By Dr. Robert V Gerard
When I was in the 5th grade, our social studies teacher, Ms. Kirschner, asked the class to vote on the best book to read from the class’s bookshelf. She wanted us to show the class the importance of voting, the consequences, and, most importantly, how democracy works.
The class had twenty children and about 50 books we could choose from. She reminded us that our vote was a necessary process of democracy. We had to pick the book best suited for our purposes and not be concerned about what others thought. Miss Kirschner stated that the majority of votes for any book would stand firm and be considered selected as the best book for the entire class to read.
Before the voting, she offered any student to come up in front of the class to demonstrate their favorite book and explain why their choice was the best for the class. About half of the students came forth with their petitions. Each felt determined to persuade the other students why their book should be chosen.
She reiterated that she served as the director of Class Voting and had voting rules to abide by. In a sense, she was the law. She stated that everyone must agree to read the book that received the most votes. The class agreed. The teacher gave out ballots for each student. The voting began, and all the students became excited to know what book would be chosen for the class to read.
Once the votes were counted, the book The Little Prince, a novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, was selected. Most students were happy; however, some were sad and angry. But Ms. Kirschner stood firm and gave the class a reading assignment. She reminded us that when voting, all agree that the majority wins, and that’s one of the essential principles of democracy. As it should be, voting was a simple process as far as I was concerned until I better understood politics.
As a young adult voter during the Kennedy-Nixon election debates and media coverage, I realized that voting was a complicated, manipulative, and corrosive process. But unfortunately, I didn’t realize the significant differences between the two American Political parties: the Republicans and the Democrats. Ever since, I’ve become a political nut, captured in all the political turmoil and its nonsense.
So, my bottom line is that voting is a technique that can be easily applied, whether in a small group or a national event. It’s not a political item; instead considered a problem-solving possibility. Each nation or local government can call upon a vote to decide some form of action. The Constitution decrees that every American has the right and obligation to vote in the USA. But the individual States decree the voting process unique to their State, most of which can be confusing and, in many cases, manipulated to favor a specific agenda.
Once the politicians gain control of the various voting algorithms, the chaos and headaches begin. In the young democratic nation of Myanmar, the Army regained control under military rule. So, the entire purpose of the voting was dismantled for that nation currently in a revolutionary war. In some countries, a powerful political figurehead can attempt to eradicate an opponent to get him off the ballot. In the small country of Croatia, with about 3.8 million possible voters, everyone with a government-issued ID and over eighteen years of age can vote. All voting takes place on a Sunday, with voting stations virtually scattered everywhere to simplify access to a site to vote. It all boils down to the fact that your vote is cast within fifteen minutes; no waiting in lines for hours in the rain or snow. It’s effortless, and the election results are finalized in one day, the voting tallies are drawn. Whereas in the USA, each State has its own set of rules; who can vote and who can’t. In some states, Georgia and Texas, people waited for hours: unacceptable. Once tallied, State election results must undergo Electoral College Certification, which takes several months.
But beyond all the processes and structures that encompass the voting mechanisms, voting is usually bombarded with misrepresentation, political and social lies, financial payoffs, or inflicted with legal matters. Voting in America has become a massive political game of money and power, favoritism, and social news media influence. It’s not a matter of good social policy, political competency, or serving humankind; rather, it is the survival of a political organization’s agenda.
Every adult should have the right to vote in a decent fashion. Every election event needs to be clearly understood, and that is done by educating the people on the facts, purposes, and possible outcomes of the election.
Finally, my main concern about voting is that the voting population lacks the education to understand their to-be-elected representatives’ policies, purpose, and competencies. For voting to be a successful event, the individual needs to have grasped the fact that voting changes the direction of the community, the nation, and humankind.
Dr. Robert V. Gerard
Copyright © 2022 Robert V Gerard