For more than a year now, the national media has been awash with news and speculation about who would be elected president in 2012. For many weeks, front yards, mailboxes, televisions and telephones in Utah have been inundated with messages extolling the virtues and condemning the faults of candidates for federal, state and local office.
Tomorrow it ends. And how it ends is in your hands.
Except for the many energetic voters who have already visited an early voting location, or submitted their ballots by mail, Tuesday is Election Day. All the campaigning, all the spending, all the charges and counter-charges, lies and claims, accusations and denials, have been aimed to this day, to this opportunity for all of the people of America to make their wishes known as to who will sit at the levers of power for the next two, four and six years.
As dirty and unending as the campaign season has seemed, people could be forgiven if they thought that participating in it in any way would be to lower themselves into the reprehensible practice of modern politics.
Don't give in to that feeling. The cure for what's wrong with American democracy is more democracy. More people involved. More people informed. More people actually voting.
If participation does fall any further, and voter turnout in America is already among the lowest in the free world, then more and more decisions will be made by fewer and fewer people. A small electorate in a large country would be made up of the true believers, the extremists, the ones who think compromise is a vice and cooperation a sign of weakness.
The danger of our electoral politics being bought and paid for by big-monied interests, the threat that followed the U.S. Supreme Court's tragic Citizens United ruling, only grows when normal, fair-minded folk remove themselves from the body politic and cede the field to those whose only voter preparation is to spend more time listening to the slanted radio programs and reading the partisan websites that do not open minds but confirm long-standing prejudices of all sorts.
The speech about how many nations around the world today, and many generations of our ancestors, would be so envious of the average American's right to vote is appropriate now. So is a more modern version, a sad tale of active voter-suppression efforts in a handful of states that conspire to turn the poor and minority voters away from the polls.
Voting in Utah is not hard. And many fine public servants and volunteers have labored long and hard to make it so.
So, now, it is your turn. Vote.