Here’s what you are really voting for today
On the surface, the long-awaited final step (save the litigation inevitably to follow) in what has been an ugly and grueling presidential election is finally near.
But looking back at what we’ve experienced — calls to violence, direct threats against one’s person, intelligence leaks, and blatant disregard for truth — such things are not the stuff of presidential elections; they are harbingers of social upheaval.
Your vote today is both a presidential election and referendum on democracy.
The referendum topic at hand is whether we as a country should continue the 150-year trend of adopting a broad interpretation of democracy, or whether to buck the trend and return to a narrow definition of democracy.
Where the candidates stand
Trump supports a narrow definition of democracy.
He has openly embraced a view of the United States that harkens back to the glory days of white male supremacy, a time when white men were at the top of a legal and institutionalized hierarchy in which brown folk (blacks, Hispanics, indigenous peoples, Middle-Easterners, and Asians), and women were second-class citizens, if not sub-human.
This is precisely why “Make America great again” is an ideal slogan for Trump.
Using male white supremacy as a benchmark, America was great indeed between 1781 and 1861, an era in American history is marked by a very narrow definition of democracy, in which slavery coexisted with the idea of equality, and self-rule applied only to only to certain white men.
Hillary supports in a broad definition of democracy, which is why she went to such lengths to orchestrate the photo op with Jay-Z and Beyoncé, together, on stage! (When was the last time that happened since “Lemonade”?!)
Hillary’s broad view of democracy is in keeping with the trend America has been following since the end of the Civil War. Between then and now, the Constitution has been amended three times for the sole purpose of making the right to vote ubiquitous: one person/one vote, plain and simple. The Voter ID laws in Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas and North Dakota struck down this year alone is in keeping with this trend.
What’s really at stake
But the very existence of voter ID laws in this day and age should give us pause. Is it possible that the ideas we think of as sacrosanct are really just products of shifting and fleeting political trends?
Put another way: is the idea of one person/one vote a political ideology that maybe be challenged, and rejected? Is the 150-year trend towards an increasingly broader interpretation of democracy coming to an end, the pendulum at the point of swinging in the other direction?
Our rights under the Constitution are not to be taken lightly. We may live under the illusion that they are sacrosanct, but, in fact, constitutional amendments are nothing more than products of a political process at a particular point in time; they are not absolute laws of nature.
The rights granted by the 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments might easily be challenged and eroded by a self-serving racist sitting in the oval office, along with any of the other rights we take for granted.
I ask you to consider the following when you cast your ballot today: Has America failed you so miserably that you would risk putting an advocate for a narrow interpretation of democracy in the White House? Because if you would, today may well be the last time you will ever have the right to vote.