I’m not being hyperbolic.
This post is addressed to every American citizen of voting age. (If that doesn’t apply to you, carry on with your day.)
We have a presidential election coming up in November, and every. single. sign. points to this being a clusterfuck of not only epic but criminal proportions. Right now — literally right now — Donald Trump is attempting to wreck the U.S. Postal Service in order to interfere with mail-in voting. He has stated this openly. The damage to the USPS has already meant people are receiving things like critical medications too late. And it means that mail-in ballots will be in grave danger of not being counted.
But this isn’t just about the USPS. The pandemic means people may be afraid to go to the polls — and the people least afraid to go will be the ones who are convinced this is all just a Democratic hoax or something. And when you get the man who holds the highest office in the land openly talking about interfering with the voting process, that is an excellent recipe for getting other people to decide it’s open season on electoral interference, whether that means “losing” a box full of ballots (a thing which has actually happened) or trying to prevent people from going to the polls.
I remember a time when people around me said things like “eh, the two parties are just the same, there’s no real difference between them.” If this was ever true, it is not true now.
Normally I’m all in favor of simply telling people to vote, without actively campaigning for one side. But this is not a case where we have two legitimate options and I just don’t like one of them as well. The United States is leading the world in “worst handling of the coronavirus;” the last number I saw was 160,000 Americans dead from covid. We have an actively criminal president who will do any goddamned thing he can get away with to hold onto power. Given the way our system works, there is literally only one viable option in 2020 for putting the brakes on this downward spiral, and that is to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris into the White House.
And to do that, it isn’t just enough to say “get out there and vote.” If you are not registered yet, do that now, at this link. Right now. It won’t take you long. If you are registered, make sure that’s still true — especially if you live in a Republican-controlled area, because they have carried out a number of efforts to purge the voter rolls. Find out when early voting begins in your area, because you don’t have to wait until November 3rd, and the sooner you go, the better. (And when you do, wear a mask.) If you have mail-in voting, fill out your ballot immediately, and then, in descending order of preference, 1) deliver it personally to your Board of Elections, 2) put it in a dropbox, or 3) mail it. In that order because of the aforementioned attempt to fuck with the postal service, and because are you sure some fanatic isn’t going to interfere with the dropbox?
Finally, don’t just pay attention to the top of the ballot. The Republican Party has for years now been descending into ever more blatant greed, bigotry, cronyism, and incompetence. We cannot reward them with other forms of power. Vote for state offices and local ones. Vote for people who don’t think “science” is some inconvenient thing that will go away if they ignore it hard enough, or a roadblock between them and piling even more grotesque profits atop the ones they already have.
No, not finally — one more thing. You also have to spread this message. Not necessarily this specific post, but its salient points: you have to vote, and you have to do so in a fashion that minimizes the risk of both health consequences and your vote note being counted. You aren’t safe. None of us are.