Most people who have an opinion on democracy have never lived outside the U.S. to appreciate the freedom we have. I have lived in countries with harsh dictators that ruled their country with an iron fist, and I have lived in countries with a ruling class. All in all I have either lived or had a long term visit in 11 different countries. That isn’t really that impressive, but it’s 10 more than most people.
Anyway, as the presidential elections heat up, as Hollywood stars and musicians heat up and use their stage and sphere of influence, as the networks and media heat up to give about a 80/20 split to the Democrat/Republican canidates, and as people begin (like me) to let their opinions be known… it makes me continue to wonder that one of the core values of our country, democracy, is beginning to reveal it’s great weakness.
It’s like a crack in the sidewalk. It’s no big deal, but over time the crack grows longer, wider, and deeper. Soon, the pavement is uneven and is a hazard.
I think the 232 years of this country’s democracy is a showing a big, long, wide, deep crack. Still, one of the best nations on earth to live in, but this whole democratic process is tearing this country in half.
Think about it. The right to vote is great. Like I said, I lived in dictatorships where there wasn’t the right to vote, elections were so badly filled with fraud, or the existing president controlled all the political parties (i.e. Mobutu of Zaire). But, if 51% of the voters choose McCain, and 49% choose Husein, or the other way around, that doesn’t really equal a victory.
In my book, that’s just bad math to run a country on.
The last time that I can recall where the math worked out pretty well was when Reagan beat Carter (489 to 49 electoral votes), Reagan beat Mondale (525 to 13 electoral votes), Bush Sr beat Dukakis (426 to 111 electoral votes), Nixon beating McGovern (520 to 17 electoral votes). Bill Clinton actually won over Bush Sr. and Bob Dole pretty handily at 370 to 168 and 379 to 159 respectifully.
Since then, the margin of victory has been a combined difference of 40 electoral votes over the last 2 presidential elections. I don’t think it will be as close this year, but it seems to be that it would be better to get your butt whooped by 200 – 400 votes than it is to be a close election… which seems far more divisive than it comes anywhere close to a “victory.”
I guess my main observation lately, because there have been close elections in the past, is that there are not really what I would call winners and losers anymore. What I have seen are poor and ungracious winners and bitter and sore losers. No more gracious in victory or gracious in defeat.
At the risk of rambling on and on… which I may already be past that… in the end… it doesn’t matter for two reasons: 1) lobbyist and interest groups control Washington, not Congress and the President, 2) God is still in control no matter who is in office, and that matters more than being American, Republican, or Democrat.