Young: Conceding one day only to morning-after despair (column)
November 14, 2016
One day. One 24-hour period. One sunrise, one sunset.
I felt as bad as one could feel without needing hospitalization. My head hurt. I was in a fog of exhaustion. I hadn't eaten well. All day I emoted clenched anger in a thousand sighs. My shoulders hurt from a thousand shrugs.
Then, that night, after a blessedly good meal, I said to myself: That's it. One day. That's all that these events, the new national reality enunciated on Nov. 8, will take from me.
I'll surrender no more days to the shock and injustice of losing the presidency to a loser. As a citizen, I will commit the days henceforth to righting things, principally our democracy.
I've lost two other days this way. The first was in 2001 after the Supreme Court awarded the presidency to the candidate who had gotten fewer votes. The other was after the U.S. rolled tanks into Iraq on criminally bogus pretenses. (And they say Hillary Clinton should go to jail for emails.)
No more. No more days given away. Now, I'm pumped. My heart is engaged like before a majestic and taxing hike. One foot forward, then another, moving toward the desired destination.
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Concussion. Concession. Confusion. Cognition. Recognition. Inspiration. Vision. Mission.
Mission: to right a democracy that has been wronged – again.
President Trump is temporary. Democracy is not unless, as Jefferson said, we concede it away. (Jefferson penned things that earned permanence. Trump? He tweets.)
And, so, here are things we must do to right a democracy twice harmed in recent years by the election of people whom the majority of us did not choose.
Make the Electoral College obsolete. It already is, of course. It was made obsolete with the first telegraph, and the first computer (also known as quill and scroll.)
No, we cannot abolish the Electoral College. The stringent requirements for amending the Constitution would prohibit it, and sparsely populated (almost entirely red) states would not allow it. That would mean surrendering power to popular will.
What can we do? So much, but here's one:
Make voting easier: Every state should have mail-in ballots like Colorado, Oregon and Washington do. Voting by mail is secure, convenient and efficient in tabulating. In Colorado, almost a third of all registered voters had voted by mail a week before the election. That meant short lines, little waiting, more democracy.
Add to this the need for online and same-day registration and voting. It's ridiculous, verging on oppression, to have arbitrary requirements and deadlines for in-person registration when computerized systems can handle the matter with ease.
Neutralize the Electoral College. Abolishing it by amendment is politically impossible. However, 11 states, totaling 165 electoral votes, have passed laws to join the National Popular Vote Compact (nationalpopularvote.com) by which they lawfully would award their electoral votes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes nationally. We need states totaling 270 votes to do this. An online petition urges it: http://tinyurl.com/jru4fl7.
As for that popular vote Clinton won and Trump lost: Functionally, that fact is irrelevant, just as Al Gore's claim to history was left among all the hanging Florida chads. What is relevant for me is the pumping of the blood, a reason to get working again.
Progressives reclined on their easy chairs over the last eight years, kvetching over ideo-semantics, while the right boiled and toiled to reclaim the White House.
To those celebrating victory: Feel good. Enjoy the long winter's nap that comes with gorging. Sleep well and long. See you in the morning.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado.
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