Democracy and Diversity

Democracy is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.”

Diversity is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.”.

People died so I could vote. It’s true – civil rights pioneers sacrificed life so that all Americans could have the opportunity to cast a ballot.  

It’s a controversial time in America right now. We are at the tail end of election season and on November 8th we will elect candidates to represent us and make decisions for our country, including a new president.

There are many who believe that unifying our country after these past few months is impossible. Even so, after November 8th, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will have to take on that task. Thus far, neither has made promises about bringing the country together as their predecessors did. Paul Waldman of The Week points out, “that’s what Barack Obama promised to do, and what George W. Bush promised to do, and what Bill Clinton promised to do. They all tried, at least to some degree [to unite the country]”. But is that truly possible when one candidate has said they may or may not accept the election results? Only time will tell.

Elections are “one of the underpinnings of American democracy”. As defined above, democracy at its core is about one population making decisions and everyone in that population accepting that decision. If we don’t hold true to our democratic values, is protecting diversity possible? After November 8th, a president is going to take control of our government based on the majority’s votes, but they are going to have to keep in mind that they need to maintain the preservation of diverse ideas and opinions throughout the nation.

Population diversity has been shifting and growing throughout the United States. Within the past 10 years, there have been demographic shifts. Two influential groups have emerged–a younger, more radically diverse group and an older and larger group. These voting blocs, who have very different interests, have changed the game for the two major parties during this election and will continue to affect future elections.

Analysts even say that the negativity of this election will affect our future, no matter what the outcome is on November 8th. Millennials watching the debates and the general lack of civility from both sides, feel discouraged from voting now and looking towards the future.

On the other hand, some voters like 102-year-old Jerry Emmett are giving people hope. Jerry was 6 when women won the right to vote. She remembers, “Even the men were happy and they were all cheering and we kids were running around there. We knew something good was happening.” Now 96 years later, Jerry got to cast her vote for the first woman who has ever won a major party’s nomination for president of the United States

America is coming up on a very big test. The next president will either choose to embrace diversity or attempt to squash it.