“Divided States of America”

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas - The Freeman

The votes are still being counted. Trump and his supporters are calling for a stop to counting while Biden has asked all to be patient and wait until all votes are counted. Who will finally end up with the magic 270 electoral votes?

Up to this writing, the 2020 election results continue to be nail-biting. Perhaps, by the time you are reading this on Saturday morning, Philippine time, the next US president will have been confirmed? That is, if all the votes will have been counted. However, if Trump succeeds with his lawsuits to stop counting in certain areas, then the drama of the 2020 elections is far from the end.

Along the road to 270, several obvious developments:

The United States of America is now being tagged as the Divided States of America with blue and red walls splitting the American people. Within states, the blue and red walls confirm the rift among voters. Will the next elected president move to restore the unity of the American people despite diversity of election choices? Or will the next president stoke even more the fires of divisiveness, scorn the opposition, and gloat in the victory of their party, rather than consider his triumph as that of the whole nation?

Trump supporters are decrying what they consider are election fraud. Defenders of those who volunteered to manually, painstakingly, honestly count each vote are adding their voices as well. Within streets, protesters are divided into blue and red zones.

As of yesterday, the divided zones and states have remained peaceful. Will the peace hold out or will violence erupt?

The red and blue demarcations have also entered homes, with family members split in terms of their candidates. Will the election results unite or divide not only states and localities but even homes?

Several other historic milestones as well worth noting about this 2020 US elections: 1.) The biggest number of voters recorded - more than 100 million Americans cast their votes physically in polling areas or through mail (allowed because of the COVID pandemic); 2.) “A number of diversity firsts in down-ballot races across the country with many candidates from underrepresented backgrounds elected to serve at state and local levels - New Mexico became the first state ever to elect all women of color to the House while Tennessee elected the first openly LGBTQ politicians to serve in the state general assembly.”

Some lessons from the 2020 US elections are also worth mentioning.

Many now have a better understanding not only of the geography but of the voting preferences of counties and states within this country! Many now have a deeper knowledge about changing or unchanging voter preferences of states and counties from the past to this present election, whether voters and areas changed, flipped, or remained loyal to the same party color: blue or red.

The globality of this event – CNN reported 116 million viewers 13 hours before this article was written. Until today, Americans are not the only ones tuned in to know how this drama will end. The whole world awaits how this suspenseful US 2020 election spectacle will end! All are one in wishing for this historic event to end soonest, with the next president announced finally!

Filipinos may wish to reflect on the value of manual counting of ballots by a secure network of volunteers, watchers, and supervisors per locality. Should we insist on, demand manual counting to replace the problematic machine system experienced in the last elections?

As early as now, the Filipino people and Comelec should decide on a more secure system that honors, allows each vote to be counted correctly throughout the country.

Also, please remember to register as your vote counts!


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