Did my early ballot get counted? I have no way of knowing!
I watched the last days before the U.S. election via CNN International from outside the country. I then anxiously monitored election returns via Twitter feeds in airport boarding areas. The mere opportunity to have these vantage points for this process signals that I am a fortunate person in this life and the world.
Hubby and I spent more money than we have to send my hubby to a conference and for me to get to visit one of the places in the world that inspired the educational and career paths of my life. I, however, know this experience is not one that bestows or signifies the quality or value of my life. I am no better or worse a person than a woman who may never get to travel beyond her community or outside the borders of her state. Status, opportunity, achievement, and the “worth” of individuals are either distinct attributes or non-existent constructs.
The status quo in the U.S.A. is eroding. The ideas and ideals behind our constitution are growing. The American status quo does not embody our constitutional values. The change we are seeing does embody the essence of what has always made America great: an expansively democratic governance. This is not the same as expansive government. Yes, we are a representative democracy guided by an inclusive constitution at the highest levels. But there are eddies of absurdity that are pulling elements of our society into total dysfunction.
So what have we learned thus far and what do we do with it?
The simplistic assessment that “Pot, Gay Marriage,and Science are the Winners in this Election” has some truth in it. Liberty requires the pursuit of happiness. If individuals are not free to control their bodies, their most personal behaviors, and trust the science that guides collective policy, if something stops them from having time to dream, create, and problem solve, then our great nation will die an inelegant death through ignorant actions.
As an Arizona resident who is quite disappointed, but not surprised by, the reporting of Republican wins in the political races in my state with over a half a million uncounted early and provisional ballots, I expect my state to get what it deserves from allowing the essential democratic process to be violated consistently over the last many elections. If all this stands, there will be infrastructural spending in the next four years, but Jeff “no earmarks” Flake will see that Arizona does not get our fair share of public works money, just like Kyl did, and McCain will be right there with him. “Earmarks” that benefit constituents will be lost, but corporate kickbacks will be alive and well. The small government wackos will funnel questionably allocated funds into private prison systems, the contemporary tool of enslavement, rather than education. Propaganda works best with an uneducated populace. When they are imprisoned it works even better.
Allowing idiots to manipulate democracy in a state to the point where Neo-Nazis have been allowed to patrol the border, religious minorities have gerrymandered our political districts, state governance districts do not reflect the population of the state, has handicapped the ability of our institutions of higher education to attract the best students. What brilliant minority or foreign student would want to attend university in a state with AZ SB 1070. This in turn handicaps commerce when it attempts to draw upon a skilled, innovative, and renewable population of scientists, business innovators, and elastic well-educated labor networks that can respond to change.
I am not a conspiracy theorist, nor a leftist malcontent. I am an anthropologist who understands cultural systems, population trends, and trajectories. What has been going on in Arizona for a while now is dangerous and impacts democracy in all of America.
The Arizona example, along with Ohio and Florida, shows what assaults on democracy look like in the contemporary United States elections. Links to some of the Arizona Problems follow:
- Could voting irregularities sway the election? This mentions Flake’s robo-calls to Democrats telling them the wrong polling place.
Arizona: More Than 600,000 Ballots Remain Uncounted Over half a million uncounted votes show a significant problem beyond individual irregularities.
- Count Every Vote in Arizona Petition. We have to petition to have our votes count? Apparently so.
More than anger, I am feeling nauseous, disheartened and a profound need to do something. I think this is how revolutions start. Anger is a short term irrational act. I am tired of giving up my time, energy and income to fight the right wing attempts, thus far rather successful ones, to violate the the will of the people as shown by the manipulation of elections by all levels and branches of government. I have already spent the better portion of five years of my life acting for change against wars waged due to the lies of selected rather than elected administrations, if I have to go out in the streets again, I am stepping it up this time. I am a matriot and the U.S. ideal of democracy and representative governance means the world to me.