America is a mix of events and emotions and values
What does America mean to you? I’m referring, of course, to the United States of America. This country with all of its diversity and chaos and strife and the anxious tears caused by loss and bewilderment and fears – so many fears.
We shape America with our votes
In five weeks, we’ll have cast our ballots in the general election. We’ll pick a president along with the down ballot contenders for federal and state congressional seats along with local positions. We will pick those we think and feel will do the job of representing us the best.
But who are we? What do we want? When all the votes are in and the new picture of leadership emerges, what will America look like from a political and governing perspective? Will we be satisfied, frustrated, or will we be ever more hopeful?
Our values form America
The October issue of Reader’s Digest has a short article by Bruce Kelley, the Editor-In-Chief. He tells of a recent study they conducted in partnership with the nonpartisan group More in Common. Here are just three of the conclusions the study found, as reported by Kelley and agreed to by 94% of the respondents:
- We need to treat each other with respect.
- Our system of justice should treat everyone equally.
- We should be Americans first, before being Democrats, Republicans, or Independents.
These are impressive points of unity, values the large majority of us ascribe to. These values should be reflected in how we vote and how we act towards each other. That’s a two-part expectation that lies ahead, a two-part requirement for the future of America.
First, we must vote. Some of you may already have done so. If you’re voting by mail in this election, be sure to do so early. If you’re going to stand in line, be sure you’re prepared to stand in line for a period of time.
America calls us to do more than vote
The second step is actually more demanding. It simply means that if we are to effectively take our place in America, we must, as the list above indicates: 1) respect each other, 2) call for equal justice, 3) remember we are Americans first – we need each other.
America is being tested. The acrimony in Washington, D.C. is devastating. Beyond the animosities and the differences of opinion, we are witness to political maneuverings that may only achieve a further tearing apart of America.
If two teams cannot agree on the rules, they cannot play the game. Similarly, if Republicans and Democrats cannot agree to be bound by the same principles and norms, they cannot effectively govern a country. Or even be a country. That’s the threat this behavior poses.
David French in the Time Magazine, commented on how America must come together in his article, Is America Coming Apart?
My proposition is simple: In an atmosphere of increasing negative polarization and geographic separation, we can no longer take our nation for granted. We must intentionally care for the state of our union.
How does a nation deal with competing factions? Not through oppression and not through uniformity but rather through pluralism–by letting many different political flowers bloom. A broad diversity of interests and groups helps prevent any interest or group from attaining dangerous dominance.
The three values emerge again: Respect, Equal Justice, Needing Each Other.
What America will we find after the election?
The promise seems to be: it’ll get worse before it gets better. That’s not a great comfort. What we see and what we hear and what we read in the news should remind us that this notion of America, is particularly up to us. We make America what it is. Our values and our expectations and desires make America what it is and, when all of that comes together, the new America is what we’ll find.
The push and shove that will include all of us will go back to those three values mentioned above. The key question that emerges from the three values, in my opinion, is how inclusive can we be? How inclusive can America be?
America should enjoy more inclusive presidential elections
Many want and demand and expect inclusivity in the presidential election. The popular voting should matter! It seems (emphasis on seems) that the Electoral College prevents us from realizing full inclusivity. It seems that the Electoral College disenfranchises voters, silencing them, pushing them away. Our America will stumble forward but what will we find when the voting ends?
We attach a restriction onto the Electoral College. We add a Winner-Takes-All (WTA) encumbrance that causes vote suppression. As you watch the Electoral College map display its red and blue colors, will you recognize that those colors hide voters that wanted to participate, that wanted to have their votes matter, that wanted to contribute to a different America?
Equal Voice Voting (EVV) erases WTA from the process and makes all votes matter! If we truly respect each other and if we desire equal justice and if we’re truly Americans before we’re political party adherents, then we must also want more from our presidential elections.
Americans will have more work to do after the election
After the election and after all the votes are tallied and winners and losers are identified, Americans still have work to do. If your choice won or lost, you’re challenged to bridge the gap between you and the other side. That respect thing still requires our adherence. Voting is easy. Exercising respect with others who think and feel differently is hard – very hard. True democracy is hard.
The America I hope to see is the one that exercises respect so we can build our future together. Politics may get worse before they get better, but respect can bring us together. Respect can restore the America we want to see.
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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team