Dewey by a Landslide
To listen to some pollsters and pundits today, Obama has the election sewn up and is writing his inaugural address. Other polls have the election seesawing back and forth according to each day’s headlines. We New Yorkers live in one of the bluest of blue states. That is good news for biology teachers and their students, but bad news for supporters of Republican candidates. America’s unique electoral college system makes it worse. No matter how narrow the margin of victory, the winning candidate walks off with all of New York’s electoral votes, and New York has one of the largest numbers of electoral votes. That is how George W. Bush won the election in 2000 while garnering fewer popular votes than Al Gore, and how Benjamin Harrison defeated Grover Cleveland. It is tempting for supporters of John McCain to think that their votes don’t count and stay home. That would be a big mistake. Two clichés bear repeating here, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” and “The only poll that counts is the one on Election Day.” Something similar operates in halakha: If you give up hope of finding a lost object, you’ve lost the object even if it’s found; the finder is absolved of his obligation to return it.
Get off your butts next week and go to the polls. Vote for McCain, vote for Obama, write in Donald Duck, but vote. Doing otherwise mocks the sacrifice of better men and women than we, those who fought and died, and who continue to be in harm’s way, so that we could vote. Billions of people around the world do not have that privilege. More will have it if America sees the present struggle through to victory. The world is a smaller place now than ever before. A tyrant on the other side of the world is a danger to our freedom, especially if he controls extensive natural resources. So vote as if your life depends on it. It just might.