Long May It Wave, Charleston, SC - 2012
(Click on photo to enlarge.)
Today is Inauguration Day in the United States. Well, actually it was yesterday, January 20, but since the 20th fell on a Sunday, the public swearing-in ceremony will be held today. Once again we will peacefully swear in the leader of our country. Even in the 21st century, that's not as common as one might think.
Barack Obama won only 50.6% of the approximately 126 million votes cast. Obama's 62.6 million supporters amount to only 29% of the estimated 219 million eligible voters in this country, proving that those who show up make the decisions. (It's a shame that 93 million Americans decided that voting wasn't worth their time, ignoring a right and privilege that so many gave their lives to secure.) However, as many people don't seem to understand, including many in the national news media, Americans don't elect a President by popular vote, we have the electoral college system. There, President Obama won re-election by a decisive 332 - 206 margin over challenger Mitt Romney.
Many decry the fact that we don't elect our President by popular vote, and miss the genius of the electoral college. If our President was elected solely by a popular vote, candidates would only campaign where the most votes are. They would spend all their time, money, and attention on the big population states like California, New York, and Texas. States like Wyoming, Kansas, and Mississippi would never see or hear from a presidential candidate - there's not enough votes to make campaign stops in the less populous states worthwhile. The concerns of areas like where I live in western North Carolina would be all but ignored. With the electoral college system, however, candidates can't ignore anybody. Even states like Idaho, with a mere 4 electoral votes, can become a potential election turner. It's the electoral college, not the popular vote, that makes every American's vote count.
The peaceful transition of power. The rule of law instead the tyranny of the mob. Even if your preferred candidate fell short in the last election, these are the things we should celebrate every Inauguration Day.