Beginning Oct. 27, a week from Thursday, and continuing through Nov. 3, Carroll County voters will be able to participate in early voting. Our county's only early voting station is the Westminster Senior Center on Stoner Avenue, during the hours from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.

There are several advantages to early voting: you have great flexibility to choose a convenient time, and you will most likely avoid a long waiting line. You'll also have the satisfaction of participating in America's most important privilege of citizenship. Our votes select the men and women who will hold the reins of power in both houses of Congress and in the White House. And you really cannot afford to sit this one out. We will have the unusual opportunity to fill seats for a senator and a congressperson representing much of Carroll County. And the 2016 presidential election is will be one of the most consequential in our lifetimes.

Advertisement

The most important reason to vote is to assure that the results are legitimate. The greater the turnout, the more the new president will be able to unify the country.

Whoever is elected will preside over a nation more divided than at any time since the Civil War. The winner will be the most disliked and distrusted president-elect in American history, with little chance of cooperation between the president and Congress. If Hillary Clinton is elected, there is a fair chance she will have to deal with Republicans controlling at least one house. If the last eight years are any indicator of things to come, Congressional Republicans are sure to dedicate themselves with religious fervor to one and only one cause, making Clinton a one-term president, no matter what the cost to the country. The gridlock of the last six years will seem like puppies at play in comparison to the dogfights we can expect, and I doubt that Democrats would give President Donald Trump much different from what President Obama received. A large voter turnout will strengthen the president-elect's hand in working with Congress.

Apart from the personal problems Trump has brought upon himself by his attacks on the women accusing him of sexual predation, all of his public statements since the Access Hollywood tapes undermine public confidence in the government and the electoral process. No American institution is safe from his tantrums. In the past weeks, he went after the Republican Party, the press and Clinton's integrity. The impact of his incessant, baseless accusations of collusion between the press and Wall Street to support Clinton, and especially his war on the Republican party and its leaders, damage those institutions.

Should Clinton become our next president, Trump can help the country by quickly and clearly accepting the outcome and offering to support her. On the other hand, he can continue to vilify the electoral process. Imagine that he refuses to concede defeat and blames his loss on a rigged election. How would his supporters respond to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Clinton looking for bipartisan solutions to the many problems our country faces? Would any of them turn to "Second Amendment remedies," as Trump supporter Sharron Angle once suggested? It could happen. Last week, the Boston Globe wrote, "If Trump doesn't win, some [of his supporters] are even openly talking about violent rebellion and assassination." Also, the FBI announced it had broken up a right-wing militia's plans to blow up a Muslim neighborhood in Kansas the day after the election. Do you think that Trump's repeated condemnations of Muslims, his us-versus-them mentality, his declaring, "Frankly we're having a problem with Muslims" might have influenced those militiamen's thoughts? We know that at least one of the three men the FBI apprehended is a Trump supporter.

When the Supreme Court decided the 2000 election, Al Gore accepted its ruling, assuring that none would question George Bush's legitimacy as president. Should Trump lose, he can follow Gore's example; he could also continue with his incendiary rhetoric. The surest and best way to insure domestic tranquility, no matter which candidate wins, is for all of us to get out and vote.

Mitch Edelman writes from Finksburg. Email him at mjemath@gmail.com.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement