Believe me, I have other things to do right now.
I have to rehearse three public talks I’ll be giving to crowds of several hundred people this week. There’s a 2,000 word web article due for which I have so far composed only a title (which will probably change). We need to prep the house for a family Thanksgiving that may number as much as three out of four of our children and eight out of nine of our grandchildren, and I have travel plans to arrange for our return to Ecuador next month. There’s a printer problem I need to address, a Yoga class later this morning, people coming by to fix our blinds, and I haven’t touched a guitar or ukulele for over a week.
So there are plenty of things I should be doing. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to take some time to make an effort to encourage you to get out and vote tomorrow, November 6th.
Many of you, like Rita and I, have already voted. Early voting set new records this year all across America, which is encouraging. Over 30 million votes have already been cast, more than 1 million in our new state of Tennessee alone. Four of the states that have early voting have actually seen more people vote early than voted in the entire 2016 election for that state.
I don’t want to get into political sides here, since America is more divided than any time since the Civil War. Well, to be honest, I definitely want to get into it, but things have reached a point where lies are the new reality, and a disturbingly large percentage of people find comfort in believing the lies. Things are so bad, that I’m sure right now people on both sides of the divide are nodding their heads and saying to themselves, “Yes, the other side is all lies/fake news!”
Instead, here is what I want to point out.
In 2016, it is estimated there were 250,056,000 people of voting age in the US. Only 54.2% of those people voted.
If you look at the graphic above that shows how the votes went, of course the first thing that pops out is the winner did not have the most votes. In fact, of the 135,500,034 votes cast, only 46.5% of the voters chose the current President*. The majority of voters, 53.5% preferred someone else, with 48.6% voting for Clinton.
That means the current administration was put into office with the support of only 25.1% of the total electorate.
No matter which candidate you voted for, you should find that appalling. Even if your candidate is the winner, how can you be proud that only a quarter of the voting nation approved, while almost 75% wanted someone else – or worse, couldn’t be bothered to vote?
So please, I’m sure that you are just as busy or busier than I am. I know it may be a pain to possibly have to take time off of work and go stand in line at your polling place. But voting this year is more than your right as an American, it is your responsibility.
Right now our nation is poised at the fork of two very different paths. I don’t know which one we will choose, but it is critical to our future as a Democracy that whichever path we take, it is the one selected by a clear majority of eligible voters. And whatever that majority decide, the minority must concede that the people have spoken.
And that only works if we have record-breaking voter participation.
It is up to you, Voting America. Your vote counts, even if you are in a state with races where one candidate is a shoe-in, or your candidate doesn’t have a chance. Let your vote be counted, so we can face the future as a united country, and not dissolve into a bitter, bickering morass.
If you are not sure of where to vote, you will find below a link to 411Vote, which will tell you where to go. Bring your voter ID if you have one, and a drivers license, passport, or any other identification you may have, just in case.
Okay, time to get off my soapbox and back to work!