I think we need to do something comforting, pleasurable each election day, to make it a holiday for ourselves. It should be a holiday, a day off from normal work to do the work of running a democracy. This is already part of current proposed voting rights legislation.
Sure, it is already sort of a holiday. It is already a day that fills headlines, creates anxiety and hopefully joy. It is already a day on the calendar each year when we’re given the opportunity and thus the responsibility for having a political choice and a political voice. For being allowed to speak publicly. But why not make it official? Not every person has that choice. Not every nation has that choice. And there are too many, who call themselves members of the GOP, or white nationalists or conservatives who would take away that choice from us.
Democracy is never about getting all you want or having the perfect candidate to support. If a person seems too perfect, it is likely we’re overlooking something. But the choices can still be very clear. Right now, we have a GOP party whose leader is clearly racist. Who not only terribly mismanaged but malignantly spread disinformation about a pandemic, putting his own political welfare before the lives and health of the people of the nation. Who lied about an election in order to destroy democracy and proclaim himself a dictator. Who lied about the climate and the emergency we are facing and so put the future of the planet and all living beings at risk.
We need to vote to proclaim our humanity.
Right now in Virginia there is a clear choice. Terry McAuliffe is running against a GOP candidate supported by DJT, who argued against mask mandates and other policies to protect people, even children, from COVID-19, who attacked public schools and teaching any history or even novels that includes the fact of slavery and racism. Who for the first four months of his campaign refused to acknowledge President Biden was the legally elected President and helped spread a lie that undermines elections themselves and the democratic and peaceful transition of power. This election is far too close.
And there are so many other consequential races. There are the legislative races in Virginia and other states, the New Jersey gubernatorial race, mayoral races, and ballot proposals. In New York State and elsewhere there are ballot proposals to protect and even advance voting rights, which are being vociferously attacked and distorted in the media by conservatives. Meanwhile, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, this year alone the GOP in 19 states have passed 33 laws to make it more difficult to vote, and most of these laws target black, brown, Indigenous and other people of color. On the other hand, 25 states have expanded voting rights protections.
Most of us know this. So, let’s do what we can today and tomorrow to get out the information and encourage everyone we know to vote. Every year, our elections have clear consequences, and this is what we want. We want our vote to have consequences, to have meaning. Maybe not as frightening ones as we have now or may have next year. Oh, if only there was more equity and less anxiety. But to protect our right to vote, we must exercise it.
*This blog was syndicated by The Good Men Project.