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By Mr. Curmudgeon:
Fox News was televising a Wisconsin campaign rally, with Mitt Romney speaking to an enthusiastic crowd. At one point, the throng of supporters interrupted his speech with chants of, “Four more days, four more days,” referring to the waning hours of the Obama administration.
A local news report said that early voting might account for 40% of election 2012’s national tally and that early voters in Florida’s Dade County waited four hours to exercise their franchise. Worse still, they said Tuesdays’ voting crowds might be the largest in U.S. history.
That’s when I grabbed my hat, a bottle of water and headed to the polls.
I thought of Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1835 book Democracy in America as I stood in a long line Friday to participate in early voting where I live in Florida. “The people reign over the American political world as God rules over the universe,” he wrote.
Tocqueville noted that American politicians “must haunt the taverns, drink and argue with the mob; that is what is called Electioneering in America.”
And that was certainly the case while I waited in line to vote: candidates for mayor, school board and clerk of the county court moved down the line, pressing the flesh.
A forest of political signs advocating on behalf of candidates for all offices and from all parties, surrounded the building. The signs for Romney/Ryan were plentiful. Those for Obama/Biden were pitiful – I counted only two.
The women electioneering on behalf of Mitt Romney were confident and beaming, sitting at their table with brochures and a bulletin board showing Romney’s lead in early voting around the nation.
The two men at President Obama’s table looked sour and crestfallen – and no one walked over to them … even to ask the time. That the men in question looked like gruff union goons might explain the public’s reluctance to speak with them … or make eye contact.
It took me nearly an hour to make it into the building that mostly serves as a public library. The crowd, which was friendly and talkative, became silent and reverent as they waited their turn to present identification to precinct workers before receiving their ballot and entering the voting booth.
The late columnist for the Kansas City Star, Bill Vaughan, once wrote, “A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election.”
It’s too bad Vaughan isn’t here to witness the heroic acts of freedom-loving individuals determined to end a corrupt and destructive presidency so as to preserve a system of liberty and justice worth dying for.