I am intrigued and gratified by the outcries of victory (and/or defeat) from the 2016 election results. Intrigued- that we are quick to find answers which support our side and Gratified- that we live in a country where it is okay to differ.
Why am I intrigued? If both sides can’t be right; then neither is wrong. What gives then? We must be bringing our individual perspectives to how we view the world. What if we could place ourselves in someone else’s shoes? I suggest we can do this by looking internally first. Do we pick the side of justice we stand on even as the currents of change alter direction? I might ask myself: was I okay with the findings of the FBI as the email issues were dismissed to then be frustrated when they were opened again? To then be happy they were dismissed a second time… What changed? Nothing more than the side that was thought to be harmed. This is one of many examples we can use to see how our decisions are made. I am as guilty as the next in allowing some partiality into my thought processes.
Where I typically come to terms with my bias is when someone I respect shares a differing opinion and I listen. The other night I was discussing the failure of leadership in what was being displayed in the WikiLeaks emails. A question was asked of me, “Do you think the pains of disclosures would be limited to one group?” Knowing the sincerity of the person asking—I dug into my heart—and realized no; they certainly are not. I too know that we have very good—often well founded—reasons for our views. Not one of us has the exclusive on knowledge nor are we readily able to see the unintended consequences of decisions. This is why collective thought (often incorporating the life experiences of others who have lived differently than us) and concession creates the greatest good. We are at our best when all sides are considered, debate taken, and compromises made.
Is there a protection in our Constitution against our selfish desires? I argue the Electoral College may be a critical tool wisely selected to shelter us from ourselves.
We are a Republic not a Democracy. A Republic is a form of government where power sits within the elected leaders who are chosen to represent the citizens. A Democracy is rule of the majority. I think our founders wanted to protect against “majority rule” knowing the likely results would be that power would then reside in populated regions (large metropolitan areas). The Electoral College is merely one safeguard against this; the other is the Senate (arguably the Supreme Court as well). Each state is granted a voice where Montana has footing in elections even though California has nearly 37.9 times more citizens. For me it is not a leap of faith to suggest someone who has issues with the Electoral College, then has by default a problem with the Senate as well. It too may have been established in our founding fathers belief that one day large groups could be mobilized through persuasion (good or bad depending on the view) by tools such as the media.
The separation of power isn’t limited to representation but includes three branches of government and states’ rights. Our success in maintaining balance and support in the voice of the people is satisfied among other things through the Electoral College. Presidential candidates seek the backing of the entire nation providing consistency in our country. Imagine the arguments we would be having if only the votes of the coastal areas mattered.
If our founders wanted a Democracy they could have created one. To change a critical protection provided in our Constitution against becoming anything short of a Republic is the Electoral College; I say keep it!
If you have issues; please ask yourself if it is the result of the election or at least argue the value of changing our form of government which has proven itself to the world…