So What is the Answer?
By Frank J. Dmuchowski
Under normal circumstances this column written just before Election Day would speak to the readers of Tygodnik Polski about why it is important to exercise your franchise in this great democracy to vote. It would stress the notion: “if you don’t vote you don’t count”. Also it would point out that for Polish Americans to exert more influence in the American political and economic system it is necessary for them to vote, irrespective of party affiliation. Well this year those ideas and your vote are even more important.
Why? Because the American political system is in a nearly unprecedented level of turmoil. Perhaps not since the election of President Abraham Lincoln in 1860 has there been such political rancor and just outright meanness. This plus new leaks almost every day in which the two major candidates appear “to be trying to figure out a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory,” however fleeting or mirage-like the perception of victory might be. Today we have a political situation in which “no deed will go unpunished by the opposition within a political party or between political parties”. Truly these are times which are difficult for Americans and our allies alike.
Foreign and domestic efforts to destabilize our election process
Added to the mix we have the potential of on-going foreign agitation and manipulation into our democratic process. We all know the routine. We all have a sense as to what is going on. This level of suspected direct foreign agitation and manipulation has not occurred since the American War of 1812 when the British captured Washington D.C. set fire to the White House on August 24, 1814 chasing out the administration of then President James Madison.
In 1814 it was the British and their apparent military strength and in 2016 it is “You Know Who” and their ability to cause havoc over our information grid through manipulations on the internet. Of course our political leaders are “assuring” the American public that our voting system is safe and cannot be rigged. Notwithstanding the contrary opinion of at least one of the major candidates for President and increasing numbers of Americans who are uncomfortable with the potential subversive efforts of some foreign powers.
It is important to keep in mind that however distasteful this year’s presidential election appears to you that there are elections for many other offices and ballot issues which need to be resolved. Also, in the final analysis someone will be President, so why not have a say?
Key to the making of a healthy Democracy
2016 may go down as a year in which the making and sustaining of the American democratic process is less desirable than making sausage. Yet we still have a responsibility to keep on making the American concept of democracy continue to work and grow. Certainly this will not be the best of years, however by your participation in the voting process, even if you feel you have to hold your nose while voting, you will be helping to preserve America’s concept of democracy for future generations.
In many ways this election is important not just for whichever political party gets the power of the presidency but more so for the number of Americans who choose to look past the political rancor by voting and insisting that the politicians respect the outcome of the elections. If this cannot happen then the American political system is in difficult waters much to the detriment of America and for those in the rest of the world to whom free and fair elections are important.
Conclusion: To Vote or NOT to Vote? – The proposed answer for your consideration!
The question posed at the beginning of this article was “To Vote or NOT to Vote”. I would hope that now if you are thinking of sitting out this presidential election that you will reconsider and choose to vote no matter how difficult the choice. After all, In the final analysis it is your voice expressed through voting – especially in difficult times – which leads to the ultimate stability of the American electoral system and democracy as we know.
Please Vote for the sake of future generations!
Picture: The White House burning in 1814