Note from Norm: The Consequences of Elections
Americans will continue to debate the wisdom of the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade for years. Those, like myself, who believe that the 50-year-old ruling made in 1973 providing a constitutional right to abortion was the wrong decision are grateful that the right decision has now been made by the Supreme Court.
Yet, this post isn’t specifically about a ruling made 50 years ago or one made recently.
On the contrary, this post is about the concept that, in the United States of America, elections have consequences. No matter what your political belief, whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican or an Independent – or a liberal, conservative or a moderate – elections have always had consequences.
We live in a nation where voting matters and where the outcome of an election has an impact on our lives. The policies that are proposed and implemented at every level of government in America represent the outcome of who is elected to office.
Throughout my life I have voted for people for public office who have won, and others who have lost. Those who won have carried forth the policies and initiatives they outlined during their campaigns and for myself, and those who voted for the successful candidate, I was pleased with the outcome.
I’ve also voted for people who have lost their campaigns and they moved forwarded to pursue policies that I did not support when I chose to support their opponent.
I accepted those defeats; in the same way I accepted my own personal defeat at the polls in my campaign for Governor and the United States Senate. I accepted the fact that more people wanted the other candidate to represent their views, interests, and perspectives in those respective offices than me.
Admittedly, the disappointment I feel when my candidate for office loses is real. So, too, was my own personal disappointment when I lost my own campaign for public office. Yet, at the end of the day, my obligation as an American is to accept the outcome of the election and, if I feel strongly enough about the issues that my losing candidate supported I have a couple of choices.
I can accept that defeat and check out. Or, I can accept the defeat and try the next time to get my candidate elected to office to better reflect my views, beliefs, and perspectives.
I have written often about my frustration with the local officials in St. Paul, Minnesota as well as Minnesota’s Governor as they pursue policies that I fundamentally disagree with and believe cause more harm to our community than good. I have written similarly about politics and policies on a national level.
Despite the fact that the candidates I have supported and voted for were not successful, and as a result, the policies of their opponents are prevailing , it is my obligation to continue to support and vote for candidates who represent a different viewpoint and ideology than those who currently hold office if I care enough about those issues.
In 2020 my candidate for President lost to Joe Biden. As a result of that defeat Joe Biden, and the Democrats who now hold both houses of Congress, were free to pursue the policies and initiatives that were supported by the millions of other Ameri/can voters who felt their policies were better than the candidates for public office I voted for in the election.
I have been clear that I do not support most of the policies of this President and the Democrats who control Congress. I respect the choice of my fellow Americans who do, but I remained committed to a different course of action for the country in the next election.
In 2016 when Donald Trump became President Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and began to pursue policies that reflected the will of the voters who elected them to their respective offices. In 2018, Republicans lost control of the House while maintaining control of the United States Senate and Donald Trump remained President.
Those elections brought with them the ability for President Trump and a Republican controlled Senate to nominate and approve the appointment of Justices Barrett, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and creating a 6-3 conservative majority court.
The consequences of those elections in 2016 and 2018 have now manifested themselves in the Supreme Court ruling that Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional. A ruling based on a clear and unambiguous reading of the Constitution by Justices who were nominated and approved by elected officials who previously committed to supporting Justices who believed in a clear and unambiguous reading of the Constitution.
We are a nation of laws and a nation where the ballot box, not bullets, determines the future direction and governance of our country from local, state to national elections. Every single one of those elections, at every level, has consequences from education policy to human resources policy to tax policy to defense policy and everything in between.
We, as Americans, have choices as to what direction we want our country to take. We have had this choice since our nation was conceived. While too many Americans had to wait too long to have equal access to the polling booth there is not an American citizen today who does not share the right to participate in their Democracy.
In doing so they have the right to choose the direction of their country. While I may not rejoice at the outcome of an election in which my candidate for public office did not succeed and that the policies of their opponent who did win are not those that I embrace, I do rejoice in the system of government that allowed me the freedom and liberty to participate with my vote.
I rejoice in the same system of government that allows me the freedom and liberty to do so again, the next election, in the hope that my vote in support of my candidate will be enough to carry them to victory.
And if successful the consequences of that election outcome will be policies that I support and believe are best for my family and my country.
Your vote is your voice. It represents the clearest manifestation of your belief in the future of our country.
Win or lose elections have consequences.