I’m probably “preaching to the choir,” and I don’t intend to sound snarky, but to rework a common saying:
“If you’re not concerned, you’re not paying attention.”
There’s A LOT going on—such as the stark exposure of Humanity’s wounds (like racism, anti-semitism, etc.) ready to finally be healed as I so often write about here. But in the political domain, autocrats around the world are fiercely flexing their muscles, and regular ordinary people are just as fiercely rising up and saying “Enough is enough!”—many literally putting their lives on the line like in Ukraine, and in unexpected places like Iran.
Unfortunately, the U.S. is in the same boat: one political tribe’s leaders are mounting a serious attack on democracy, and another tribe’s leaders are trying to save it.
So the upcoming U.S. election is NOT just another run-of-the-mill mid-term election. I truly believe it’s happening during a critical time period for the U.S., as well as globally and for Humanity in general. This election is a huge, concrete opportunity for us to really begin answering:
Who do we want to be as a nation?
Who do we want to be as Humanity?
So no, this is NOT a time to think it’s “business as usual,” to be complacent and uninvolved, and to just leave it to political leaders to fight it out.
Instead it’s a time for “We the people” to get serious about all this and take concerted and strong action, including in this upcoming election . . .
Ensure that your vote counts.
Go to vote.org and scroll down to your state to link to its election website:
Confirm that your voter registration is current and accurate, mark important dates in your calendar, determine your ballot drop-off place or your in-person voting location, and that you have whatever ID, if any, that is accepted for in-person voting.
VOTE! But be extra careful, for example . . .
– If using a mail-in ballot:
* Read the instructions carefully.
* Double check your vote markings when finished.
* Be sure to follow any requirements, e.g., use the required pen ink color, and sign your name (exactly as it appears in your registration and on the ballot envelope) and write the date where required.
* Insert your ballot as instructed in the correct envelope.
(If you make a mistake, contact an election official about how to correct it.)
* Drop your ballot off at the appropriate location.
– If voting in person:
* Confirm that you have an acceptable ID, if required.
* Go to the correct polling place.
* Bring a completed sample ballot or a “cheat sheet” to ensure you cast your votes as desired.
* Before submitting your ballot, double check your votes for accuracy.
(Ask for help from official election workers if you need it.)
Support your family, friends, and neighbors to vote.
– Urge them to go to vote.org to confirm and do all of the above.
– And if appropriate, ask them:
“Do you need a ride to vote in person or drop off a ballot?”
Do something directly related to the election.
– Contact a local GOTV (Get Out the Vote) group and ask how you can help.
– Volunteer as an official election worker.
Push back against voter intimidation.
In my home state of AZ—and maybe in your state—it’s been reported that “fringe groups” are appointing themselves to patrol ballot drop-off sites—to take photos of people/cars/license plates they deem “suspicious.” And at least in AZ, it’s also reported that many sheriffs are in league with them.
So if you experience or observe voter intimidation or harassment, report it immediately to local election officials, and/or to the U.S. Department of Justice:
* phone (800)-253-3931
* e-mail (email@example.com)
(For more info on reporting, call the national, nonpartisan Election Protection coalition at 866-OUR-VOTE.)
Likewise, be careful about your voting location actions—be aware of your state’s laws. For example, it may be illegal to hand out snacks or water to voters waiting in long lines to vote. If you’re not sure, Google it or ask a local/state election official.
There are just 3 weeks—21 days—until the U.S. election. My suggestions above may be incomplete/inaccurate/not applicable to your state so go to vote.org now. And tell or email or text or Facebook or carrier pigeon the link to family, friends, and neighbors.
[Note: And I suggest you not be fooled by any political pundits or polls forecasting doom. After-the-fact studies indicate that pundits’ predictions are as accurate as if they’d just flipped a coin heads or tails. Likewise, poll results are only as credible as their design is robust, e.g., a large sample size and representative demographics, and well-worded questions—these are not easy for most of us to assess and, like pundits’ predictions, polls have been shown to be wrong. So don’t be fooled into thinking your vote won’t matter. Every vote matters.]
It’s a make-or-break time in the U.S. political arena. With people literally dying around the world for standing up for human rights and democracy, and with some of our own fellow citizens facing daunting voter suppression and intimidation, how can we NOT take some simple actions to stand up for our democracy?
P.S. And yes, I believe we still need to do what we can to generate positive energy to counteract all the negative energy, violence, hatred, etc. So continue to do those random acts of kindness and beauty, and do what brings you joy. And send Light/prayers to those who are perpetrating the negative.
P.P.S. This is not by any means the first time the U.S. has experienced severe political threat. We just happen to be here for the latest iteration. For enlightening historical perspective, I highly recommend historian and professor Heather Cox Richardson’s “Letters from An American.” It can be oddly comforting to learn that the U.S. has survived the same or worse in the past. You can subscribe to the free daily email or pay for a full subscription. Subscribe here (if my email appears, replace it with yours). (My thanks to Karen Z for recommending this to me.)
BTW—About voter intimidation: Federal law makes it a crime for any person to intimidate/threaten/coerce any other person in order to interfere with their right to vote in any federal election. The law also applies to attempted intimidation. Violations include:
- Occupying the polling place parking lot such that voters might be hindered from entering.
- Verbally or physically confronting voters.
- Standing or hovering close to voters as they attempt to vote.
- Asking voters for documentation when none is required.
- Photographing/videotaping voters inside a polling place.
- Flying Confederate flags outside a polling place or in the parking lot.
- Posting flyers threatening jail time or other punitive action against voters.
- Vandalizing polling places.
- Threatening the job, wages, or benefits of an employee if they don’t vote in a particular manner.
For more information, go to Election Protection: Know your Rights as a Voter.