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Posts Tagged ‘Biden’

As I write this, we are all caught in this liminal condition, this “state between states,” as votes that have been cast continue to be counted. Regardless of which campaign is eventually judged the winner, though, there is a clear loser: America.

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This damnable year has taught me two things, the most recent of which is.:

  • Vote shaming does not work.

A few times, now, I’ve attempted to convince non- and third-party-voters to cast a meaningful vote in this year’s election. In those posts, I have avoided anything that might be construed as bullying or “shaming.” I haven’t cast aspersions or indulged in ad hominem attacks. I haven’t in any way implied that Americans don’t have the right to disenfranchise themselves.

In discussions, I’ve striven to be firm but not belligerent, hoping persuasion would prove more effective than incivility. I’ve expressed my sincere understanding for each person’s reasons for eschewing both Dems and GOP, but have simultaneously pointed out that there are more important aspects at stake here than just one voter’s preference (or lack thereof) for a particular candidate. I’ve stressed that unity is our strength, and that e pluribus unum is even more true today, in our diverse and multicultural society, than it was in the much more homogenous 1776. I’ve argued that how we vote in this election will affect many people beyond ourselves.

And still, I’ve been accused of bullying and shaming. I’ve been told I have no right to judge. I’ve been unfriended, disinvited, and (I suspect) blocked.

Well, since my last post here on the topic, our current POTUS has moved to replace a liberal icon of the SCOTUS with an arch-conservative, has laid the groundwork for nationwide voter intimidation and nullification, and has found it impossible to utter the simple phrase, “I denounce white supremacy in all its forms.”

Despite this, I still refuse to engage in public shaming of those who have chosen to sit this one out and/or vote for a non-viable candidate.

That does not mean I won’t try to convince them, though.

Because this isn’t about me or about being “right.”

It isn’t about me. It isn’t about you. It isn’t about any one of us.

It’s about all of us.

It’s about my friend’s kid, who’s struggling with their gender identity and fears violence perpetrated by emboldened bigots. It’s about my neighbor whose furlough just turned into a layoff, and who’s worried that the ACA won’t be there for him and his family. It’s about my LGBTQ friends who are fearful of what the new SCOTUS will do (or undo) regarding their marriage. It’s about my friends up and down the West Coast, suffering under smoke and evacuation orders, and those on the East Coast buffeted by one hurricane after another. It’s about the parents I know, worried sick about their kids going to school during a pandemic, worried about when and if life will ever return to something reminiscent of what it was like just a year ago.

We all know friends in similar situations, fellow citizens who are negatively affected by this administration’s actions (or inactions). And we all know this election is a turning point. We can all see the two paths that lie ahead, clearly and starkly delineated. The difference before us is impossible to deny: two paths, two futures.

But which future? Which path?

This election decides, and it is our civic duty, our responsibility as citizens, to take it seriously. Sitting it out or voting for a candidate with zero chance of winning is a total abdication of that responsibility. It does not move the needle. It does not have an effect. It does not make a difference. And, judging from the strident, sometimes vitriolic, often knee-jerk responses I’ve received from third-party acolytes and non-voters, they know it, too.

But here’s the other lesson I’ve learned from 2020:

  • Things can always get worse.

And if we do not join together to fight the obvious threat, things will get worse.

Our nation, our democracy, our institutions, and our norms, need you.

k

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If Trump is your first choice, keep scrolling.
If Biden is your first choice, keep scrolling.

If, however, you find yourself in some middle ground, unhappy with either choice and thinking of giving your vote to a third-party candidate, writing in a name, or not voting at all, let’s talk.

The phrase I hear most often from people in this situation is, “I’m going to vote my conscience.” This is a laudable sentiment. Our conscience should factor into our choice of elected officials. Our ideals and our precepts of morality and good governance, these are important elements in a decision this consequential. After all, the actions of the person elected to be our president will affect us all, be it for good or for ill.

So let’s talk about our conscience.

What is our conscience telling us? What is it really telling us?

Obviously, it’s unsatisfied with either of the two major candidates. This one’s too radical (or not radical enough), and the other is too destructive. Too much change. Not enough change. Too boring. Too not boring. In short, we’re frustrated because neither candidate is what we really want, and that third-party (or write-in) candidate is a much closer fit.

Or, perhaps our conscience is just so fed up with the two established parties—both so entrenched and hidebound, both so habituated to finger-pointing and obfuscation—that voting for a third-party candidate (or sitting the election out altogether) seems the only way to register our anger and disapproval for the established two-party system.

Sound about right? Yeah, but I think our conscience is also telling us something else, something we’re not hearing because those other, top-of-mind aspects are too loud. If we push those to the side a bit, try to mute them, I think we might hear the other thing, the small but nagging truth our conscience is whispering in our ear:

We’re in trouble.

Deep, deep trouble.

Our conscience knows, without question, that where we are, as people and as a nation, is a bad place, and that where we’re headed (should the incumbent be given another term) will at best be more of the same chaotic slide into ignominy, and may quite likely be worse. Our conscience knows that despite any perceived boons from this administration, on balance, regular folk are suffering mightily. Our conscience knows that America is less respected, our reputation has been tarnished, and our economy and security eroded.

Our conscience also knows, at its core, what we need to do. We need to band together, unite around a common cause, face a common foe, just as we’ve done before when, as people and as a nation, we faced a Depression, two world wars, and other national crises.

So, as satisfying as that protest vote would feel, as attractive as that third-party candidate might appear, our conscience knows that we need to be smart, to see the larger picture, and form an unbeatable coalition by combining our votes to defeat Trump. We cannot afford the risk of four more years of this. We need to vote the incumbent out.

Let’s work together, let’s help one another survive, as people and as a nation.

Let’s join forces, combine our votes for Biden, so we can tell Trump “You’re fired.”

For the good of everyone.

k

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Obey the Kitty!An old friend once told me, “If you say something with enough conviction and sincerity, people will believe you.” He often put this adage into practical use. He kept a construction oversuit, a clipboard with forms, and an orange hard-hat in his trunk. With one or more of these items and a little chutzpah, he was able to go many places most of us wouldn’t try to enter. He saw the inside of the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, before it was opened to the public. He made his way onto movie location shoots. He could brass his way into a dozen places, just by sounding confident and authoritative.

It was an illustrative lesson on just how bovine we humans can be, placidly walking up the ramp to the abattoir.

I haven’t talked much about the upcoming election, on this blog, and if you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I’ve been on somewhat of a “news diet” for the couple of months. Don’t worry; I am not going to urge you to vote for Obama or Romney or Johnson (though I do urge you to vote).

I’m just going to urge you to think. Listen, and think. Throw away the demeanor. Discard all the fire and emotional claptrap.

Just listen to what they all say, and think about what is being said. It’s not easy—it’s much easier to be swayed by passion than it is to search for the logic—but it’s important, if you want to be an informed, thinking participant in our democracy. (more…)

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