the coveted 270, to claim the victory!

Good for Obama.  One man was to be the winner.
But to announce such news before ALL states were accounted for--
now that bothers me.
I am just an idealist.  
I like to believe that all votes count.
Right down to the last person in the whole USA.
The final absentee ballot.
The lights-in-the-gym-turned-out-and-door-locked last.

But I am disappointingly aware that it doesn't matter.
What matters is that number of electoral votes.
Once Ohio's 18 arrived, the number reached, it was over.
Though thoughtful and concerned citizens were still making their
choices known, it was over.

The end result would not have changed.
I get it.
Barack Obama is our next president.
God bless him.
That's not the point.
My dilemma is: does that individual vote of each American count?
My conclusion: in some states, yes.
Especially CA, NY, TX, and PA--those with the most electoral votes.
Those 4 states total 141 alone.
And most states have a die-hard, dogmatic pattern of voting Democratic or Republican
and would have the slimmest chance of ever switching.
(No matter how much campaign money was spent,
who the candidates were, or what issues were at stake.)
So be it.
But OBVIOUSLY, by the declaration of the media,
not every vote counts.

Why does this disillusion me?

I'm an old lady, I've seen lots of elections.
I've voted in lots of them.
I remember, as a babe, laughing at my very political Grandmother
as she marched around the house chanting, "We like Ike!"
Those may have been some of my first words.
They made me happy because she was happy.
She, who had come through Ellis Island as a young child,
hand held tightly by her father after leaving mother and siblings across
the sea in Italy.  She was the proudest American I ever knew.
Don't ever hint that her vote didn't count!
Why, she would stand tall-all 59 inches of her- 
and argue you under the table!

Today I am not happy.  I have my doubts, Grandmother.
I am distressed.
I want my America to be about individual people, like you.
Not political blocks.  Not political parties.
Not Electoral College quotas.
"We the people..."
 "All men are created equal..."
Can't we just wait until each vote is counted--
the first as well as the last?
My ignorance and naivete is showing. I know.
I should go back to blogging about sand and sunsets, you say?
That I will do.
if anyone reading this has wisdom or insight to share,
it is most welcome.

1 comment:

  1. I would have to agree that decisions shouldn't be announced and totals not made public until all Americans in all time zones have cast their vote. It is only right to feel as though your vote matters and it worth taking the time to cast. I didn't know this announcement came before Alaska's polls closed... I am sorry to hear that.