|
|
|
Victor Post
  • Charita Goshay: Are we willing to learn lessons from voters?

  • If we are willing, the lessons to be gleaned from an election are many.

    • email print
  • We know by now that elections are about more than the results. Each election is a frozen moment, a snapshot of our life and times.
    It’s a mirror whose reflection sometimes jolts us because it reminds us that who we are and who we think we are aren’t always one and the same.
    If we are willing, the lessons to be gleaned from an election are many.
    • The election of 2012 wasn’t a mandate. On paper, no president should have been re-elected with a $16 trillion deficit, a 10-year war and 8 percent unemployment. But it was a referendum, the message being that Americans are tired of the demagoguery, and we want those in office to knock off the nonsense and get something done.
    • We’re a divided nation — which doesn’t have to be a bad thing. After all, a democracy is a wonderfully noisy, messy thing that requires a balance of power. But compromise is what drives it forward. If we continue to allow ideology to usurp the common good, we’ll soon find ourselves flailing in a quicksand of intransigence.
    • America is changing, and raging against the dying of the light (to borrow from Dylan Thomas) won’t alter that fact. The candidate who patronizes women, ignores the young and disparages Latinos is a person who should not plan to win anything any time soon. If demography truly is destiny, you cannot demonize or marginalize such voters and be shocked when you’re shunted off to irrelevance.
    • Anger still is not a strategy. Americans love competition, and we love to give as good we get, but we value basic decency. We instinctively shrink from the kind of extremism and hysteria that makes you want to avert your eyes out of embarrassment. Hatred does not inspire; it horrifies.
    • We can’t be bought — at least not yet. This year marked the rise of murky PACs fueled by “dark money.” The barrage of negative ads they financed did not so much repel voters as wear them out. The Beatles were right: Money can’t buy you love.
    • Every vote matters. Provisional ballots notwithstanding, Massillon City Schools’ levy passed last week by ... one vote.
    BROKEN
    The state of voting in the United States has become a mess of such biblical proportion that perhaps the most miraculous feature of our electoral system is that it works at all.
    This fractured family we’ve become is due in large part to the deep distrust of the most basic process by which this republic functions.
    Nearly 1.8 million Ohioans voted early or by absentee ballot this year, and not just because they wanted to avoid the crowds and possible bad weather. More than a few said they didn’t trust the Election Day apparatus to operate as it should.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Helping America Vote Act was supposed to fix the kind of problems that resulted in the chad fiasco of 2000, which had us resembling a banana republic.
    Instead, voting is becoming reminiscent of the climatic scene in “Animal House”: We went to a riot and an election broke out.
    Contact Charita Goshay at charita.goshay@cantonrep.com.

      calendar