As polling stations are gradually closing, before the results start coming in, we need to take a last look at this campaign and reflect on what I perceive to be a vibrant election and a deplorable electoral process. Three aspects of the 2012 elections are simply shocking.
The dominance of money
We have been assaulted, harassed and literally overwhelmed by campaign managers eager to ask us for money. My favorite are the Democrats' three-dollar requests, which come 20 times a day. If we were courageous enough to look at ourselves, we should ask how much of that $2 billion has been spent on television ads. Is it needed? Should we not have limits to that orgy?
I confess that I hated them for their antagonism, untrue statements, and more importantly their hatred messages. Why should lies on women rape, gender, ethnicity be authorized during an election when they are not authorized in our real life. Do the candidates realize how much damage such despicable messages contribute to the already-low esteem in which citizens continue to hold politics, politicians and partisanship? They are not the example of national values they are supposed to convey. It is cheating on democratic principles.
The fight against democracy
Our founding fathers signed a Constitution that was aiming at fair and equitable elections. Around the country, and especially in Florida and Ohio, elected officials decided they were entitled to ignore the Constitution and every means to stop some categories of voters, reduce their ability to vote, is legitimate in a campaign. Throughout the day new cases were emerging. The Montreal Gazette talks about electoral fraud. In Kentucky alone, 220 calls reached the electoral hotline.
By doing so they betray our country and our democracy. They also lower the standards of American democracy in the eyes of countries who are skeptical about our true democratic values. The world is watching our elections and are informed, from India to China, from Sao Paolo to Berlin, of the turpitude and the dirty games that are being played.
The refusal of innovation
For all the pride we have of innovation in America, our democracy is medieval. Whether it is the eight-hour lines in Florida, the specialist of electoral fraud, or Ohio, or the closing of offices, our elected representatives never pay attention to a way to modernize our voting system, making it fair and unquestionable, using innovation and technology.
Queuing 45 minutes to write some dots on a piece of paper and then another 45 minutes in the cold or the sun to introduce this piece of paper in an antiquated machine produced by some questionable companies, is not my definition of innovative America. When will we be able to vote by email?
In the eyes of the world, our elections do not carry the beautiful image we would like them to have of our democracy, innovation and fairness. They are instead watching anti-democratic, antiquated methods of voting and venality.
Of course, this is a generalization. And I praise the men and women who assisted our electoral system as volunteers, and manage to make some sense of this chaos. Voters must be praised for voting sometimes in extreme circumstances such as in areas destroyed by Frankenstorm Sandy.
We can and should do better. It is the core of our citizenship.
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