Election day is less than a week away. It is amazing, regardless of who you are supporting, to realize that the most powerful nation on earth will have a major political transition take place on a scheduled day on the calendar, and it will happen peacefully. Or at least, peacefully in that no armies have to stage a coup or go into action to effect a change. Voters go to a polling place, cast a ballot with a variety of names on it, and on another appointed day, those elected take up their post and life goes on.
This blog will not endorse candidates, or engage in a political discussion. Remarks that people make around this time of the year are always interesting. The thought that the election of one or another Presidential candidate would cause anyone to leave the country is funny. I’ve had friends who have made that statement in the past, and yet, they are still here. The predictions of what might happen if a particular candidate is elected are also somewhat amusing, from how high your taxes will go to how long it might be before we get into a war, or start drafting soldiers for the army. Everyone becomes a prophet or a fortune teller before the election, and along with that, they also become political experts.
I voted early to avoid having to stand in line on election day. I’m somewhat of a traditionalist, and so I resisted the idea of early voting at first, but in 2000 I stood in line at our precinct polling place from 4:30 to 8:45, and I decided I didn’t want to do that again. The wait at the polling place at 8:30 in the morning was only about 45 minutes, so I stuck around and cast my ballot. There are no hanging chads to worry about with the new machines, you just turn the dial and hit the button. Had it not been for four propositions on the ballot, which took time to read, I would have been able to complete the ballot in less than five minutes.
As a former high school History and Economics/Government teacher, I am fascinated with the ability to follow the election coverage on the internet. Just a few years ago, all of this stuff wasn’t available. Now, you can get a video projector and a laptop and have all kinds of things to use to teach your class, from interactive electoral college maps to video clips of candidates. If you’re really into statistics and probability, you’ll find http://fivethirtyeight.com to be an extremely interesting site. They put together composites of all the polls, all the calculations, predictions and organize them for easy viewing. Though it has been several years since I taught in a classroom, I can see all kinds of possibilities for the things that are available on the internet these days.
I’ve also been somewhat apalled at the political and historical ignorance exhibited by some alleged “media experts” regarding how our government works and how to interpret the facts. Setting aside some notable biases toward both sides, I am just glad that no former students of mine are working as political pundits. There are some good ones out there, but there are a lot of really bad ones.
At any rate, make sure you vote. If you can vote early, make up your mind and go. Otherwise, I hope you get to your polling place when the lines are short and the weather is good.