voting, American style

The turnout on election day for midterm voting was unusually large–which appears to have favored Republican candidates.  Since then we’ve all been talking about what happened–whether we’re happy about it or disappointed, what should have been done or shouldn’t, and what it means for the next 2 or 4 years.  But in the midst of your political analysis, have you thought about something that’s remarkable?  

When Betty and I walked in the door of the township building to cast our votes, dead ahead was an armed constable listening to a conversation between a “watcher” and a voter.  His presence was the only hint anyone could have had that there might be anything other than a peaceful transition of power.

On Sunday citizens of the West African nation of Guinea got to vote for a president for the first time ever.  Former prime minister Diallo ran against opposition leader Alpha Conde but they’re still trying to sort out who won.  Pre-election violence left 3 dead and it appears that both sides engaged in strong arm tactics to force opponent’s supporters from their homes.  Charges say as many as 20,000 voters were urged to flee or they would be killed.  The effect was to put them far from their polling places on election day so they couldn’t vote.

Voting history in the USA is hardly pristine.  Despite the lofty language of our Declaration of Independence, there has always been a back seat and a front seat.  Women and African-Americans had to fight to get their supposed “equal” right to vote; nor did it come easy for native Americans or Asian Pacific Americans.  But now we enjoy an election climate where the average American doesn’t expect opposition at the voting booth.  

Since my day off each week is Tuesday, election days are always laid back for me and I squeeze voting in among the other items on my to-do list.  It can fit it in before or after any errand or task, because I don’t have to plan to take a gun for defense, and I don’t have to avoid certain times that might be dangerous.  Both the voting and the subsequent transition of power–such as a shift in who controls congress, is pretty uneventful.  My fellow Americans, we have much to thank God for!