The presidential election last week went smoothly. 70 percent of the voting public cast their ballots in favor of the handsome young man who now takes the reins from the battle-scarred veteran. The nation appears united behind their new leader. The election went off smoothly, with no fractious divisions along party lines, gender or racial categories, or ideological splits.
And, if you believe in the peculiar form of democracy that Russia has invented since the end of communism, you will believe that Dmitry Medvedev truly reflects the will of the people as Vladimir Putin’s hand-picked successor in Russia’s presidential election. Cold and hard and smooth as ice, Putin glides across a repressed political landscape remarkable for its still-obvious conformist expectations after all these years of so-called democracy. Putin will stay in control as Prime Minister; the election results will remain unchallenged.
Now come across the pond to witness real democracy in action.
Here in the modern cradle of democracy, red-hot passions streak across our political landscape, igniting and inspiring voters in remarkable new ways. This unprecedented presidential primary season has seen record voter turnouts in just about every state as “we the people” give voice and votes to our desire for political change.
Some people worry about the acerbic tone of American politics these days, but I think it’s quite healthy for the whole notion of democracy. The sharp, loud, sometimes bitter exchange of ideas, policy positions, likes and dislikes is all part of the process through which “the people” determine who will lead them in the future.
The process has produced extraordinary results thus far.
Just a few months ago, John McCain was declared dead-in-the-water, a has-been with no hope of nomination for president. This morning, John McCain now claims the Republican Party nomination, and he will go to the White House to get President Bush’s endorsement.
The people spoke. They rejected the early frontrunners for the Republican nomination — Mitt Romney, Rudy Guiliani. Mick Huckabee hung in there, conceding last night.
This morning, Hillary Clinton is back in the game on the Democratic Party side, having won Ohio and Texas and Rhode Island last night. Barack Obama still has the lead in the delegate count, and all indicators are that the Democratic nomination will be fought hard until the nominating convention this summer.
Whew. We all feel like we’ve been through scores of elections already, and we have, since each state has had its own unique campaign and voting formats. But the big election takes place in November. We’re not even halfway there.
Will American voters sustain this level of interest through November? Absolutely. The will of the people is strong, and the desire for change is overwhelming.
Whatever party you choose — and I hope you choose one, or choose active independence — whatever candidate you support, get involved in this election! We are witnessing a true moment of change in our nation’s history. Be part of the action. Be part of sustaining the real democracy we enjoy in this nation.