Very early yesterday morning, I passed by the polling site where I ordinarily vote. I could not believe what I saw. The surrounding streets were full of cars.
Dozens of people waited patiently, in the cold – 44 degrees – to vote. And it was a working day. In previous elections, it was me plus two more people at most at the polling site.
In five minutes, I was done voting.
Fortunately, this time I exercised my right to vote by mail…
I have never seen such elections – what I saw in my own polling station went on around the country.
In Astoria, Brooklyn, Flushing, Manhattan, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Florida, San Francisco.
And this happened despite the fact that 100 million Americans had already voted early.
What’s going on? Where did this come from? The citizens are reclaiming ‘ownership’ of the country.
They believe that something very serious is at stake.
Probably the very future of the country. Probably the Republic itself. Each one certainly does not want to entrust America’s fate to the ‘other side,’ to the opposing party.
That is why he/she wants his/her own candidate to rule, not their opponent. He/She sees elections as a battle between two worlds. They have turned the elections into a referendum on a president.
One side sees the danger of a socialist, anarchic country, with a ruined economy, in which only
immigrants and internationalists, the elites, and college graduates benefit, and not themselves.
Those people want Fortress America, isolationism, and battles with our economic rivals to protect their jobs and their dignity.
They consider alliances with other countries unnecessary, extraneous to America’s interests,
unprofitable for the country, beneficial only to others.
The other side also sees the election of their opponent as disastrous for America. It knows that America is not perfect, that she has flaws and shortcomings, but that she also has principles, values, and institutions that made her a beacon to the world.
It sees in a victory by the incumbent unbridled corruption and rampant lying being consolidated,
becoming the means by which elections are won and power exercised.
It sees political violence spreading nightmarishly, becoming a tool, threatening holders of opposing views and minorities.
It reminds them of the nightmarish situations of 20th century Europe, like Germany’s Weimar Republic.
I have never seen such elections: Businesses boarding up their storefronts, sealing their doors and windows with plywood, turning themselves into fortresses for fear of violent incidents and looting by gangs.
I have never seen the White House fenced off with strong barriers one block from its entrance.
No, I have never seen such an election. With people so deeply divided. So much fear and worries about what might happen on election night and in the coming days.
There is even talk of a coup.
No, I have never seen such elections in America. I never imagined I would see them. And I hope I never see them again.