A Word About Votes



The 2020 presidential race has come and gone.  On 03Nov20 millions of citizens made their choice for the leader of our government for the next four years.  This year, more of us participated in the election than usual.  Which means there were more ballots to collect than usual.  At the same time, the Coronavirus complicates the process of determining the outcome of the race.  For each state has their own methods, and procedures, for collecting votes. As well as ways to verify the validity of those votes.  Along with the accuracy of the count.  All of which requires time; to make sure the tally is free of errors.

This year, however, many of us are unwilling to wait for the resolution of a full vote count.  Some of us have openly called for an end to counting votes, even though the process was not complete.  Which shows how intensely some of us want to win.  Along with the fear that the win they want isn’t coming.  Even though ‘not counting votes’ flies in the face of what our democracy stands for.  It also contradicts what we say we believe in.  But reveals that what many of us really believe in, is  ‘getting our way’.  When democracy helps us get what we want; we believe in democracy.  When that does not work to our advantage, some of us are willing to try other means.

If we make that choice we undermine the effectiveness of our democracy on more than one level.  For we act in ways that are out of step with the rest of society.  One of the ways we do this is to deny other people’s voices.  So when you can deny some of us a vote, you silence us.  And control who contributes to society’s direction.  As well as what benefits it will enjoy.  Which works well enough for those whose votes count.  But leaves the rest of us with fewer options to reach our goals.  And less opportunity to voice our needs.  But when we prevent some of us from voting, we put everyone’s right to vote at risk.

Which is clear from the past election.  For when we attempt to bar or restrict certain groups of voters; we also block groups of people who may favor our cause.  As we can’t tell whether or not a ballot strengthens our position until we count it.  Even then we only know the choice that ballot makes.  We can’t determine the intent behind that choice.  As the voter’s decision may reflect any number criteria or standards.  Whether those standards are physical, intellectual, or emotional.  Or simply the result of a gut feeling.  Which is why it is a futile exercise to try to assign motives to the way people vote.  Because we can but guess at what others are thinking.  Though we often act as if we know.

But votes are not value judgements.  They are choices; decisions we make for or against some idea, person, or thing.  Votes are not statements of merit about a voter’s worth as a human being.  Nor are they reflections of whether the voter is good or evil.  A vote does not define our existence for all time.  A vote only states our position on a given choice or decision; at a given time.  Which may, or may, not reveal the intent behind our choice.  Yet when we assume that our fellow citizens have ill will or bad intent, we damage social trust.  As well as communal unity.  It creates a barrier to communicating with the people we disagree with; to resolve issues.  This rancor disenfranchises some of us, who continue to be frustrated by barriers we face.

If circumstances can allow some of us to be disenfranchised; it is possible that others of us will be disenfranchised when circumstances change.  As they will.  In order for our society to work there must be compromise.  Limited time, and resources make it necessary that choices are made.  Since there are too many people for anything else to work.  So votes are important, because they give each of us a chance to express our wishes.  For compromise opens the possibility that some of our wishes will prevail; and we will get what we want.  But when we aren’t allowed an opportunity to express what we need; we have no vote.  When we have no vote, we have little reason to be a part of society or further its’ goals.

We cannot afford to have a divided society.  It wastes resources, opportunity, and human potential.  Which is even more critical, while the virus threatens many lives.  We need to use our votes as a tool to build a society that benefits each one of us.  We can begin by understanding that our neighbor is not our enemy.  Just another person who wants to live.  The same as we do.  They are also a potential ally.  If we take the time to hear their needs, and consider what common objectives we both share.  And by appreciating the fact that our real strength flourishes when we work together.  Whatever the goal.

The only thing we need to do to build a better society is accept the fact that all people have worth.  All people have potential.  And we all, each one, belong here.  None of us asked to be born, yet here we all are.  We believe that there are no unnecessary people; so our voices should be heard.

You can find more posts at our Reading Library.

Respectfully Yours,

J. A. Stubbs, Editor-In-Chief

Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc