Put the signs, the flags, and the hate away, it is finally time to make a decision; it is election day. Many of you have already voted by absentee ballot and early-voting, which is to be commended, but understand this, the lion’s share of votes will come today. Out of a population of 331 million citizens, less than half will vote in the 2020 election. Estimates show a record high 150 million citizens will vote. As I recently reported, the candidates will end up spending another record of $11 Billion in campaigning, thereby assuring the media continues to grow unabated. At this rate, the candidates are spending approximately $73 on each voter.
If you do not know who or what you are voting for, please do us all a favor and stay home. It means you have buried your head in the sand and do not know what is truly going on. Actually, there is no real excuse for not voting as it is your civic duty to do so. It is the least we can do to help this country work properly. Recently, I have heard Millennials complain their vote doesn’t matter and, as such, they will not vote. Interestingly, I hear members of Generation Z (the group following the Millennials) say just the opposite; this is the group who will be voting for the first time today.
One thing I find abhorrent is voter fraud. I have no patience for this. To those who claim, “All is fair in love and war,” get out, there is no place for such shenanigans. Consequently, it is also our duty as law-abiding citizens to report anything suspicious to the board of elections. In other words, when you vote, be on your toes and make sure your vote is properly counted.
Let me be perfectly clear on something, it is not up to me or someone else to tell you how to vote. It is up to your individual conscious; your intelligence, your morality, your sense of right and wrong. In other words, voting is not a game, it ultimately is an expression of your values. I know how I would like you to vote, but you must come to this conclusion on your own, and as I said, if you do not know what you are doing or are uncomfortable in answering such important questions, don’t vote. It is too important to take frivolously.
For those of you concerned about the Electoral College superseding the popular vote, understand this, the college was created to assure the interests of rural America are equally considered on the same level as urban America. If it wasn’t for the Electoral College, candidates would only pander to the interests of major cities and ignore everyone else. That is not an opinion, it is a fact. The Electoral College is one of the most brilliant inventions by our founding fathers.
Finally, to the winners and losers, be magnanimous in victory and cordial in defeat. Let’s compare this to another time. In the U.S. Senate race of 1855, Abraham Lincoln lost in Illinois to Lyman Trumbull. It was a tough race and even though Lincoln lost he was determined not to express any hard feelings over the matter. Instead, he surprised people by showing up at Trumbull’s victory party and offered him a smile and a warm handshake. Such magnanimity did not go unnoticed, nor was it forgotten. Trumbull and his confidants helped Lincoln in his bid for the Senate in 1858 and later on in his run for the presidency in 1860. The point is, instead of losing friends over a defeat, Lincoln actually made friends of his opponents.
I doubt Lincoln’s act of magnanimity would play in Peoria today. Instead we are more inclined to be more visceral in acknowledging defeat. This could be due to the adverse effects of today’s technology and our lagging socialization skills, or because of our incompatible ideologies. Nonetheless, imagine the effect if the losers of the elections would do as Lincoln and offer a sincere handshake of congratulations, in person. A simple act like a handshake could go a long way to repairing the divide in our country.
Some might argue Lincoln lived in a simpler time which was much less contentious than today. Really? I wonder if anyone remembers the viciousness of the Missouri Compromise and the other acts leading to the American Civil War, perhaps the darkest chapter of our history.
In his famous speech of 1858, Lincoln warned, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
Lincoln’s speech is as prophetic today as it was then. Interestingly, he seemed to understand the issue of the day posed a significant threat to the Constitution, which is also on the minds of a lot of people today. Even though his talk was well remembered, it wasn’t considered politically correct and may have cost him the Senate race (losing to Stephen Douglas). So, are we really any different than yesteryear? Hardly. If anything, we are chillingly similar.
Best of luck on election day. Vote with a clear head and a warm heart.
Oh, by the way, tomorrow you can start picking up all of those ghastly political signs around your neighborhood.
Keep the Faith!
P.S. – Also, I have a NEW book, “Before You Vote: Know How Your Government Works”, What American youth should know about government, available in Printed, PDF and eBook form. This is the perfect gift for youth!
Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Tim’s columns, see: timbryce.com
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Copyright © 2020 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.