They Call It Democracy?

Watching Tuesday night’s U.S. election on TV, I realized that rarely if ever do I get my information any more from television news. I tune in now and again to see some breaking footage on offer but that’s it. I’m pretty sure I know why now.

Anyone following the campaign closely over the last couple weeks or so viewed the results as hardly surprising. President Barack Obama was re-elected with north of 300 Electoral College votes. Most of the swing states went the way polls suggested they would. Everything that challenger Mitt Romney needed to break his way in the hope of even starting to build the proverbial snowball in order to try and get it through hell didn’t. There would be no iconic Dewey Defeats Truman in 2012.

Network news organizations seemed to be the last ones to realize that. Or at least, the last ones to admit it.

Now, maybe they were doing the country a public service by playing up the whole down to the wire, neck-and-neck, it’s anybody’s race to win horserace. To publicly proclaim going into election night that it was all but a foregone conclusion might keep voters away, dampen any sense of obligation to exercise their democratic franchise.  Network news as noble citizens rather than simply purveyors of poorly scripted entertainment.

The real drama, at least from where I was situated, down in swing state Florida, a few miles north of Miami, were the line ups of people waiting to vote. There was talk of waits of 2, 3, 4 hours. People showing up before work but having to come back afterwards and still put in time in line. When I turned off the television, there were line-ups outside polling stations, four hours after the polls closed!

Having cast ballots in probably every election I’ve been eligible to vote in for more than 30 years, I think I can safely say I haven’t waited for 4 hours in total. Thriving democracies don’t make citizens wait four hours in order to vote. Banana republics do. Sure, slip ups occur occasionally. Mistakes happen. It just seems that in some places around the United States, delays and long wait times are simply the way the business of voting gets done. It’s hard to call it anything but what it is. Voter repression.

Refusing to deal with that fact diminishes the country’s entire democratic process.

Maybe the networks should’ve spent some time looking into that instead of pretending the election race was something it wasn’t.

dumbfoundedly submitted by Cityslikr