There’s nothing normal about this mid-term election
This election, the voting booth is the only “poll” that matters. To not vote is a subversive abdication of civic responsibility.
At such a time as this, exactly one week before what could arguably be the single most important election in recent American history, it positively irks me to watch from oblique side lines and hear people still cavalierly talking about whether or not they should exercise their right to vote because, well, they “do not know” the candidates running for office and, well, “once these people get into office, they still don’t represent our interests anyway.”
Do these people, most of them black, not yet grasp how absolutely mindless and ignorant a position that is? Indeed, while they bask in the luxury of their foolish contemplations, there are other legitimate black voters in congressional districts all over this country fighting to have their names put back on to voter registration rolls because their legitimate rights are literally being stolen through gerrymandering and bogus arguments that disqualify them because their names now lack “a hyphen” from their original registration.
But more importantly, have these people been living under a rock these past two years? What part of what’s happening in this country seems normal to them? Are mass shootings — incited by hateful rhetoric — targeting people of color and the Jewish community in their houses of worship normal? Are bombs, fake or otherwise, being delivered to political opponents of the current president and party in power normal? Does the return to rampant racism and xenophobia and misogyny and the potential loss of civil rights, long won and thought settled, seem normal? Do such people not yet grasp that this upcoming election may well be the absolute last opportunity to exercise their right to vote freely before they, too, lose that right through “creative” tactics?
Maybe things haven’t got personal enough yet. Maybe it’s not their official U.S. citizenship that’s being called into question — yet — or the safety of a family member that’s being placed into jeopardy because of the dangerous and ugly rhetoric being spouted by an illegitimate dictator wannabe whose power grab, lest we forget, was aided and abetted by a foreign power long established as an enemy of the state.
What reason, in the days of Google, other than sheer laziness and a willful lack of civic or social consciousness, would anyone have for not knowing who the people are that are running for public office? To not know is a subversive abdication of civic responsibility. To not know and not vote is the absolute casting away of a right that was paid for with the blood of civil rights activists like MLK Jr.
Slaves dreamt of such a right that many of us now nonchalantly decide whether to exercise.
The whole point of voting is to have people in office who consistently have our best interests at the forefront. And when they don’t, we go back and vote them out! Our political system may be broken through the infiltration of lobby money, but the point is we don’t even get an opportunity to fix it without voting. The system has no other means to auto-correct.
“What reason, in the days of Google, other than sheer laziness and a willful lack of civic or social consciousness, would anyone have for not knowing who the people are that are running for public office? To not know is a subversive abdication of civic responsibility.”
This election, the voting booth is the only “poll” that matters. This election, the voting booth is the only Constitutional tool we have left through which we can still halt the rapid descent of this country into fascism with a ruling “strongman” at the helm; a strongman who undermines a Constitutionally-free press and deems it the “enemy of the people”; a strongman who advocates that political opponents and private citizens with dissenting viewpoints should be locked up or have violence visited upon them. There’s nothing normal about this. And if you don’t understand why these are Orwellian times, go back to Google!
This is not Russia. This is not North Korea. This is not China. Hell, this is not Saudi Arabia where our political opponents and journalists are murdered and dismembered to silence them. But today, this is the America where, while such things are happening, we continue to broker deals for arms with such murderous regimes — arms, which may very well be turned against our own people one day.
Fascism in America may not take the form we are accustomed to seeing abroad. And certainly, fascism is not what many Americans understand it to be. Regardless, fascism is already becoming a reality when the fail-safe checks and balances of our Constitution do not work as they should. Congress, the legislative branch of government, is not supposed to be in bed with the Executive and Judicial branches. And it is time to break up illegitimate political intercourse.
A vote for anyone representing the GOP in this election — especially their incumbents — is to vote for a party that is complicit in the continued illegitimacy of the Trump administration. It is a vote for the continued descent into incivility and obscenity in our public discourse, such as we have witnessed over the past two years. It is a vote to validate a pathological liar and miscreant as the example of ultimate “leadership” to the world; someone with unabashed visions of his own grandeur and opportunities for his own aggrandizement through corruption. GOP candidates, who understand what’s at stake, should be calling for Trump’s resignation, not for continued support to aid and abet a demonstrably incapable leadership, virtually untethered now from our Constitution. Country over Party matters. That is real patriotism.
Do not allow older white folks, especially those with their own vision of Jesus, those who turn up at every election and overwhelmingly vote Republican, to determine that any of this is okay. Indeed, let us not forget that what becomes “legal” is not necessarily about what is moral, but about who holds the power.
These are the issues that should keep you up at night if you plan to keep living in this country. These are the reasons why you should vote. Immigrants, especially, understand political turmoil such as we are seeing play out in America today. Many of us came to this country for refuge from the destabilizing chaos and dysfunction that are rapidly becoming manifest here — the tribal political warfare; the gun violence; the corruption in high places; the “divide and conquer” strategies that pit one group against the other.
I remember when I first came to live in this country as a legal immigrant in the mid-1980's, standing curbside at several houses in my neighborhood, marveling with open-mouthed bewilderment at the freedom Americans had to advocate for political candidates of their choice with lawn signs — next door to their neighbor with opposing views. This was not how it was in the country I was coming from. However, this is how civilized people should conduct political discourse. And indeed, we cannot allow the depraved “reality show” masquerading as a presidency cause us to lose sight of that respect and dignity. Or truth. Otherwise, we will become no different than opposing gang members who cannot cross into the territory — or wear colors and paraphernalia — associated with rival gangs.
Let us not get caught up either in the cognitive dissonance associated with ridiculous appeals for this president to “bring the country together.” He’s already proven he’s incapable of that. We cannot ask the problem to be the solution. This president is the problem. And if you’re not motivated enough at this juncture to get out and vote his support base out of office, all I will say is, may God have mercy on us all.
© 2018 Donna Kassin. All rights reserved
BIO: A catalyst for change in all aspects of her professional and personal life, Donna is a Political Writer & Commentator, featured regularly as a Contributor to HuffPost. Jamaican by birth, Donna is the author of the upcoming book, “A Warning to America From a (Legal) Immigrant,” scheduled for launch in late Spring 2019.