The power of the ballot box

By: By Mac McPhail - Contributing columnist

Well, I was right about one thing. I told people that the sun would still come up Wednesday morning, and it did. The skies were cloudy, but the sun was still up there, somewhere. But I was definitely wrong with another prediction. Yes, I believed all the polls and the so-called experts, and thought Donald Trump had little chance of being elected president of the United States.

I should have seen it coming. While working at the polls during the early voting period in Roseboro, I noticed a trend. In 2008, I saw many African Americans registering to vote. This was in advance of Barak Obama’s historic election. This year, I saw many more white voters registering to vote for the first time. From observing that, I thought that Donald Trump had a good chance to win North Carolina. But nationwide, no way. Why? Because the “experts” said so. And they had the polls to prove it. (Whether you are happy about the Trump win or not, isn’t it fun seeing the “experts” get embarrassed every once and a while?)

So, Donald Trump is now going to be president. What does that mean for America? Well, it’s like what a Trump voter told me. He said, “It could be good. But it could be bad. But, one thing for sure, it won’t be the same.”

There is one idea I heard several times while working at the polls during this uncertain election year. I heard it from young voters and old voters. I heard it from black voters and white voters. It was simply, that no matter who wins, God is in control. That’s when I would agree and say something about the sun would still come up Wednesday morning, no matter what. Trump’s victory may have caught the “experts” by surprise, but God was not shocked.

Here’s a request to those who have said it; let your actions show that you believe it. Let your words and actions show in whom you are trusting. Psalm 146:3 states, “Do not trust in princes, nor in a son, in whom there is no help.” Am I really trusting in God, or am I actually placing my faith in the hands of those in political power?

But it’s not just actions, but it is also attitude. Should we have an attitude of gloom and doom over the future of our country? Not if we believe that an all-powerful, all-knowing, and loving God is in control. Later in Psalm 146, the psalmist writes, “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” (v.5)

Late one afternoon, I was helping an older gentleman with his ballot during Early Voting. (He had requested help.) While working through the ballot, he commented, “This makes me feel important.” I told him, “With that ballot in your hand, you’re just as important as any other person who walks through that door.” And that’s the power of the ballot box. The “experts” can have their opinions. The pollsters can crunch their numbers. But the voters and their ballots have the final say.

John Adams, the second president of the United States, tends to get ignored. I suppose being the second president, stuck between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, makes it easy to be overlooked. But we should pay attention to the writings of one of the Founding Fathers and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. And a warning Adams wrote early in the history of this nation is timely for us in these interesting, but uncertain, times.

He was addressing us when he wrote, “Posterity! (the future generations) You’ll never know how much it cost the present generation (his generation) to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it!” Let us make good use of it. John Adams’ generation, and generations since, have paid too big of a price for us to do otherwise.

Mac McPhail McPhail

By Mac McPhail

Contributing columnist

Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at

Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at