“The most important office, and the one which all of us can and should fill, is that of private citizen.” ~ Louis Brandeis
You’ve got to vote, vote, vote, vote. That’s it; that’s the way we move forward. ~ Michelle Obama
If we don’t vote, we are ignoring history and giving away the future. ~ Pat Mitchell
“If we break the United States of America, it won’t be that easy to put it back together again.” ~ Jon Meacham (Note: Professor Meacham’s new presidential biography is, And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle.)
It’s time to vote again! Election Day is on Tuesday, November 8. Let’s not make this the last legitimate American election, shall we?
Going To The Polls
If you haven’t yet voted, what are you waiting for?!
Early voting has begun, is in progress or has ended in many states. For more voting information in your state, including registration status and deadlines, early and mail-in voting, polling places, ballot information and more, go to VOTE411. While Election Day is next Tuesday, why wait until the last minute when you have the opportunity to get this done early to ensure nothing will crop up at the last minute to interfere with your going to the polls? That’s the great thing about early voting!
The Department of Justice advises voters who feel they are being intimidated when they go to vote, either during early voting, dropping off their ballot at a drop box or on Election Day should call 911 to alert their local police. Then they should call this toll-free number: 800-253-3931. Violations of the American Disabilities Act should be reported to: 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).
One way to help other voters get to the polls is to offer to drive people to their polling places. Older voters who need rides may check with their neighbors, senior citizen centers, local Board of Elections or the campaign office of one of the candidates for whom they’ll be voting (the latter usually has volunteers who are happy to drive voter to the polls to vote for their candidates!).
A helpful site for general voting inquiries, including transportation options, for older or disabled Americans is the Administration for Community Living (ACL).
Other helpful sites include Plan Your Vote and Vote.org.
This is no time to be coy. We find ourselves getting deeper in the autocracy hole rather than digging ourselves out, and tyranny is rearing its ugly head.
You may have noticed that running for office — for Congress and key state offices of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and attorney general as well as state and county legislatures, judgeships and other important local offices — are a number of people who have been denying the 2020 presidential election results and who have connections to or who do not object to the January 6, 2021 attack on our capitol. Some of these same people have indicated that they will not accept the results of the upcoming election unless they are the winners, further undermining the Constitution.
I, for one, cannot imagine voting for candidates to be in charge of our government who are the very ones that have encouraged the overthrow of the government, and continue to deny the rule of law and civilized norms ! We need serious people who are honorable, honest, empathetic, competent and dependable, and who believe in democracy rather than tyranny.
Having come of age during the Vietnam conflict and the Watergate scandal, and based on the decades I have spent training high school and college students to navigate the workplace in a professional manner, and in light of the events of the past several years, following are my views on the critical issues in this election:
Preservation of American Democracy – If you are not okay with the violent January 6, 2021, insurrection and ongoing threats of more violence against government officials that are perceived to be political enemies, and believe our country is in danger of losing its democracy — get out and vote!
Voting Rights / Election Protection – If you believe that there are forces afoot that not only seek to prevent us from voting, but also to invalidate our votes once we cast them, which would effectively end government by, of and for The People — get out and vote!
Women’s Reproductive Rights – If you believe that the government has no business deciding for women what they must do with their reproductive organs, and prosecuting them in the extreme if they disobey to save their lives or pursue the life they want, and even preventing them from using any form of contraception, thereby relegating them back to second-class citizenship – get out and vote!
Climate Change / The Environment – If you believe that controlling climate change and having a healthy environment is important to preserve our planet and ensure that we have clean air and water and a safe food supply – get out and vote!
Gun Control Legislation To Reduce Crime – If you believe that sensible and effective gun legislation will reduce crime on the streets and protect our children from gun violence in their schools – get out and vote!
Supreme Court Reform – If you are concerned about (1) recent decisions of the new Republican-engineered far-right SCOTUS and reports that it is poised to gut more previous decisions, such as voting rights, marriage equality and affirmative action and weaken other critical laws, such as the Clean Water Act and (2) the situation involving an associate justice who has not recused himself from cases in which his spouse has taken an active role, such as planning to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and if you are in favor of exploring ways to reform the Court to make it accountable for its actions – get out and vote!
Social Security / Medicare – It’s no secret that since Social Security was established under FDR and Medicare under LBJ that the Republicans have been trying to scuttle both programs. And that’s what they are prepared to do right now if they gain control of Congress, rather than working out a bipartisan solution to keep Social Security solvent. If you want to preserve Social Security for current recipients as well as generations to come – get out and vote!
Education Freedom and Protection – If you disapprove of banning books in schools and radicalized parents verbally attacking and threatening school board members; agree that schools are places for children to learn facts, uncensored history and critical thinking; and believe that parents should be involved in their children’s educations to broaden, not narrow, their horizons – get out and vote!
Immigration – If you believe that America is a melting pot that welcomes immigrants, as eloquently described by former President Ronald Reagan, and requires sensible, effective and humane immigration policy, are aware that illegal immigrants tend to have a lower crime rate than the general population and generally improve the U.S. economy; and agree that bipartisan efforts are needed to find a resolution to this historically challenging situation – get out and vote!
The Economy – If you believe that the present economy is a global problem caused by an unprecedented confluence of a historic pandemic, consumer spending fluctuations, supply chain shortages, the Russian war against Ukraine and shameful record high corporate profits at the expense of the country; and if you are aware that the current Democratic Administration and majority in Congress have passed historic bills that will bring a bright future on not only for the economy but for environmental and personal safety; have created jobs, increased wages, and lowered gas prices through releasing oil from the reserves and calling for emergency oil drilling on public lands (which has been ignored by the big oil companies), and raised interest rates which are expected to cool inflation by next year; and if you do not want to erase all this progress and worsen the economy by restoring tax cuts for wealthy corporations and individuals and cutting Social Security – get out and vote!
As we go to the polls, the division among Americans and our states is the worst it’s been since the Civil War era. In this environment a most distressing and shocking development is that of the intimidation and persecution of poll workers. Poll workers! They are a staple of our democracy. In the ‘burbs and rural American, poll workers are often our neighbors that manage familiar and comforting polling places such as our local schools and churches. In the cities, while we might not know them personally, poll workers represent the normal and honorable. Never in my life have I ever feared going to vote, nor could I ever imagine that poll workers would fear doing their jobs. But in the world we live in right now. The shocking reality is that violence is spreading everywhere — beyond our Capital Building and polling places to the street, workplaces and even our homes. And social media outlets often facilitate fanning the flames that drive the violence. This situation cannot stand.
The economy will get better; it is a temporary condition. But our democracy, well, that is our foundation. Without the foundation of our democracy, none of the other issues will matter because we will no longer have a say in our government. We will have sham elections, just like other autocratic countries, with autocrats deciding who will govern — or more to the point, dictate.
Our country has been in dangerous situations at times in its history. The Civil War immediately comes to mind. But here were other times, as well, and somehow American has managed to survive. We are at a watershed moment again, and if we want to preserve our freedom and way of life, it’s all hands on deck. We know that our ballots are stronger than bullets, but only if Americans vote between now and Election Day, November 8. Otherwise, this could well be the last time that We the People will be able to use the power of our vote. Simply put, if we don’t use it, we could lose it. And, then, we would lose everything.
It’s time to stand up and be counted.
Until next time,