Something to Think About Before Election Day

Four years ago, before the presidential election, I assumed that the majority of people in the US viewed Trump the way I do and were excited–as I still am–to have the first of many female president. I voted, but I didn’t speak up. Then the election happened, and I realized I had a lot to learn about my fellow Americans.

This year I don’t want to wait until after the election to write about it. I am truly afraid for the condition of the United States if Trump remains president for another 4 years and/or if the senate remains in Republican control.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already voted or you’ve already made up your mind. Regardless, I think the following passage–written by friend Tiffany Schmidt–is worth a read. She wrote and posted it on Facebook today, and I asked her permission to share it here so you can read it and so I can reread it every time I vote.

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Tomorrow is election day in the US, and I’m asking you to remember that voting is fundamentally a thing we do to other people.

It’s a pleasant fiction that what I do in the polling booth is a matter for me and my conscience. It’s nice to pretend that I can vote to keep my taxes down or to keep my religious preferences dominant in the law. Or to imagine that I can keep my conscience clean, and the consequences be damned.

And it’s nice to think we can vote on Tuesday and have dinner together Wednesday and none of it really matters.

But the truth is, how you vote IS how you treat other people.

Your vote affects whether the poor are fed, or whether justice is carried out for the innocent. Your vote affects how we as a nation treat the powerless, the hungry, the stranger, and the wrongfully imprisoned.

Your vote is a choice – are you going to hang on to everything you can get? Are you going to ignore the damage to other people because they’re not like you, or they haven’t “earned” your kindness?

  • If you paid off student loans, are you voting to keep others living under crushing debt?
  • If you make a living wage, are you voting to keep others struggling to pay rent or buy food?
  • If you have great insurance, are you voting to keep others from getting care?
  • If you’re a man, are you voting for someone who brags about grabbing women by the crotch?
  • If you’re abled, are you voting for someone who mocks disabled people?
  • If you’re white, are you voting for someone who denies the existence of racial violence and police brutality in this nation, and actively tells white supremacists to “stand by” for action?
  • If you haven’t lost anyone in this pandemic, are you voting for someone who disbanded the pandemic response team, discouraged the use of masks and denied the risks, causing someone else to lose their loved ones?
  • If you were born in the US, are you voting for someone who wants a wall to keep other people from getting in, separates children from their parents, and keeps people in cages just for seeking asylum?

If you vote for Trump, that is going to impact how others see you. It’s not an accident, or people being “political.” It’s a choice you make, and it matters.

Civility is not the highest goal. Kindness isn’t about having dinner with people we disagree with – it’s about using the power we have to make sure other people have their basic needs met and aren’t being abused for our benefit.

So if you’ve already voted to end the Trump presidency, thank you. If you’re voting tomorrow, thank you.

And yes, right now that means voting for Biden. If you absolutely cannot vote for Biden for personal reasons, please go to the polls anyway. Write someone in if you have to – and vote the rest of the ballot for compassion and justice at all levels of government.

My vote is something I do to you, and your vote is something you do to me.

And you’re damn right it has consequences.

credit: Tiffany Schmidt

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It’s rare that I turn off comments, but instead of commenting, please go vote.

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