Democracy was real winner in midterm election
We have a winner.
Not President Trump. Not Republicans. Or Democrats.
The big winner in last Tuesday’s historic midterm election was democracy.
People swarmed the polls in record numbers to make their voices heard in the one place it matters most.
And it wasn’t on Twitter or Facebook.
Citizens in recent years have turned up their noses at the midterm and primary elections. Without the lure of a presidential race at the top of the ballot, voters routinely stayed away in droves.
Not so last Tuesday. Perhaps that is due to a name that was not on the ballot but who dominated much of the nation’s political discourse.
Nov. 6’s exercise in our most fundamental constitutional right was seen by many as a referendum on the first two years of the presidency of Donald Trump.
If nothing else, Trump campaigned and governed as no president before him.
Last Tuesday, his legions of supporters showed up, along with those vowing to use the ballot as a message to the White House.
Women, still stinging from some of the president’s comments about women who have accused him of misconduct, fueled by a #MeToo movement that has swept the nation and put the smoldering issue of sexual harassment on the front burner, flooded the polls.
They got results, and you don’t have to look far to find them. In Southeastern Pennsylvania four women won seats in the U.S. House of Representatives as Democrats took back control of that chamber.
Mary Gay Scanlon in Delaware County, Chrissy Houlahan in Chester County, and Susan Wild and Madeleine Dean were all victorious.
On Nov. 5, Pennsylvania had zero women in Washington. Today they have four.
At one polling place after another across the region, the same story played out. People were waiting in line before the polls opened.
Long lines formed in many areas, and continued throughout the day, despite a driving rain that fell nearly all morning.
In Delaware County, unofficial results showed about 59 percent of Delaware County’s 402,804 voters went to the polls. Compare that with just a few months back, in the spring primary election when we nominated all these people who were on the ballot. Back then only 22 percent of registered voters in the county bothered to exercise their basic right.
There is little united in these United States these days. Powered by the polarizing positions of the president, we are a nation divided.
We separate by the very things that once drew us together, people of all varieties and backgrounds, all ethnicities and faiths.
We proclaimed ourselves a melting pot, and out of that intoxicating brew grew this glorious American experiment.
Part and parcel of that experiment is the right of the people to select their elected representatives.
Today there are endless ways to deliver that message. We Tweet. We post on Facebook. We text. God, do we text.
Our phones have become extensions of our hands -– and our minds.
But the the one thing we have not been doing in recent years is perhaps the most crucial obligation of every citizen.
Democracy is a contact sport.
Today more than ever.
A lot of people are willing to talk the talk, but fewer and fewer are willing to walk the walk.
That started to change Nov. 6, when voters packed their polling places to make sure their voices were heard.
It is perhaps most appropriate that we dwell on this topic with Veterans Day just passed.
Veterans Day is the day when we pause to pay homage to those who laid down their life to protect – and preserve – our precious right to vote.
They made the ultimate sacrifice.
Suddenly standing in a line to cast our ballot does not seem like that tall a task. Happy Veterans Day. Want to tell a veteran how much you appreciate their sacrifice?
Show up at the polls.
Not just in presidential years.
But in midterms. And municipal elections. And primaries.
In short, do what you did so splendidly last Tuesday.
Give a damn.