The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Careful What You Ask For

 

January 11, 2019



Over time, I’ve heard several comedians and talk show hosts say how a sad it is certain president is no longer in office. That person provided a lot of inspiration for stand-up comedy.

I get it. Any individual who runs for public office on the national level needs to be comfortable in a glass house or be arrogant enough to think nothing sticks to him, or her.

We’ve seen many examples of that in recent years. We’ve seen people who are so skilled at misdirection they should be an illusionist. We’ve seen others who were crucified by public over a minor infraction. The finger pointing started at the first traffic ticket while Candidate B is busy burying bodies and wiping blood from the shovel, metaphorically.

What surprises me most is the knee-jerk reaction of some people. The question often comes up of how well the public education system is serving the public. Educators frequently follow the question with emotional protests, as they should. Most teachers put a lot of sweat and stress into students succeeding. Some of the fault of “miseducation” poorly educated citizens may rest in the writers of history and the other subjects, not those who convey it.

That brings up another point: why are people wanting to end the Electoral College? Is it because their favored candidate lost, or is there really a change in the desires of the electorate? I wonder how many really understand the history of the Electoral College, of popular vote versus the Electoral College. Let’s make it personal. How many people in rural communities complain that Denver, Kansas City Omaha, Boise, whatever the nearby population center is, makes decisions for the entire state without knowing what the issues are? I wonder how many times the rural legislator is valued above others because he knows where Two Light, Kansas is?

The Electoral College was designed to offer balance. It is there so the population centers do not make all of the decisions. We need to remember we are a republic, not a pure democracy. Every person’s opinion, every person’s voice, every person’s vote is important. However, every person will not win every time. If a voter’s participation is based on a perceived chance of winning, he is also a poor gambler.

I looked up the history of the Electoral College recently. I find it interesting that there was a concern of who makes the decisions for the nation, then barely 13 colony states, and why. One historian I found said there was a discussion of Congress selecting the president. Think about that for a moment. We have people in office for so long they don’t know what private business is and they would select the Commander-In-Chief.

Agreed, it does sting when the popular vote and the electoral vote do not line up. It stings when the person sworn into office has values far removed from your own. It stings when you watch the news the next morning and wonder why you voted. However, we have a system designed to invite participation. We have a system designed with minimal requirements to seek office, as has been proven with the variety of ages and background elected.

We need to remember the only thing worse than bad government is no government, and sometimes a pure democracy is just across the line from anarchy and mob rule. The problem is more a lack of accountability between the electors and the legislators.

 

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