So if we're all lucky, you're reading this after having voted and seen some of the results come in -- the "will of the people."
As I write this Tuesday afternoon, the local results are unknown.
But what's important in a big picture kind of way, is that there will be results -- not something you can say in lots of places in the world, or at least not results you can believe.
Most Americans view voting as a commonplace thing; something you do twice a year if you remember.
|African-Americans had to fight for fair voting rules.|
At least for now.
One way to control voting is to control who votes.
Just ask blacks in the Jim Crow south; and women before 1920 when the 19th Amendment was ratified.
Since its inception, much of the democratic history of our great Republic has been a history of limiting voting to those likely to continue the policies and viewpoint those who benefit from being in power.
|So did women.|
And a parallel, often lesser-known history, has unfolded in the fight by those disenfranchised by such efforts to win the right to vote.
I'll spare you the usual, well-worn axioms that if you don't vote, you can't complain; or that (some) veterans died to preserve the right to vote.
(Many, such as those who fought in undeclared wars in the Philippines, Vietnam and Iraq, mostly fought to advance the "American interests" of the oligarchs of their day. This does not make their sacrifice any less noble, only more tragic.)
The fact that such well-worn arguments about voting are so often trotted out at election time doesn't make them any less true.
Sadly, if voter participation rates are any indication, too few Americans find them inspirational enough to motivate them to actually vote.
But if the recent debate over background checks for gun purchasers is any indication, nothing motivates a person who takes their unused rights for granted more than a perceived effort to take them away.
So perhaps there is a re-surgence in the offing.
Like it or not, there are efforts out there to undermine your right to vote -- unless you're a rich white guy that is.
Like it or not, the "typical" American voter is no longer
a white male. Get used to it.
And they vote.
The Obama campaign recognized this and capitalized on it as the national GOP continued to convince itself it would win with a 12-foot fence along the Mexican border.
(Don't worry Republicans, if the Democrats are true to form, they will soon begin to take the loyalty of most Hispanic voters for granted and fritter away their present demographic advantage.)
There is a segment of the Republican party that recognizes this wave, and believes the party needs to do more to appeal to this demographic -- mostly they are realists who govern southern states that already have large Hispanic populations that must be wooed to win.
There is another segment that hopes to win by finding ways to keep that wave away from the polls, which brings us back to the subject at hand.
If you do not think such efforts are underway, then you probably don't vote
If you did vote yesterday, you may have been asked for photo ID, and you would have been legally permitted to refuse and vote anyway.
But that may not be true much longer.
When the Pennsylvania courts suspended Pennsylvania's Voter ID law for the presidential election, and yesterday's primary that followed, it was only delaying the inevitable.
PREMATURE BRAGGART?: Mike Turzai's bragging came
a little too soon
As famously loud-mouthed Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Turzai made prematurely evident, the entire scheme, cloaked in a shroud if "integrity" was largely about keeping some people from the polls -- people the least likely to have a photo ID as a matter of course.
That means blacks, Hispanics and, of course, the poor.
If you want a taste of the impact of the law's potential consider that "poll workers
That was the information presented in January to the Democratic Policy Committee Hearing on Voter ID Law & Early Voting.
Pennsylvania voters placed 9,171 complaint calls to the Election Protection hotline on Election Day, second only to California. The number one issue: poll workers wrongly demanding voters show a photo ID.
|How PA voted in 2012|
"Split them proportionally," they said, arguing its more "representative" of how the state votes.
In February, The York Dispatch's editorial board put it better than I could:
It's a ploy being considered by Republicans in several other swing states, and one endorsed by GOP National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus after President Barack Obama's re-election.
"I think it's something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at," he said last month.
And the consistently red states? They presumably would continue allocating all of their electoral votes to the winner, meaning the only effect of changes like Pileggi is suggesting would be to siphon electoral votes from Democratic candidates.
It's a shameless attempt to rig the system, but better than the one Pileggi floated last year. That one would have allocated electoral votes based on our congressional districts -- our heavily gerrymandered congressional districts.
Me? I say it doesn't go far enough.
If the Republicans want a truly representative Democracy, let's do away with the Electoral College all together.
Seven of the 10 most populous states voted blue in 2012.
Do Republicans really want to start a conversation about
distributing votes proportionally? OK.
Do they really want to live in a country where the "representative" weight of the ten most populous states -- California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, which together represent 53.3 percent of the total U.S. population -- decide every presidential election?
Of those states, only Texas, Georgia and North Carolina have voted reliably Republican since 1992, with North Carolina going for Obama in 2008 and George going for Clinton in 1992.
They realize, one hopes, that under such a "popular vote" scenario Al Gore would have been the president who responded to the 9/11 attack.
Yeah, I would imagine their taste for "representation" would dwindle quickly.
The true idiocy of it all is that each state sets its own rules for voting.
To my knowledge, no other Democracy on Earth does this.
We are one nation. We fought a bloody war over "states rights," and the states rights people lost.
We need one voting system for the nation, so Ohio can't use the power of an incumbent Republican attorney general to narrow the voting window in Democratic areas and leave it broad in Republican ones.
If you wanted to be picayune, I suppose you could have state voting rules for state and local races, but in truth that would just be even more confusing.
In March, President Obama created a commission to look into just that possibility -- away to standardize voting access and registration across the country.
The top lawyer for Obama's re-election campaign, Bob Bauer, will co-chair the commission with the top lawyer for Republican Mitt Romney's campaign, Ben Ginsburg.
The goal is to address issues including long lines at the polls, voter registration and voter access.
Invariably, we come together as one nation during a crisis.
Shouldn't we all vote under the same rules and regulations when we collectively perform the one tasks which literally defines us a nation?