“A republic, if you can keep it.”—Ben Franklin, after the constitutional convention, when asked what kind of government America had been given
The very core of democracy is that each vote counts, and everyone gets a chance to peacefully argue through that vote for the future of their country.
Politicians are supposed to win elections because their ideas are better or because they can help make people’s lives better and lead us through difficult times. Politicians are supposed to win because the majority of Americans vote for them, not because they have rigged the game to make sure we don’t get a chance to vote.
The president is talking about delaying the election, retweeting himself winning from 2024–2044, and is now suggesting he was spied on and therefore needs a third term. He is constantly bringing up baseless claims of voter fraud (despite the fact that only .0025 percent of ballots have ever been tampered with).
He has now installed one of his top donors as the head of the USPS, and he has floated removing sorting machines and mailboxes and starving funding for the post office. Folks, I know I sound like a broken record, and believe me, I would rather be playing guitar right now, but these are all signs of a democracy devolving into authoritarianism.
EVERYONE should be able to vote safely and with ease. Voting is one of the most patriotic things you can do. It means participation—civics—caring about the future of the country together. It means thinking for yourself and choosing country over party.
Where are my Republican friends in all this? If this was a Democrat acting like this, you would lose your marbles.
The GOP is working overtime to make sure fewer of us vote, which makes sense since Democrats won the popular vote twice and still lost the electoral college. The demographics of this country are not on their side.
The country is changing, and it’s not going back to the ’50s no matter how many racist things our leader tweets out. There is a generation coming up that is not gonna put up with the government catering only to rich white men. I believe that is why this administration is using every trick it can to cast doubt on this election.
The GOP wins when we lose hope and when we blame one another. Nothing is more telling than the fact that the president doesn’t want to unite us and earn our vote: He wants to divide us and cheat.
We need a revitalized Voting Rights Act. We need to add polling places and expand early voting. We need to make Election Day a national holiday for everyone working in a factory, single parents, and everyone who has to choose between working and voting.
We need an end to gerrymandering, where the map is constantly stacked against people of color and areas with population growth. We are supposed to pick our politicians; they aren’t supposed to pick us or pick us apart. We need to help those who are struggling to understand that the census will help them, not hurt them.
We need a system that reflects what the majority of the country wants, including American citizens who currently can’t vote in Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Lastly, we need electoral college reform. If you believe in democracy, then there is no logical argument that Wyoming with 578,000 people gets the same amount of representation in the Senate as California with almost 40 million people.
If you are as upset as I am seeing COVID run wild, seeing health care, Medicaid, and Medicare being attacked, seeing the richest among us pay less and less tax while so many of us are out of work and waiting in food lines, or if you are tired of seeing a president constantly say things you would never allow a child to say, much less a president, then mark your calendars and talk to your loved ones and PLEASE vote on November 3.
If you can vote in person safely, please do it. If you have already requested a mail-in or absentee ballot, you don’t have to mail it; you can drop it off at your local polling place or at a designated dropbox (research your state and local guidelines).
Also, make sure you know your state’s voter identification requirements and how many days ahead you need to be registered to vote: in some states, it is 30 days, but in other states, you can register at the polling location when you go to vote.
I’ll end with something positive and really brilliant: Lebron James and several other athletes, along with Mark Cuban, have formed an organization called More Than A Vote to protect and expand voting rights. The goal is to turn NFL and MLB stadiums and NBA arenas into socially distanced voting centers. Also, check out the 55-cent campaign: simply use first-class stamps if you vote, and we can reduce the pressure on the USPS as we vote during COVID-19.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you can keep it.” Our very democracy is being tested like never before. Each of us has just as much power as anyone else in this country for a few minutes on November 3. This is our real power. Let’s use it.
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Gooding writes a new post most Wednesdays. Please like and subscribe on all social media sites with @goodingmusic. You can also subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed at http://goodingmusic.com/blog/feed/.