This November 8 (or sooner if you can take advantage of early voting or absentee voting in your state), it’s time once again to save our democracy. It would have been nice if the last election had been enough. But apparently not. The stakes are as high if not higher this time around, even without the spotlight of a Presidential race.
In a democracy, of course, every election matters. Just some are a bit boring, and it turns out that was a luxury. Those days are gone. This time, the choice is between preserving democracy or collapsing into a tyranny ruled by a few wealthy narcissists, including, apparently, a power-blinded individual named Leo (link). It’s the choice between whether or not someone you love dies due to a pregnancy. It’s a choice between whether or not everyone has rights and everyone is subject to the same laws—or not.
It would be nice if we could vote based on candidates’ strengths and weaknesses rather than party affiliation, and normally, that seems like a wise approach. No one is perfect, and belonging to one political party does not necessarily make you a better candidate for office (see LA).
For this fall’s election, though, it is the Democrats who have committed themselves to protecting democracy, respecting individual freedoms, and preserving the rule of law. The other side, still known as but unrecognizable as Republicans, is siding with tyranny, here and abroad. They take complex challenges, such as inflation in the wake of a global pandemic, the Russian war, and supply deficits, and pretend that complaining about a problem and blaming others is the same as offering a solution to that problem (spoiler alert: it’s not). These Republicans do not offer solutions, just complaints. They don’t want this country to prosper, that is, not everyone in this country. They don’t even seem to want their supporters to prosper.
Meanwhile, the Democrats continue to push as hard as they can, playing what few cards they can play with the slimmest of majorities in the federal government. They passed historic legislation to build infrastructure and mitigate climate change, seeking to boost both our economy and environment for the long term. They seek to address inequities by forgiving a portion of debt for college education—an investment in our people that has been long overdue. They are working to manage healthcare costs. They continue to seek ways to reduce inflation. They also build strong, rational alliances with democracies around the world, a way to protect us all from sources of unchecked power.
Have they solved everything? No. Will there be quick fixes? No. But it is clear that they are trying, and the other side is not. The other side prefers to inspire hate and division, the stuff of tyranny and empty clickbait, frightening authoritarianism combined with cynical sensationalism. The only response in a democracy is to reject it, absolutely.
I sometimes try to squint a bit to understand how anyone still supports the other side (the party formerly known as Republican, but it is an insult to Republicans, frankly, to call it the Republican Party). How can they support anyone who lies to his supporters and incites them to the violent attack and attempted coup of January 6? How can they support candidates who want to fix elections so that only “Republicans” can win?
I came up with this: Maybe they tell themselves this is simply a way to commit fully to their side, that the ends justify the means.
Short answer: No, the ends do not justify the means.
Long answer: Imagine a family has a field where we plant crops. There is a lively debate of what to plant in the field, how to plant it, what to do with the crops, etcetera. There are two sides in this debate (really, there are many different options but two dominant sides). Those two sides can debate and strongly disagree on what to do with the crop.
But then, one side fears that the other side will get its way, so to “win” they decide to raze the entire field so there are no more crops at all, no potential for crops.
That’s not winning the debate. That’s burning it all down. That’s what the current “Republican” party stands for.
So this year, it is simple. Vote D for democracy. Vote for every Democratic candidate you can find on your ballot. Local and state races are as important as federal ones, so make your vote count—especially anything to do with elections and, apparently, school boards. If you aren’t sure how to vote or who is running, start by contacting the board of elections for your state (this office may have different names in different states). Call or google your local Democratic Party to ask for voter information, especially for nonpartisan races.
Make your plan now. In North Carolina, we have a wonderful set of resources on our state board of elections website https://www.ncsbe.gov
Also, Democracy NC is ready to help ensure your vote gets counted. You could also look for ways to volunteer to protect other voters.
Vote D for democracy. That’s all you have to remember.