Thoughts & Essays

The Most Important Election of Our Lives

Look, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re closing in on 175,000 Americans dead from COVID-19. We’re probably gonna hit that number in less than a week. We have over 5.5 million cases of COVID-19 in the US. And that’s just the stuff we know about. Experts have said that the actual numbers may be up to ten times worse.

Meanwhile, Trump is attacking the integrity of the 2020 election, and it’s working. People are beginning to doubt that the election will be legit, for a variety of reasons. Trump’s flunky DeJoy is systematically destroying the Postal Service. We forced him to at least claim he’ll stop that, but he doesn’t seem to be interested in rolling back the destruction he already wrought.

Yet another of Trump’s former campaign managers is probably going to jail, and the Senate just released a massive bipartisan report that says, in so many words, “Hey, you know that whole ‘Russia hoax’ thing? Definitely not a hoax, the Trump campaign totally colluded with the Russian government, and FYI, the Russians are still diddling our elections.”

Also, Trump has all but said out loud – and honestly, I’m sure he actually will say it out loud before the end of September – that he intends to contest the election if he loses. Oh, and he’s “joking” about getting a third term again.

Guys, this is it. This election? Is our one and only chance to remain a democracy. The United States of America as we know it will not survive a second term of President Trump.

I know some people will think that sounds alarmist. They’ll think it’s hyperbole. It is not. A second Trump term means unequivocally that America will fall.

If you don’t want to listen to me, you can listen to Barack Obama’s speech from the DNC last night.

“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t,” Obama said. “And the consequences of that failure are severe: 170,000 Americans dead, millions of jobs gone while those at the top take in more than ever. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished and our democratic institutions threatened like never before.”

I know that some folks are not thrilled with a Biden/Harris ticket. It wasn’t my first choice either. But you better believe I intend to vote for it, because even if Biden and Harris are not as far left as I wish they were, they will be leaps and bounds better than a second Trump presidency.

Not only that, but they will be far, far easier to move leftwards. We’ve already seen signs of Democrats backsliding on policies most of us are into, like Medicare for All. But let me assure you that it will be so much easier to make something like Medicare for All happen with a Democratic Congress and Presidency than it will be under any other circumstances.

“So I am also asking you to believe in your own ability — to embrace your own responsibility as citizens — to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure,” Obama said in his speech last night. “Because that’s what’s at stake right now. Our democracy.”

Democracy isn’t something you do for a day or two every couple of years. It’s an ongoing responsibility.

You fight to get the best slate of legislators and president you can, then you fight to make them do what you want them to, and then you fight to make sure they don’t water it down. And somewhere in there you’ll fail, or you’ll have to compromise, or you’ll have to put up with unintended consequences that need fixing.

It sucks and it’s a dirty process and people get screwed even when you work your absolute hardest and it never ends.

It’ll never be perfect, because perfect is a moving target that’s always getting further away.

Democracy is working your ass off to make things better, not perfect. You work today to make things better for tomorrow, and then you get up tomorrow, and the goal posts have moved, so you do it all again.

That’s how it is. That’s how it’s always been, that’s how it’ll always be, because our understanding of perfect is always shifting.

So you work to make things better. And this year, just 75 short days from now, “better” means punching the ticket for as many Democrats as possible, including Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Photo Credit: Announcement of Senator Kamala Harris as Candidate for Vice President of the United States in Wilmington, DE on August 12, 2020, photo by Adam Schultz (link). (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)