It’s been a great month for democracy.
Not because Joe Biden won, although I am happy about that. It’s been a great month for democracy because the citizens of the United States of America proved yet again that we recognize, and cherish, this beautiful system of government we have built. We cherish the right of every American – every American – to participate in the process of choosing our leaders.
Countries age, and systems age. Sometimes its possible to wonder if our democracy has gotten old and tired, or we have gotten tired of doing the things we need to do to maintain it. If we’ve lost sight of the fact that what’s special about our country isn’t person leading it at any moment, but instead our right to choose that person. If we’ve forgotten that what’s special about the United States is the right of every American to have a say in who leads our country.
Sometimes its possible to wonder if our institutions are failing us, or possibly that we have failed them. To wonder if our institutions are still up to the needs of our democracy, if they still have the ability to ensure every American has their chance participate in choosing our leaders. Sometimes it’s possible to wonder if we’ve become complacent about protecting our democracy against foreign threats, against dictatorships that want to tear us down to justify not giving their own citizens the right to vote.
Sometimes it’s possible to wonder if the modern world is just too overwhelming for something as civil as democracy to survive. If the torrent of information and anger can drown out people’s voices, even make Americans doubt democracy, doubt that every American is qualified to help pick our leaders. Sometimes it’s just possible to wonder about the future of the United States, and this grand experiment we are part of.
But not this month. This is one of those months that reaffirms our faith in our Constitution, our system of laws. That reaffirms our faith in our democracy. 161 million Americans voted in in this presidential election, the most ever. The two candidates to receive the most votes in US history are Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The percentage of our population voting was the highest it’s been in 120 years. 161 million Americans proved yet again just how much they value our rights. Their rights. That is a great month for democracy.
And our institutions, for all of the questions and concerns, made those 161 million votes possible. It was a smooth, well-run election. Every American was given their chance to participate in choosing our leaders. Our institutions not only held, they excelled. Why? Because the Secretaries of State and staff that oversee our elections recognize how precious our democracy is, and their sacred obligation to their fellow citizens and our Constitution. That is a great month for democracy.
And it turns out the people in our government did take the foreign threats seriously. It turns out they were just as furious as the rest of us that foreign governments were mucking around in our business. And they did something about it. This was one of our most secure elections ever. That is a great month for democracy.
And for all of the anger, for all of the intensity, democracy worked yet again. We made it work again. We as a country peacefully, civilly, chose the person that is going to be our leader for the next four years. Just like we have every four years since 1788. That is a great month for democracy.
We should all feel a little better about our country. We should all feel a little better about our fellow citizens, even those on the other side, that kept our grand experiment going.
God Bless America.
We're In This Together
Sometimes it seems as if "Conversation" has become a bad word in our country, as if talking to someone not in complete agreement with you is a sign of weakness. Sometimes it seems as if Anger is the only energizing force we allow ourselves. I believe in a different America. An America where two people can disagree but still respect the basic humanity of the other person. An America where it is possible to disagree without hate, to talk without shouting. I believe, even still, in the ideal of the United States of America, a democracy where each person has the right to pursue their own life, and have their own opinion. If our country is less great than it once was, it is because we have slipped away from this idea, this belief that all men and women have the right to choose the course of their own lives, and their own opinions. It is both the left and the right that have slipped away from this idea, allowed their anger to somehow convince themselves to question the humanity of the other side. Sometimes it seems that fighting anger with reason is impossible. But if history has proven anything, it is that reason does always eventually win. This blog is my effort to again have a conversation, to replace anger with reason. I hope you will join me in a conversation, and together we can recapture the faith in our country and our citizens that made America great.