n Tuesday, I had the pleasure of hosting the live thread on Election night. There were a lot of posters, subthreads for a specific topic, back & forth dialogue about a particular race, nail biting, races that were so close it brought a whole new meaning & level to the phrase “threading a needle”, salty language when a commentator said something irritating or especially ignorant (insert D. French), surprise victories & disappointing losses & we had plenty of comic relief & memes to make us LOL. There was controversy over Fox calling the house before the CA’s polls closed as well as their overall coverage that evening, candidates made phone calls to concede their races & victory speeches were given. For the most part, all but a few races were called & when I went to bed around 2:30 AM, I already knew what the headlines would read, “Republicans hold Senate, Democrats regain House”.
ere we are on the Sunday after that election & the cries to “vote, Vote, VOTE!” were heard and many voting precincts broke historical records regarding the turn out for a midterm election. Many down ballot candidates & initiatives had unexpected outcomes because of the sheer number of voters. It would appear that now the headline from Wed. has been thrown into a tizzy. The country appropriately believed the races called were concrete conclusions yet, apparently, they aren’t. Throughout the balance of this past week & all week-end, we’ve seen the lead flopping back & forth between two candidates in AZ that are diametrically opposed, a candidate in FL rescinded his concession & a gubernatorial candidate in GA is just refusing to acknowledge her loss. We aren’t talking about dog catchers here, these are major races that are still magically in play. GA is trying to convince the nation there are votes that the election board is refusing to count and the quantity of these votes may be just enough to force a recount (do they already know it’s enough?). It’s a miracle I tell ya, simply amazing, what are the odds? The outcome of these races will have a profound impact not only on the balance of power but what can, and more importantly can’t, be accomplished after the dust settles.
vividly recall when Afghanistan held their elections in 2014 and to avoid any voter duplication, their index finger was dipped in a purple indelible ink. I recall the citizens excitingly & proudly showing their tainted finger indicating they had voted, they were ecstatic for having the freedom to cast a ballot to determine their own future as well as the future of their country. There were long lines & wives went separately from their husbands so somebody could stay with the children. I remember crying for them & for their joy in being a participant in their changing government, something I’d realized I’d taken for granted, I’ve never known anything different. I also cried because of what they were willing to sacrifice for that vote? If you’re saying to yourself, “what could they possibly be sacrificing to vote & why would that make me emotional?” It made me emotional because each one of those ink stained fingers could cost them their lives and I’m not exaggerating, not even a little.
hen we in America talk about voter suppression, we talk about intimidation (akin to the Black Panthers holding Abram signs dressed like militants with the guns included or outside Philly precincts w/bully sticks), we discuss why people don’t or can’t make it to the polls, the ballots are designed poorly making them difficult to read or interpret, that somehow, although we have to show our license for some of the most mundane, daily things, showing ID prior to casting a vote isn’t fair & would make it impossible for some folks to vote. Granted, some of these are valid, the Blank Panther examples are the epitome of voter intimidation but we’re relatively sure none of them would be so bold, blatant or stupid to really go through with it (I say that with my fingers crossed, as well as my legs & eyes). For the Afghanistan people, their vote could & did cost them their lives! Just prior to that election, the Taliban had killed some citizens as a warning not to go to the polls and vote. There were citizens who requested if they could vote without having to dip their fingers in the ink because doing so they knew they’d become targets. There were headlines saying “An Inky Finger is the Mark of Death”. The vast majority of Americans have never shed a drop of blood for the privilege of voting, some can’t be bothered, some vote based on sound bites, by the emotion or rage on a single issue. We have a vast majority of people who vote party over their own best interests or the interests of the country, we have early voting so we don’t have to stand in line or be inconvenienced. I can’t tell you how many times I heard someone say “I voted early to get it over with”. I get it, I do, but are we all really so busy we can’t plan ahead and make accommodations one day every other year to vote? We already know the date of the next presidential election, Nov. 3, 2020, start planning now. Our voting rights, my voting right, has been bought and paid for with the blood of millions of Americans, the price tag attached to this privilege is incredibly steep, unimaginable and invaluable. As I recall watching that election and as I’ve been observing the last few days, I’m going to ask you the same question I asked myself on that day. This past Tuesday, would you have gone to the ballot box & dipped your finger in a purple indelible ink knowing that when you exited there was the possibility a gunmen purposely searching for those ink stained fingers would just as soon take your life and think nothing of it? We have millions of Americans in graves who’ve already picked up our tab.
oday we have votes still be counted, still being found and many believe still being created. We lament the long lines, the bad weather, if it’s worth voting since we live in an area overwhelmingly supportive of one party or the other “so why bother”. We’ve had months of campaigning, millions of dollars spent by politicians trying to sway someone by telling citizens what they will and/or won’t do &, sadly, a significant amount of time and money spent smearing and trying to delegitimize the opposing candidate or party. We have qualified, competent citizens who would serve if the process wasn’t so vitriolic or expensive (there was a time I considered it but for me that ship has already sailed). We now have judges and voting election officials making decisions that are more than likely counter to the intentions of the voters. There are pricey lawyers involved & campaigns calling or sending out donation solicitations asking for more money to help finance challenging the election results. Haven’t we already spent enough, haven’t we waited long enough, haven’t we had enough noise and hateful rhetoric, haven’t we had enough escalation of violence and confrontation, haven’t we had enough? The outrage being shown by the country right now is because we rightfully expect that once we’ve done our duty as citizens to carefully consider our options, align our belief system with the candidates that best represents what we want and expect from our government & voted. Now it’s incumbent on them to honestly & respectfully report those results in a timely fashion so the country can get back to doing the country’s business and we can return to our lives. These constant delays, the absolute absence of any civil discourse, no hope for brokering a compromise, a philosophy of “you must choose” a side has gradually brought us to this precipice and any expectation of reason seems lost. We the People have spoken and we demand answers & resolution, anything less is unforgivable.
oday is Veteran’s Day, every Sunday we have breakfast with a wonderful group of men, the ROMEOs (Really Old Men Eating Out) consist of 3 Korean Vets & 3 Vietnam Vets, this AM, it was my pleasure to treat them to breakfast. This will be the first time I won’t be able to call Dad and thank him for his service, if you have a family member or friend that served, take a minute to call them and thank them for their service. It takes only a moment of your time but it will mean a lot to the service member on the other end of the phone. Like the newly elected TX Congressman Crenshaw said, tell them “Never Forget” We have family members currently serving and they were in my prayers like they are every day and today they remained in my prayerful thoughts throughout the day as well as any other military currently serving. For any veteran who may be reading this, thank you for your service, from a humble & grateful citizen. Our family stands for the anthem and kneels for the cross.