At long last Election day has arrived. Yesterday I laid down for a short nap — a nap that never came seeing as I got to thinking and got right back up out of bed — and I was reminded of Andrew Carnegie. We’ve been listening to the likes of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for months and I have yet to hear either of them come up with an idea as earth shattering as Andrew Carnegie’s idea.
A total of 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929, including some belonging to public and university library systems. 1,689 were built in the United States, 660 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, 125 in Canada, and others in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Serbia, France, the Caribbean, Mauritius, Malaysia and Fiji. His motto was, simply, “Let there be light.” And I’m wishing there was anyone on the public stage who had the interests of the public in mind on the scale of a man who spent $100,000,000 to let there be light in a day when $100,000,000 actually bought something.
I expect that within relatively few hours a winner will be declared in the 2016 election but the real question will be whether the citizens of the United States have been the losers yet again? Will we be faced with a congress that refuses to do the job it was elected to do because it’s members owe too much to special interests? Will we have a President who has a vision for positive change — whichever of the two candidates wins. Will we have a leader who will over the length of their term demonstrate that they deserve our respect; or will we have elected a buffoon and loose cannon; will we look at 4 more years of military quagmire; will the poor of our nation continue to suffer needlessly because rich politicians have no idea of what the citizenry are suffering? We can all blame Obamacare for all sorts of medical problems, but anyone who thinks that the problem is Obamacare, and not rampant corporate greed that drives the medical industry then they are truly out of touch with the world.
The campaigning is over. The election will be over in a few hours. Who is ready to move forward building a better nation? It is the peaceful transfer of power that has made the U.S. what it is today. All the other ideas and ideals aside it has been the fact that following an election the nation has acknowledge one side one, the other side lost, and have committed themselves to moving forward for the next 2 or 4 or 6 years. It’s the willingness to be ruled by law that has made us what we are today. The ideals are part of it, but all the ideals in the world would be useless if anarchy reigned; if the citizenry refused to accept the vote of the people. We would have become the dozens of other nations that voted only to have their vote overridden by coupe, by assassination, by the incursion of their neighbors.
It’s a real challenge we face tomorrow. In a nation so divided, at a time when candidates talk openly about whether they will “accept” the results of an election only the populace can decide whether this country remains what it has been or whether we follow the pathway many other nations have trod into anarchy and panic.
I wonder how many of us recall Abraham Lincoln’s House Divided speech?
A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.
You know, tomorrow morning we could re-write the words slave and free with Democrat and Republican and the meaning would still stand. One party might replace the world “slavery” with some other word. The other party might replace the word “slavery” with a different word. But the power of Lincoln’s insight would remain. Somehow we have to find a way to agreement. All one thing. Or all something else. A house divided against itself cannot stand.
We talk a lot about the inevitability of change but I don’t think politicans believe in change in the same way the rest of us do. When Apple introduces a new smartphone we don’t hang onto our old phones — en masse we head to the stores to update. In a gazillion other ways we embrace change as it happens if in fact we do not anticipate it.
It’s clear that the Democratic Party has embraced change in ways that the Republicans abhor. In the same way that refusing to update your phone, or to update your Operating System means that the world moves forward without you; policticians who refuse to move forward with the world around them are going to find themselves ultimately obsolete.
If the Democrats win change will continue. No surprise there.
If the Republicans win the very nature of change will change — there will be an effort to return to something that once was. But you know that old adage about you can’t go back…. Rich white men will not succeed in diverting the tide of change. Disillusioned white men will not succeed in halting the tide of change. Angry white men will not succeed in stemming the tide of change. Those who used to be in power will resent those to whom the tides of the future embue with power, but at some point the tide will roll over them. The world will change whether or not Republicans want change.
Much of my life I voted independent, but favored Republican ideals. Republicans themselves have turned me off their ideals. It doesn’t make sense to fight against the sea. We aren’t little dutch boys with our fingers in the dam — preventing the ocean from breeching the levee. And there’s a lot of doggone leaks in the dam….
I hope we all have a good night’s sleep and wake tomorrow ready to start the work of adapting to the voice of the electorate. Thanks for stopping, and I’ll be here again tomorrow regardless what happens with the election.