An Exchange With the Electoral College
One moment, I was skimming through my Facebook feed. The next, I was writing a letter to the entire Electoral College. (Dang, I can't believe that's actually a thing! People, we live in the future!) After I wrote my message, the site asked if I'd like to ping a group of electors via email.
I mean, when someone offers you the chance to go to Dagobah, you go. Sure, I replied.
Within seconds, I had a couple auto-responses in my inbox. Here's an exchange between one Texas elector and me (you'll see my intial message in a moment).
Re: I'd Like to Voice My Concerns
I am sorry that, because I have received more than 100,000 emails, I can no longer personally respond to you. I gave up after about 1200. Given that the content is fairly universal, I am comfortable offering this universal response.
Thank you for your communication and for your passion for the Republic. I prefer writers to rioters.
Several things merit mentioning. First, you have every right to lobby an elector. I delight in receiving this type of communication from a fellow American.
Second, this is not a pure democracy, it is a republic. The corollary to that fact is that even if the majority did rule, and it does not, there was no absolute majority winner in this election.
Third, the Electoral College does not exist in order to give you a "do over" because you don't like the results; it exists to preserve the nature of the republic.
Finally, your feelings notwithstanding, it is not my duty to care one whit what the plurality or majority of Americans want. My job is to represent the decision of the winning party in the Texas Presidential election.
It's not that your feelings don't matter at all, they just don't matter here. The law and U.S. Constitution do.
For those who believe I should change my vote to HRC because of your intense feelings about Donald Trump, surely you must know that for every person who feels you have elected the worst person to ever hold the office, there is another who would have felt exactly the same that had we elected HRC: that she is unfit for office and her husband has committed multiple sexual assaults.
Nevertheless, I think it safe to say, my good citizen, you would not have agreed with electoral nullification of a Clinton victory. Nor would I.
This is why we have elections.
If you disagree with the electoral college concept, and some do, you have the opportunity to amend the constitution. But elector nullification is not the answer.
I will vote my conscience. You need have no fear. I have never intended to do anything more or less.
Please allow me to illustrate my point with an analogy from America's favorite pastime, baseball. In the 1960 World Series the Pirates beat the Yankees 4 games to three. But, the Yankees scored a total of 55 runs while the Pirates could only muster 27 total runs.
Unfair? No, those are the rules of baseball. We choose the winner of the World Series by number of games won, regardless of the disparity of the total runs. If the rules were different, teams would strategize differently and the result would likely be different. That the Yankees outscored the Pirates in 1960, or that the Cubs tied the Indians in runs scored this year, is nothing more than an interesting statistic.
In a Presidential campaign, if the rules were different, candidates would strategize differently and the result would likely be different. Donald Trump won according to the rules. Everything else, including the popular vote, is merely an interesting statistic.
Indirect election of the chief executive is the rule under parliamentary forms of government. No one in Canada or the United Kingdom votes for Prime Minister. The election is indirect.
In closing, I am delighted that many are reading the Federalist Papers. I've been reading them for twenty years. They are a fascinating insight into the minds of the framers of the Constitution, aren't they? The Anti-Federalist papers, from which came the Bill of Rights, are equally educational. I recommend them for your reading also.
Yes, I agree with Hamilton in Federalist 68. No, I do not believe that the election of Donald Trump rises to that level. Consequently, to those who would have me vote for some Republican other than Trump, I decline for the same reason.
If you have read this far you deserve my thanks, and to know that I do browse for responses. I read them and sometimes respond personally as time allows.
May God bless America and may God bless the great state of Texas.
The following may interest, enrage or encourage you:
And for those who think the country has never been in worse condition or that we are on the brink of civil war: http://sandstormscholar.com/?p=15899
"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes." Psalm 118.9
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Inasmuch as the Electoral College does the business of the People I consider all communications to be the property of the People and may publish some or all without notice to the sender. Threats, and I've received more than one, are forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
By responding to this email you are waiving your right to any privacy or remedy. By responding to this email, for the consideration of me reading your email, you are giving consent for me to publish, disseminate, or otherwise distribute any information contained for any purposes I deem appropriate. If you do not consent to this condition, then please do not reply.
I have to admit, I was intrigued. The man made a compelling argument. Not one I necessarily agreed with, but certainly one I could understand. Maybe even more intriguing to me was how loyal he was to Texas. Don't get me wrong, I like my state and I'm happy to call it home. But pride? Loyalty? I'm not sure I've felt much of either of those about anything, except marching band.
Re: Re: I'd Like to Voice My Concern
Alicia again. As you mentioned you peruse responses to your letter (which I found quite compelling! Thank you for such a well-thought response) I wanted to at least resend my original message, as your note didn't quite touch on it. Funny enough, in a way I suppose it did when you mentioned voting with your conscious, but I'd still like to note these thoughts if I may:
It's hard to write to you, because I really don't know who you are — I don't know where you're from, what matters to you, how you came to your beliefs, or even how you were placed on the electoral college. I just know you're one of the people in charge of what happens to me, the country, and the world over the next four years.
I've spent a lot of free time in the past few weeks trying to put myself in your shoes. What must it feel like to be in the middle of such a hotly contested, extremely close presidential race when the actual fate of the country rests in your hands? I can only imagine the anxiety and stress you're having right now, whether you know who you're going to cast your vote for, or not.
Telling you who to vote for feels, well, patronizing. You are a well-read adult. You're graced with intelligence, critical thought, and a healthy dose of passion for our country. And I want to continue to leave that power to you, as part of the many of checks and balances we've set up. So instead of listing my concerns, and making a suggestion, I'd like to say this: Please don't be afraid to go against what you "should" or "are supposed to" do in order to cast a vote that is for the good of the people. Going against what is expected is the epitome of bravery, and I know it takes a lot to make that choice. (For what it's worth, I think we're at "a lot.")
I wish you the very best, and I hope you take a moment to reflect on not just what everyone else expects of you or wants from you, but what you expect and want for us.
Thank you for your time and consideration, I appreciate and respect the role you serve in our electoral process.
Lo and behold, he responded almost instantly:
Re: Re: Re: I'd Like to Voice My Concern
Intelligence and civility will get my attention every time. Thank you. I did read your email as a result of your second note.
Know that I'm a rebel. A maverick. The kind of guy who runs for the chairmanship of electors against the state party's wishes.
That said, we see this election differently. I am, however, in love with the American people and their courteous engagement in the process has been energizing to me.
When people like you, Alicia, write a personal note, I'm encouraged and flattered. I'm also reminded that this is a big responsibility that others care about.
There will be a time when this nation calls on patriots like us and the foundation of civility in disagreement that we establish now will serve us well in the future.
Your fellow American.
I wrote one final time to thank him.
Re: Re: Re: Re: I'd Like to Voice My Concern
Thank you so much for your response. While we do see this election differently, I one-hundred percent believe that's a good thing and perhaps the best course of action any of us can ever take is to not lose the lines of respectable communication and treat one another like not just humans, but Americans.
And there we had it. I was amazed at how BIG this small exchange felt. Like each of us were part of some underground club, so underground we didn't know we were both members because no one wants to admit to being members of the I'm Polite On Purpose And When No One is Looking Club (next Northern California meeting TBA).
In fact, he made such an impression I took his words to heart. Well, not all of his words. But the signature on his last email stuck with me: "Your Fellow American."
I couldn't stop thinking about those last words. Reading them made me feel, well...included. And maybe I don't want to belong in his belief system, but I do want him and I to coexist, and to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
Hence the name of this...blog? Project? Thing. Hence the name of whatever the heck this thing is that Tami and I are doing.