(Stephen Allott) – This seemingly endless election cycle is finally behind us. Of course, the pundits, experts, and analysts will spend the next several weeks and months debating the turning points in the campaigns, the missteps, the strategies, the debates, the negative tone and every other aspect of our quadrennial event.
There will be the much discussion about voter fraud, voter disenfranchisement, and faulty ballot machines. The debate over the need to abolish the Electoral College will again rear its ugly head as it does after every presidential election cycle.
Nonetheless, the voters will be pleased that their mailboxes will no longer be stuffed to capacity with election flier literature. They will be elated to no longer have their meal times interrupted with robocalls. They will be thrilled to turn on their television sets and not be repulsed by the highly negative tone of the never-ending slew of political commercials which, more often than not, advanced arguments to not vote for a candidate or proposition.
But, more than anything, hopefully the American public will be thankful for the election – as well we should.
It is true that the electoral process may sometimes appear distasteful. It is also true, that while half the country will be jubilant with the outcome, virtually the same number will be disappointed, and maybe even angry. Unfortunately, it is the price of a polarized nation.
However, we must not lose sight of the larger picture and must keep the election in perspective. America is a country where free elections are still held. We have the freedom of choice as to whether to participate or not. It is a freedom that sadly is not afforded in many countries across the globe.
Neighboring Cuba is one of no fewer than 20 dictatorships in the world. There are a further 60 ‘pseudo democracies’ in the world – i.e. countries which purport to have a democratic system, yet the government does not permit free elections.
On the other side of the coin, there are countries where voting in elections is mandated by law.
Whilst it is highly desirable that everyone takes part, we must respect those in America who choose not to be a part of the process. That too, is their right.
Sunday November 11th marks the official Veterans Day. It is the day carved out on the calendar every year to honor those who serve in the military and who have fought in the wars. Many of those who fought lost their lives and limbs that we may live in liberty, and that we may enjoy the right to vote.
As of the time of writing, a whopping 117 million voters exercised that right and cast their ballots in this presidential election, reminding us all that the power of shaping the destiny of our great country rests with the people.
Not only did millions cast their votes, but thousands of dedicated volunteers actively participated by devoting much of their time to candidates of their choice – walking precincts, manning phone banks, stuffing envelopes, organizing rallies, registering voters, and attending or holding fundraisers. Then there are the candidates themselves who were willing to make a commitment to public service.
For those who served in military combat and especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, it is apparent the sacrifice did not fall on deaf ears. The sacrifice was surely not in vain.
Through the actions of the American electorate on November 6, hopefully we made our veterans proud.