Open Letter to the American Voter

IMG_1068Dear American Voter: On Novermber 6, 2018, you will be making what just may be the most important vote of your life. For some of you, it may be the first vote of your life, and for that I say ‘Congratulations!’ But for others of you, in fact, it may just be the last vote of your life, given the penchant of one of our national political parties for erecting ever-increasing obstacles in your path to the voting booth…

This is contrary to the spirit of democracy, of course, and contrary to the trend of increased voting access that defined our country for approximately fifty years, starting in the civil rights era, which brought so many new people into the national life of our country. “But voting is so old-fashioned!” you say. True…

By all rights we should each be able to vote on-line with a government-supplied identification code, with no other obstacle than the need to have a digital device, or the means to get to one. But it doesn’t work that way, unfortunately, as one still has to show up in person, often wait in line, and then hopefully have a choice worth making. I even had to show proof of my address last time in Tucson, Arizona, only after making elaborate travel plans for the privilege…

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And that is part of the problem, of course, that many people now live mobile lifestyles, and so for many of them, voting is not only difficult, but it is virtually impossible. Others work odd hours, such that getting to a voting booth, once again, may not only be difficult, but virtually impossible. I don’t have the figures at my fingers, but I suspect that the majority of such would-be voters lean Democratic, while most obstacles are typically created by Republicans. And Election Day should really be a national holiday, of course…

But the main reason for not voting is probably just plain old apathy, boredom, lack of inspiration, either because one lives in a gerrymandered district where victory is almost impossible, or simply because one has just never developed the habit, and if old habits are hard to break, then new habits can be equally hard to start. This is most applicable to the younger under-40 ‘millennial’ generation, which, for one reason or another, has been slow to become registered, much less actually show up at the polls and vote…

In a well-balanced system where both sides play fair, it really shouldn’t matter, so the two sides switch power peacefully, now and then, as minorities steadily become assimilated and empowered, and one could become lulled into the fiction that all is well, regardless of who holds the final say on each and every detail, since it will all balance out in the long run. And that may have been correct, say, up until about 1994, when the Republican party decided to make a play for absolute power, a policy which holds sway until today…

Why? Racism runs deep, as does greed, and Republicans are running scared. They know that the demographics don’t favor them, since they are getting older, while Democrats are getting younger, on average. So a full and open democracy is their enemy. They know that their only advantage is their money and their well-heeled connections, at the local and national level. So they pack the courts as fast as they can, and rely on institutionalized power to give them an advantage where a free and open democracy would not…

And now Donald Trump provides them a crafty and charismatic leader that, no matter how repulsive his character to anyone with a liberal arts college education, still manages to hold the masses and millionaires in unparalleled throes of awe, or at least a solid and motivated minority of them, well positioned and well proportioned for maximum electoral effect, as evidenced in the 2016 presidential election, where they lost the vote by a large margin, yet still managed to win the election…

Obviously our democracy is at risk, what with the multiple competing—and mostly false—narratives at play, an election still under investigation for illegal foreign intervention, and an at least partially illegitimate president who seems to thrive on chaos and crisis, the oldest trick in the book: Big Man stands tall during chaos (which he created, of course). The choice could not be more stark: peace or war, justice or injustice, health care or none, etc…  

So this is my heartfelt wish for those of you who are still sitting on the fence for the 2018 mid-term elections: please vote, if at all possible. And if you honestly believe that Donald Trump is best for this country then you should vote for his party, certainly. But if you believe otherwise, then you should vote Democratic. To assume that ‘it doesn’t matter’ or ‘they’re both the same’ is the height of ignorance, and arrogance, frankly, because things are only what they are because of our willingness, or unwillingness, to make it any other way…

So right now the country of the United States of America, one of the greatest countries in the world, and one of the greatest experiments of history, is up for sale, and at a bargain price! It only costs your vote, and you just might be the big winner! If Democrats can somehow gain a 67% majority, the sooner the better, then we will have accomplished nothing short of a revolution at the ballot box, with no Gettysburg, no Vicksburg, no Antietam, and no long march through Georgia…

We may never have this opportunity again, what with the dangers facing the planet, and the total negligence of the current President to respond to these challenges, preferring instead to promote his own selfish interests and ego-aggrandizement. So please vote like you’ve never voted before, with meaning and clear conscience, for in only that way can we assure our sons and daughters a future, and in only that way can we give them a present worth giving—Life! So please VOTE!

(The preceding has NOT been paid for by anyone. This is my own personal opinion and not necessarily that of anyone else, person or party)