The Future of the Electoral College
I won’t change the world with one letter, but together many letters can make it better! I’ve posted an email below that I wrote and sent to members of the Electoral College today. If you have concerns about Tuesday’s votes, you can contact some of them via http://asktheelectors.org If you have additional links with email lists for electors, please share them in the comment section below.
One of my philosophies about human behaviour is that people tend to rise to the expectations we have in them. Perhaps that is one reason why children flourish in an encouraging environment. But adults also need encouragement and positivity. By believing in the best in others, we increase the likelihood of them acting on their highest intentions.
You may be asking yourself, why would I bother writing this if I don’t predict that one letter can change an outcome? It’s about communication, expression, and the promotion of education. Our individual experiences and perspectives need to be heard and taken into account when people in powerful positions make important decisions. Even if I cannot have the outcome of my choice, I aim to act according to my conscience, knowing many voices can effect a change collectively if we all speak up. This is how changes have been made throughout history: little actions that add up when we work together toward a common goal.
If this topic interests you, I posted a prediction about what I believe will be the future dismantling of the electoral college and superdelegates in a March 12th blog post.
My Letter to the Electoral College
We find ourselves bound together by an unprecedented moment in history. On the one hand, I’m sorry for you to be going through this experience, because I imagine you might be feeling pulled in many directions and burdened with an immense and perhaps unwanted responsibility. On the other hand, I’m glad it’s you, because I believe you will make the right decision on Tuesday.
Perhaps we can imagine a time beyond today, even some years into the future. A future where we will remember one pivotal moment in history when at least 37 Electors spoke up for what they believed in despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. There will probably be a musical made about you, perhaps something in the vein of Hamilton or 1776. Maybe they will call it 2016, or The 37. Or maybe it will be named after you. Someday you and your loved ones will watch a film based on a play about this moment of change, much as we do now with 1776. Except instead of the Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson or John Adams of 1776, the film will be about you. Well, let me correct that—in a way it’s also about Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, and all the founding and indigenous people of this country. Because, whether you want to be in that position or not, you have been elected to ensure the continuance of their legacy.
I can conceive of a day when you will look back on this week with immense pride at having made one of the toughest, yet most important, decisions of your lifetime. You will know what it is to be a hero. You might not want this role. You might not want this choice. But the show has already been cast and you are in the scene of a lifetime.These are the moments that great heroes are made of. Heroes don’t come about without a challenge. The greater the challenge, the more courage it takes to overcome it. Yet, the bigger the adversity, the greater the opportunity. This is far from an easy time, so the positive consequences of your actions are potentially immeasurable. Will you rise to the occasion? I think so. I see you as brave. And I am not alone.
You will be justified in your actions if and when you choose not to vote for Mr. Trump, supported by both legal rights and historical documents. As I’m sure you’re well aware, Alexander Hamilton said in his Federalist Papers: No. 68, “The Mode of Electing the President”, that the Electoral College should determine if:
1)…a candidate is qualified, and is not being chosen on the merit of fame alone: “Talents for…the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honours in a single State; but it will require other talents…to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President…” -Alexander Hamilton
2) …the candidate is free from corruption and conflicts of interest, so that he or she is free to serve only the interests of the American people: “…the Executive should be independent for his continuance in office on all but the people themselves…” -Alexander Hamilton
3) …and, most importantly, the candidate is independent from any foreign influence. “Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption…chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?” -Alexander Hamilton
Mr. Trump disqualifies himself from being elected on all three counts. You will be justified in joining many other electors, the will of a majority of the American people, the hope of most of the rest of the world, and even the posthumous wishes of Alexander Hamilton himself by not voting for Mr. Trump on December 19th, 2016.
I want to thank you in advance for the role you will be playing in service to our electoral process and in preserving our domestic and international safety, freedom of speech, press, religion, and our right to live in a healthy, sustainable environment. Were they here today, I am convinced that most of the people in every future generation, and many of those who have gone before us, would want to thank you, too.
I hope you feel encouraged, supported, and understood at this demanding time. And if you don’t, please reach out and address the public through press and/or social media to let us know what you need to feel safe and supported. Know that millions of us in the U.S. and possibly billions in the world are here behind you, cheering you on, and ready if necessary to defend your rights and decisions as an elector. You carry the burden but also the gift of leaving behind a great legacy to the world. I am praying for you and for the future of our country.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”-Gandhi
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