America’s Achievement – 149,000,000 Voters in 4 Weeks – A “Participatory Democracy”

By November 9th, 2020

Blog No. 124
November 10, 2020

 America’s Achievement  – Deservedly Proud – And Now We Know  

Reading Time: 8 Minutes
By Mack W. Borgen, Recipient of Eight National Book Awards. For a “cleaner” / non-email presentation of this and my other blogs, essays, and articles, please go to my website at https://www.mackwborgen.com/
Copyright 2020 by Mack W. Borgen. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews, without prior written permission by the author.

Introduction 

For the past six weeks, I have been “quiet.” During this period of our nation’s loud and tumultuous election, I decided that there were enough words being thrown into the ether. No one needed more. 
I thought of the line from Max Ehrmann’s early 1920s prose poem, Desiderata— “go placidly amidst the noise and haste of the universe and remember what peace can be found in silence.” (Note 1) With that in mind and for most Americans, this has been an challenging and dangerous period for our country — an acrimonious, insulting, and even embarrassing period for our country.  
In the coming months, many contentious debates will continue. Blind partisanship (and even rampant showmanship) will continue to be a huge challenge. But for now, let us note what DID happen. Let us congratulate ourselves for what Americans – of both parties – achieved.               
It is too early to know if there may be reason for a touch of stubborn optimism.  But I offer a small start with this modest, welcome-back article. It is about a success which should not be overlooked. 

America’s Participatory Achievement 

Our Founding Fathers sought to construct a participatory democracy. At the time of America’s founding, the population of our entire and new country was less than 5,000,000 – less than the current population of New York City.  
But when the 39 delegates signed the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787 after a four-month-long convention, did they remotely envision establishing a participatory democracy that would work in a nation of 330,000,000 people; in a nation which in less than 225 years grew to nearly 70 times its original size? 
Could the Founding Fathers have anticipated a “participatory democracy” with this level of population? With our current population it at least could have been questioned whether or not a “participatory democracy” could still work. 
And now we know. At least in the context of “participatory,” now we know the answer is YES.

 Congratulations Are Due 

During this election, more than 149,000,000 Americans voted. (Note 3) This number represents about 66.5% of the 257,000,000 eligible, over-18 voters in the US. This number is the highest voter participation percentage in over 125 years.  I deeply respect that some people for personal or even religious reasons chose not to vote. But 149,000,000 Americans did.
Certainly, such voting is also an indicator of the extent of our country’s division. But for now. For just a moment. Let us pause. 
Let us take note what this level of voting also means. 
Whether Democrat or Republican and in addition to honoring our veterans on this Veteran’s Day this week (Note 4), let us also honor our country’s voting.   

This Level of Voting   

This Level of Voting is good – in and if itself. 
This Level of Voting is good  – regardless of which party received the most votes. 
This Level of Voting evidences that even amidst the noise and craziness of our world, 149,000,000 Americans took the time to get out their pens, read their ballots, fill out and sign their ballots, mail them or drop them off while other Americans walked or drove to polling places, stood patiently in line – sometimes for hours in the cold and rain – and then voted. (Note 5) 
All across America – 50 states and the District of Columbia, 433 Congressional Districts, 3,141 counties, more than 200,000 polling places, hundreds of thousands of poll workers (Note 6), tens of thousands of poll watchers, the USPS, the printers, the security guards, … and people voted. People “participated.” People “spoke.” (Note 7) 
Americans can debate everything later – and, for the foreseeable future, they certainly will. It will take us a long time to shift from “argument” to “debate;” from adamancy to compromise; and from polarization to unity. But for now, let us hold the backslaps and fist pumps. Let us ignore the tweets and the snide remarks. Let us turn our backs on the dark predictions. Instead, let America take a moment to congratulate itself. 
Well, we did it. You did it. Both Republicans and Democrats (and even my Libertarian friends) should recognize what was accomplished; what Americans successfully did. 

 NOTES

1.  Desiderata. In light of the many contentious debates (and arguments) which will cloud America’s next months, this author notes that possibly it is the next line in Ehrmann’s Desiderata which may be even more relevant — “as far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.”
2. Timing and Manner of Voting. In a few states, even earlier voting was permitted, but most voting – both in—person and by mail – was done in the last month.
 3. Voting Percentages by Candidate. At the time of this writing, the voting allocation appears to be approximately 75.6MM (50.7%) for Biden, 71.0MM (47.6%) for Trump, 1.7MM (1.2%) for Jorgenson (Libertarian), and 0.7MM (0.5%) for others (sorry, Kanye).
4. Veteran’s Day. The major hostilities of World War I ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Thus, this day – Armistice Day and Remembrance Day – has long been recognized. In 1954, the day was re-named Veteran’s Day.
 5.  Covid Vaccinations. It is beyond the scope of this article, but it is tempting to suggest that if 149,000,000 can — in a short period of time – take the time to vote, then possibly a similar number can take the time to soon receive a proven covid vaccination. In the context of this covid pandemic, most of us still cannot see a light at the end of the tunnel. But maybe we can hear the whistle.
6.  Number and Ages of and Compensation for Poll Workers. The exact number of poll workers is not yet readily available since due to the Covid pandemic and for other reasons, the number of polling stations has been changing radically, but it is estimated that the number is about 225,000. As of the 2016 election, 58% of the poll workers were over the age of 61 (16.4% – Ages 18-40; 25.5% – Ages 41-60). Especially because of concerns about covid, this poll worker age allocation may have changed considerably in the 2020 election.
7.  No Evidence of Vote Fraud. It is recognized that some believe – and will obstinately always believe — that extensive voting fraud existed. However, as of the time of this writing, there has not been a single presentation of any verifiable voter fraud – let alone any evidence of organized or massive voter fraud. To the contrary, the election – despite its size and the anticipatory fears – worked – and worked well.

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THE FANCYPANTS WORD OF THE DAY 

(Note to Readers: For more fun and commencing with this blog, this author is going to try to use the Fancypants Word in at least one humorous sentence below).
Sempiternal (Part of speech: Adjective; Origin: Latin) Eternal and unchanging; everlasting.
Examples of use in sentences: “As an astronaut, I am intrigued by the sempiternal vastness of space.”
“I listened to him for hours, and then I came to understand the sempiternal emptiness of his mind.”
Source and thank to wordgenius.com and Shawna Borgen.

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