Ethical Imperatives to Act
"When My Grandkids Ask Me What I Did to Fight American Fascism, I'll Proudly Tell Them I Tweeted A Few Times"
The Greatest Generation stormed the beaches at Normandy, marching into unimaginable violence as they liberated a continent from tyranny. They rationed resources on the home-front to help the war effort. They came together as one, setting aside personal differences to save the world. They gave their lives so others could experience the freedom and liberty we so often take for granted. Just as they sacrificed, I wrote pithy remarks on the internet.
-- Sam Spero, for McSweeney's Internet Tendency,
I had been raised by two wonderful parents who taught me that voting is a civic DUTY as well as a right -- and that in our household, you lost your right to complain if you declined to participate in effecting the outcome of an election. But is voting enough, I wondered this year?
The facts are clear. These are the two most unpopular presidential candidates in American history. Election anxiety is at incredibly high levels. More Americans than ever before are feeling trapped in broken political, economic, and social systems, unsure of the way out -- and often lashing out at minority scapegoats and villianizing opponents on either side of the aisle instead of looking for constructive solutions. So is voting on one day enough?
I found my answer on Facebook:
"Let's win this damn thing and win big and then wake up Wednesday prepared to fight, push prod a Clinton administration with grace, genius, and generosity for what we can wring from it, which is, I believe, a whole hell of a lot. It won't be easy, but it will be possible. And right now it's the only move on this messed-up locked up chessboard. So take it, please, and keep going. It's in our hands. "
Democracy Is Not Yet Completely Broken:
- TWO women running for president this year on my ballot
- More viable down-ballot third party candidates than last time I was at the polls (read up on yours to assess viability yourself at Ballotpedia)
- helpful, patient, efficient election workers helping me vote
- long lines of active citizens and participants in our democracy
- polite and supportive volunteers campaigning for down ballot candidates at legal distances from the polls, thanking everyone for voting, even if wearing stickers for the other candidate.
It All Starts with the Right to Vote:
"What development do you live in"?
When I answered that -shockingly for my district!- I did not live in a development, I had to seek extra help to figure out which table to check in at. The wealthy developments that are so predominant in my area unfortunately probably have something to do with how very pleasant, efficient, un-threatening, convenient, and accessible my voting experience was.
This is not the case across the nation. The American Civil Liberties Union has an excellent breakdown on how the 30 states that enforce government-issued photo voter ID laws disproportionately keep low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, and the elderly from being able to vote. While my neighboring state of Pennsylvania does have a set of guidelines against voter intimidation, the fact remains that legally almost anyone can challenge a voter's identity at the polls and thus prevent or delay them from voting. Meanwhile, North Carolina leads the nation in ever-more innovative ways to affect voter turnout along racial and class lines; this is not interpretation, but rather summary from multiple judges presiding over lawsuits against the state. Polling places in minority neighborhoods are shrinking in number, especially across the South, according to Reuters. Voting is incredibly difficult, costly, and inconvenient for an INCREASING number of Americans. This is not democracy.
Please, please PLEASE vote for candidates that will work their hardest to assure voting rights for EVERYONE. In such terrifying times, this is a perfectly valid issue to be a single-issue voter for.
Your Voting Rights and Vital Information:
- Bring identification even if it is not required, if you have it.
- If you are in line before a polling station closes, they MUST let you vote, no matter how long the line is. DO NOT leave.
- If any question remains about whether or not you are legally registered and capable of voting, you still have the right to vote by provisional ballot. All polling places have provisional ballots on hand.
- Know what constitutes misconduct at your polls
- You can always call any number of voting hotlines if you see misconduct or experience trouble voting.
- Find out if you can legally take a ballot selfies before you do so!