Time Will Tell
We’re all in such a hurry. As technology has improved, every aspect of our lives seems to have speeded up. We drive faster, communicate faster, and grow up faster. Ask any teacher about their kids now compared to even 10 years ago. So it’s no surprise we expect to know last week’s election results instantly.
During the greater part of our country’s history, presidents weren’t inaugurated until March, more than four months after the election. It simply took that long to count votes and for the news [and officials] to travel to the capitol. Only in 1937 had transportation and communication improved to allow things to happen sooner. Often it would be weeks or even months before elections were decided.
Ironically, technology may be partly at fault for what’s taking so long this time around. Electronic voting machines were supposed to make voting and vote counting more efficient. Along the way, they also became more suspect: by removing the element of human error, they became open to human manipulation. Who would have thought paper ballots would become more trustworthy?
Last week’s elections have shown the country to be more divided than ever…and more evenly than ever in some places. Several elections will be decided by mere tenths of percentage points. Naturally the lawyers and talking heads will get involved, each claiming the other side is stealing votes. Fortunately the other side of technology is that there are far more witnesses to the process, making it far harder to get away with something shady. Never again can someone like LBJ steal a senate seat like he did in 1948. Look up the “Box 13 Scandal” sometime for fun reading.
However, once it becomes clear that an outcome has been reached, the loser must relent. Only someone who prefers divisiveness over unity keeps hammering at a lost cause. In 2000, Al Gore took the high road and conceded, even when he probably could have fought on. He took the high road, unlike several candidates we are watching now.
In the meantime, have patience. Turn off your phones, unplug the televisions, and just take a deep breath. Power shifts happen peaceably, unlike many so-called democracies in the world. And if your guy [or girl] didn’t win, hang in there. What makes this country special is no matter how close the election, we’ll have another. And another. And another.
Time Will Tell