Someone’s going to win, someone’s going to lose
As I write this column, the polls have not closed in any state. That’s because the Herald deadline requires that my writing be turned in on Tuesday the week of publication.
So as of this writing, I have no idea who won any of the 2020 general election races.
That’s OK. This column applies equally as well — maybe better — if it’s penned before the results are known.
My theme this week is that despite the deep, deep political divisions among Americans, the United States will be the United States after all the races are decided.
We will have to be led by whoever are declared the victors, regardless of how many days it takes to decide that question and regardless of whether it’s my candidates or your candidates.
It is our task — and for some of us it will be just that — to stay within the lines after the winner is declared, whether that be by the obvious numerical margin, or after the absentee ballots are finally tallied, or after (perish the thought) the courts have ruled.
Any intimidation of voters on or before Election Day should be promptly squelched, and violators prosecuted.
Anyone, foreign or domestic, who resorts to mischief with the voting system should be ferreted out and brought to justice.
Questions about the legitimacy of particular ballots should be solved promptly.
The longer a race remains undecided, the hotter the political temper of the country will rise.
But the races will eventually be decided, and winners will begin their elected terms.
At that point, let the campaigns begin for the next elections, two, four or six years down the road. The losers will be more than ready to seek electoral revenge for their losses. That’s politics in America.
And it’s also democracy.
Someone’s going to win and someone’s going to lose. Anyone willing to subject himself or herself to the tender mercies of the voters deserves respect, even if it’s given grudgingly.
It’s not up to me, or you, or Uncle George or Cousin Sophie down the street or across the country, to decide individually who should govern us. It’s up to all of us collectively. Majority rules in a democracy.
And that includes in the Electoral College — if we as a nation wanted to change that institution, we needed to do it before now. Together we have the power to do that, if enough of us decide to. Meanwhile it’s constitutional law.
We’re not a mob. We’re a constitutional democracy, and have been so for well over 200 years. We’re the oldest modern nation in the world, because we’ve been governing ourselves longer than anyone else still around.
So by the time you read this column, most of the winners will have been declared. Individually, we may or may not like the results. But they’re the results most of us, acting within the rules, chose.
Through the decades more Americans have been added to the body politic: non-property owners, non-whites, non-Christians, non-21-and-over citizens, non-men (also known as women).
Now this year it appears we’re going to vote in record numbers, maybe over 150 million of us. That’s still not high enough, but it’s a good start. It will be enough to show who won the support of most of us.
The rest of us need to take a deep breath, accept it and work within the system to try again next time.
No alternative is acceptable in our country, in our way of life.