Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day - 2016

Every four years on the next Tuesday after the first Monday of the month of November, the United States heads to the polls and elects a new President.  Well, technically, we elect the people that are supposed to follow our vote and elect the new President.  This date was established by Federal law in 1845.  Prior to date, it was up to the states to decide the day but it had to be at least 34 days prior to the first Wednesday in December which was the date set for the electors to meet and decide the President.  November was used because it was typically after the harvest but before the first major storms of winter set in.  Tuesday was set as the official date because it was after the Sabbath but before the typical market days for farmers.  Of course now there are some issues with this day because it is typically a working day for most American voters.
 There are typically many polling places set up in an area.  This helps to break the voting population into manageable numbers.  In Michigan, the polls open at 7:00A.M. and close at 8:00P.M. but everyone in line at 8:00 is allowed to vote.
My polling place used to be the Catholic Student Chapel for Eastern Michigan University.  It now serves as the Honors College for Eastern.  I suppose there is a nice dichotomy going on there because we have faith that our leaders have the wisdom to guide us.  We also have faith that they will listen to us as well.

I don't normally talk about politics on this blog but every so often I will take a moment to do so.  The first election that I could vote in was the election 1988 between Mike Dukakis and George H.W. Bush.  At the time it seemed like a pretty nasty election but it seemed like there was a degree of respect between the two opponents.  I have voted in every election since then and at the time the elections seemed pretty nasty but none of them have reached the levels of nastiness of this election.

Honestly, I have no idea why our elections have to be so nasty.  For the most part Republicans and Democrats are supposed to be two sides of the same coin, Americans.  It seems that our politicians have forgotten that.  When the election is over, we are supposed to revert to being Americans again and at least try to get to the same goals.  Maybe we don't pursue the same path towards those goals but we should be striving for the vision of our nation.

There were a couple issues that bothered me in this election.  One was the talk about how a certain candidate was going to bring back all of the jobs that were lost.  I mostly focus on Michigan and certain other areas in the Midwest in the course of doing this blog.  Since the Midwest was mostly the home to many of the factories that have moved overseas, I can see the damage that is wrought when those factories are moved.  However, I think we are past the time saying that we can bring those factories back because even if they do come back, the jobs aren't coming back with them.  It is high time for our leaders to come to grips with certain realities.  Many of those jobs will be performed with some degree of automation and the days of being able to walk straight from high school into a factory job are gone.  Most people coming out of high school are going to need to learn a trade or something.  It's about time we come to grips with that.

The other issue that bothered me was a certain candidate talking about making our military strong again.  If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I have a great deal of respect for our military.  I actually like our military and I think it is the finest force on the face of the earth.  However, that doesn't mean I think it deserves a blank check.  It seems like there are too many defense programs that are not on budget or on time.  Both of those things demand that we ask our defense contractors where the money is going and how do we stop the bleeding.  Currently, we spend more than the next ten nations combined on defense spending.  For that amount of money, we shouldn't have any problem fielding a strong military.  We are facing a budget crisis and I don't think it's fair to let one group continue the way they are while asking other groups to sacrifice.  Sacrifice should be shared.

The issue that bothered me was just how nasty this election was.  I just hope that when it is all said and done, people can go back to being Americans.

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