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The People Have Spoken The People Have Spoken
by George Cassidy Payne
2020-11-09 09:44:26
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He tried hate speech and voter intimidation. He endorsed gerrymandering and photo ID laws. He declared the election illegal before the first votes were counted and said he was uncertain about a peaceful transfer of power. In every way that he could think of, President Trump has tried to dismantle faith in the American institution of free elections. He has personally assaulted our trust in the process.

elect0001_400But it has all failed. Somehow, the one institution that will have benefited most from the last four years of Trump’s governance is the relevance and nonviolent power of the ballot. The right for Americans to be represented, heard and listened to with respect. The very foundation of American democracy is the act of voting. It is a simple yet profound gesture of civilian agency and responsibility. For all of Trump’s attempts to undermine the American system of free and fair elections, he failed to dampen the spirit of this nation when it counted the most. Through all of the insults, veiled and not so veiled threats, lies, and conspiracies, in the end, it will have been the voters who decided. We had the last word.

You have to go back to 1968 when the country exceeded 60% voter turnout. The last six elections saw numbers drop below 50% in 1996, and only rise as high as 57.1% with the historic election of Barack Obama in 2008. (For historical comparison, in 1860, Americans went to the polls in astronomically high numbers (81.2%) and exceeded 70% in 13 of 14 elections from 1840-1896.)

Although we may never see that rate of turn out again, this election is about the strength and resilience of American democracy. Trump tried his best to make this election about himself. But it is not about him at all; it is about the sacred ideals of our Constitution. The people have spoken, and they want to be heard. That is the winner. Biden and Trump and every other politician running for office is a mere servant to that Truth.


George Payne is a social worker and domestic violence counselor in Rochester, NY. He Has degrees in philosophy and American history from St. John Fisher College and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.

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