Danny De Gracia: Cast Your Ballot, Then Let's Find A Way To Work Together - Honolulu Civil Beat

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About the Author

Danny de Gracia

Danny de Gracia is a resident of Waipahu, a political scientist and an ordained minister. Opinions are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Civil Beat's views. You can reach him by email at dgracia@civilbeat.org or follow him on Twitter at @ddg2cb.

For better or worse, we have finally come to the end of Election 2022. Tuesday is Election Day, and, once more, democracy will have her say.

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If you haven’t voted yet, then please cast that ballot so that you also can be part of determining the outcome. For those who have already voted, good for you – now the hardest part is just waiting to see all the votes counted and the results certified.

To be sure, we may like some of the results and be disappointed by others. There will be contests where the outcome will be precisely what we expected. There will be others where we may be utterly surprised and won’t be able to rationalize how one person won and another person lost.

We may feel the sting of defeat if we have donated large sums of money to a favored candidate, only to discover they lost. We may feel the exhilaration of victory because a candidate won who has promised to champion an issue or project we feel strongly about. There are a lot of things that can happen Tuesday evening, good and bad, that can change the atmosphere of Hawaii and flip things in ways we may or may not like.

But once we’ve all voted, once we’ve given our speeches and written our letters to the editor, and once we’re finally taking those campaign signs off our neighborhood fences, nothing can change the fact that we all still live in this small state and have to work together.

And that’s the hard part. In recent years, politics has become a crazy-making fest and we are all at each other’s throats like the kinds of divided factions that America’s founders warned us against becoming one day.

Here’s what Federalist Number 10 says in supporting the ratification of the newly written American Constitution:

“By faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”

If that doesn’t perfectly describe Hawaii, and indeed, America in 2022, I don’t know what does. I definitely can think of a number of people on both sides of the partisan aisle who are adverse to the rights of other citizens and the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

View of people votinng at Honolulu Hale before the 2022 general election.
Mail-in ballots were sent out last month. Voters have until 7 p.m. on Election Day to submit them. Voter Service Centers around the state also allow in-person voting. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

But we need to take a step back for a moment and try to make our democracy work. I know, I know, some of you are wagging your fingers at me, insisting that the United States of America is a constitutional republic, and it is. But thanks to our information society and the 24/7 social media and news complex, democratic power, that is, mass opinion – both for good and bad – influences everything and overrides traditional checks on our way of life.

And that is why, whether we are elected officials, partisan leaders, or private citizens, when this election is over, we need to find an intersection of agreement and an overlap of shared values in which we can work together to make Hawaii, and our United States, work.

To begin, we need to stop seeing people who politically disagree with us as the enemy, or as some mythical evil that must be resisted. You might find this hard to believe, but just because someone doesn’t vote the same way as you does not mean that they are bad people. We need to de-escalate our collective tensions and not view each other with hostility and suspicion.

Our society works best when both policymakers and private citizens are able to look past ideological dogmas and partisan branding to compromise and find ways to benefit the entire community. Even if you didn’t vote for the person who wins, I hope that you will consider politely and amicably discussing the things that matter most to you, and finding areas where agreement can be won and progress can be made.

If someone wins who we don’t like, we shouldn’t automatically resort to saying “the election was stolen” or “this person won because they are supported by a network of corrupt people.” I hate to break it to you, but sometimes people just get lucky (and sometimes voters just don’t show up). Whatever the case may be, we need to stop casting people we don’t like as somehow being frauds and people we do like as being gods. This is toxic, and it needs to stop.

And for elected officials, my hope is that our new leaders will work to be better at communicating and promoting transparency and openness with the public. Notice I said “communicating” not propagandizing. For too long we’ve become so focused on optics and perception and we’ve lost touch with integrity, accountability and the value of follow-up and follow-through on promises we’ve made.

How America used to function was we would run for office, share our ideas, but then when the votes were counted and our leaders selected, we would go to work, and we would work for everyone. We need to stop with the crazy-making behavior, stop with the constant picking of fights, stop with the shallow political preening, and find a way to live with each other and work together.

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, there is one thing that is even bigger than all of this that should motivate you, and that is we are all residents of Hawaii. We live here. This is our state. I hope you will vote in the election, and I wish you success in the things that you want to see win. But when Election Day is over, you need to help me, and I need to help you. This is our Hawaii.


Read this next:

Chad Blair: Liz Cheney, Tulsi Gabbard And The Future Of America


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About the Author

Danny de Gracia

Danny de Gracia is a resident of Waipahu, a political scientist and an ordained minister. Opinions are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Civil Beat's views. You can reach him by email at dgracia@civilbeat.org or follow him on Twitter at @ddg2cb.


Latest Comments (0)

I know that this article came out a couple days ago, but at 2:00 a.m. election night, I have to say that I'm very pleased with the national showing of The democrats. Looks like they will retain the Senate and perhaps even the house. There will be Court battles, of course by the Republicans because they are trained to be election deniers now if they don't win, but in the end, Democracy will win out.

Scotty_Poppins · 2 weeks ago

I agree with you Danny, unfortunately wasn't it Newt Gingrich that said "Whatever the Democrats want, vote no, even if its our own ideas." Republicans view politics like blood sport, a narco-mafia state does this. When Obama chose the right wing Heritage Foundations Medical policy, he was handing out a fig leaf to Republicans...70% of all Americans wanted single payer. Instead of a fig leaf...You trashed it, called it Obama-care and have not only de funded it, took out major portions of it rendering it pretty much useless, including internal fraud protection measures. If presidents do not get to replace justices in an election year, then Coney Barrett’s confirmation is illegitimate; if presidents do, then Gorsuch’s is illegitimate. You can’t have it both ways. "Back the Blue" unless they ask for a raise or go after white collar crime... De fund all other Federal Law enforcement arms. Branches that were to protect our water, our air, our children. Term limits...Except for Trump? If you can not point out hypocrisy or simple things like its wrong to make it illegal to provide water to people who waited all day to vote... how can we work together?

Zazou · 3 weeks ago

For two years you came after us with everything you got, and now we are all supposed to hold hands and act like it never happened? I don’t think so. It’s accountability time.

RedStateHawaii · 3 weeks ago

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