Like many of you, I have been glued to the television, internet or radio during the last week or so, viewing and listening to the reporting on the election results. This last year has provided political pundits a great deal to comment about, not all of which has been pleasant, depending on whom you might have been listening to.
Until the Electoral College meets and casts its votes according to the provisions of the Constitution, we will not have a clear winner of the election. We can, of course, have a rather good indication of how that will play out prior to that date.
It took 26 days – from December 15, 1788, until January 10, 1789 – for our country’s first national election process. George Washington was elected as an Independent, as there were no political parties established as we know them today. He was elected by a unanimous vote of 69 electors, a bit different than today.
Washington was inaugurated in New York City, which initially served as our nation’s capital, on April 30, 1789. The office of the Vice President was filled in a separate vote. John Adams was elected to that post.
I can’t imagine the process which was undertaken during that first federal election. In my research, I never found any indication of “hanging chads,” mail-in ballots or computer glitches. I’m joking of course, as I look back on the past and fast forward to today’s discussions and debates.
We are now over a week beyond the day we Americans took on that solemn duty to democratically elect the person who will occupy the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. Of course, the White House of today was not officially occupied by a sitting President until 1800. The site was selected by then President Washington in 1791, and construction began in 1792. It was first occupied by President John Adams, who had been elected in March of 1797.
I was amazed to look at a map which showed the counties won by the respective candidates for the Presidency this last week. It showed a flood of red and the impact of blue within the large cities across the nation. That concentration of population within those densely populated metro areas certainly helped to propel the Democrat candidate to the necessary margin for victory.
As I write this column today, the Republican candidate and his supporters are engaged in an effort to exercise their right to challenge some of those results. It is a right which they legitimately have as the process continues to play out. I’m not sure anyone living today has seen a margin as narrow as this for that of the Presidency. Some states, such as Georgia, have moved into a statewide recount, hence the nationwide call to “count every vote,” as states continue their counts. It is understandable how frustrating it is for the candidates and their supporters on both sides.
Should legitimate concerns regarding possible improprieties be brought forward, and those concerns investigated and substantiated through a thorough and balanced review, appropriate actions should be undertaken immediately. As the most revered and respected Constitutional Democratic Republic, we owe that to our citizens and to those who have come to respect and admire the foundations of our government.
Failure to do so could cast a shadow of doubt on the legitimacy of the future of whomever might occupy the White House. We must show that we as a nation and a people have matured to the point that we seek a genuine understanding of who we are as a people and what our nation stands for. Let us take the time necessary to ensure the validity of our Republic is beyond reproach.
Let us put away the harsh rhetoric on both sides, thus preventing us from rushing to judgment and allowing us to carry out our constitutional responsibilities to protect the process that so painstakingly has been in place over the last 244 years.
For those of you who know me, you understand my comments here do not come colored in blue or red demographics. Instead, they come as an American, proud of our heritage and proud of our nation as an example for the world to look up to.
There is much work to be done in our nation and as part of our responsibilities on the world stage. Regardless of the outcome of the issues and the debate before us, we must come together to meet these challenges and to move forward, united together as we build a stronger and better future for all to enjoy.