Election 2012: The people speak

On Tuesday, Nov. 6 American voters will choose the president for the next four years. (Neighborhood Centers/Flickr/Creative Commons License)

 

Today, the people speak.

After the billions of dollars raised and spent, after the debates and gaffes, after the frenzied final pitches, Election Day 2012 is upon us.

Throughout the country, in gymnasiums and schools and funeral homes and bowling alleys and pools halls, citizens who are at least 18 years and have registered to vote will step into a ballot box and make their decision.

This private act is one of our democracy’s most basic and fundamental rights.

Originally the province of propertied white men, the vote has gradually been extended to those whom the Constitution originally excluded.

Black men in 1870.

Women in 1920.

And many Native Americans in 1924.

In 1965, after protesters marched and even gave their lives, the government passed the Voting Rights Act that outlawed discriminatory voting practices.

Each of these decisions moved our country closer to the lofty promises enshrined in its founding documents.

Yet, even with that progress, our democracy is far from perfect.

Even during the election of 2008, when enthusiasm and inspiration gripped the land, more than one third of eligible voters did not exercise this right.

In this election, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizen’s United case that has led to the creation of “SuperPACs” into which the wealthy can funnel unlimited sums of money as a further dilution of our nation’s democratic fabric.

Many, too, have found the two major candidates wanting.

The Barack Obama of 2008 who issued soaring and transformative rhetoric of hope and change has been replaced by an attack first incumbent who at critical moments appeared that he did not truly want the job.

Mitt Romney’s six-year quest to become president foundered with the release of the now infamous “47 percent” video in which he appeared to show contempt for close to half of the American people.

The quadrennial questions of the winner takes all Electoral College have resurfaced.  Under this system, less than a dozen states attract the lion’s share of the candidates’ time, energy and attention.

These flaws are all real and significant.

And yet.

As Winston Churchill famously said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Beyond that, today is the moment of truth from which a winner will emerge and a leader will be chosen.

We at Hoy will be all around Chicago throughout the day and into the evening.

This will mark our most extensive election coverage to date.

On the Spanish side, Leticia Espinosa will be out in the communities, Jaime Reyes will be at McCormick Place and Octavio Lopez will be covering breaking news.

You can follow all the latest coverage.

In English, Azra Halilovic will speak with voters to hear their perspective.  I will do so, too, and, like Jaime, will also be at McCormick Place.

Our videographers Sam Vega and Roger Morales will be darting around the city, moving from polling stations to the hotel where Romney supporters will watch the results.

Today, the people speak.

And we will be there to listen, to record, to document, to analyze and to share.



El autor

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein es Editor de Bases de Datos e Investigaciones Vívelohoy

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