It's been more than a week now and we still don't know who the next president of the United States will be. In other countries this might well be cause for all prudent people who were able to urgently seek some other place to call home. Those who were left behind might well have reason to fear for their safety, even their lives.
It isn't like that here.
Recounts are still going on and recriminations are still being cast about by both sides, but the fact of the matter is that no matter how protracted the vote count process, no matter how acrimonious the comments by either party and no matter who eventually takes the oath of office next January, the country will still function. The lights will stay on, the grocery stores will stay stocked, the banks will dispense money, the stock market will keep trading and everyone who needs the services of government at all levels will receive them. We can all retire safely to our beds and sleep soundly, knowing that when we wake up in the morning things will be much the same as we left them the night before.
The past election points out a number of deficiencies in the system, however. Antiquated voting processes, insufficient bipartisan oversight of the process and exit polls that exercise undue influence over voters in later time zones are a few of the problems that have come under scrutiny in the wake of the election. If nothing else, we now know what needs fixing. We know this sounds like the "If you're handed a lemon, make lemonade" philosophy, but there's a great deal of merit in such an attitude. We know what's wrong--it's been obvious since the polls closed last Tuesday night. We now have an unparalleled opportunity to put things right. While we disagree with the opinion that has been expressed in some quarters that the election underscores the need to abolish the Electoral College, now is obviously the time to begin considering the future. Now is the time to determine if the needs of the electorate will best be met by a standardized ballot used by every election district in every state across the country and, if so, to design that ballot. This country has some of the greatest minds available designing new technology every day. Surely such knowledge and expertise can be employed in the public interest to devise a simple, efficient, speedy voting procedure that every enfranchised citizen will be willing to use. Even the process leading up to Election Day can be revamped in the light of the lessons learned in the campaign just ended. To cite just one instance, worthy candidates should not have to forego their dreams of public service because the cost of a run for even a relatively low-level municipal office reaches into the stratosphere.
The presidential election just ended taught us much, if only we care to apply its lessons. We call for both parties and the country as a whole to use this experience to ensure that future elections will never again be clouded by doubt, confusion and even the suspicion of impropriety. We are presented with an opportunity to come together to make sure that the voting process is truly as egalitarian, fair and free of any taint of suspicion as the Founding Fathers intended.
We call on all Americans to join in supporting the new president, whoever he turns out to be, and to join in devising a new and better way to elect public officials at all levels of government. The voting process must once again come to be regarded as the culmination of the representative democracy which we hold so dear and which we would make our gift to the rest of the world.