If you’re like me, you’ve already opted for mail-in or early voting rather than head into the lines of Election Day. We all know the stakes: we’re living in the midst of a pandemic with our government slowly, but surely, descending into fascism. It’s easy to believe that once November 3rd passes, Election Day will be the transition to better, more optimistic times.
But it’s not the case. Actually, November 4th is when the work really begins.
We’ve seen this administration dismantle the post office while laying the seeds for a potential “voter fraud” scenario. Municipalities in other states have limited drop boxes for ballots. We’ve seen this administration push through candidates who were barely qualified in order to “rubber stamp” any decisions. As Election Day results are being counted, the administration and its supporters will push for a definite “result” despite federal regulations outlining the procedure.
That’s when the fight really begins.
Over the past four years, our nation has experienced the aftereffects of this administration’s policy. Separating children from their families at the border and putting them in cages as an immigration strategy. Over nine million cases of COVID-19 and 232,000 deaths at the time of this blog post. Threats to end health care for millions in this country. This is an administration that will not go gentle into that good night…and voters will need to act after Election Day.
This isn’t 2017 when wearing a “pussy hat” or attending a rally is “just enough”. It means contacting legislators and maintaining pressure. It means truly believing that democracy is not a spectator sport, but that we need to coalesce as a community to push back. After all, very little has changed in this federal administration’s approach since this John Oliver piece in 2017:
Suck it up, buttercup.
This is no longer a case of “lesser-of-two-evils”; it’s a case of one halfway decent individual versus corruption incarnate. You may disagree or try to pull the “both sides” argument, but voting makes a difference. (It’s the reason why, in Illinois, Bruce Rauner was a one-term governor who’s now living in luxury in Florida). It means not just selecting new representational leadership, but holding them accountable.
(And by “holding accountable”, I don’t mean just “trolling them on Twitter”. It means ensuring that they execute the will of the people voting for them).
So after Election Day is over, when the election judges have returned home after a long, hard day’s work…take a deep breath. Relax. Get a good night’s sleep, if you can. But don’t forget that we still need to keep contacting our representatives, keep putting pressure on leaders at every level of government. It’s not easy. It’s not simple. But our democracy is worth it.
It also means treating our neighbors and colleagues with consideration. I will end this post on a positive note with some wise, enlightened comments from one of my wisest colleagues/friends:
…Listen to the underrepresented people in your community. Listen without making them cater to you. For all its issues, Twitter is actually a great place for listening in on conversations between people in marginalized groups that don’t cater to outsiders. Follow a few dozen POC in different groups, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ folks, whatever group you don’t have such candid, in-person conversations with, and a few that you think you do – your perspective will change.
Then, use your new awareness. Boost voices who have been talking about these issues for years. Don’t take over – share their (credited) work with people who used to not understand, as you once didn’t understand. Help others learn as well.