My One Small Voice

Though curiouser & curiouser is not usually a place that digs into politics (this post from July being an exception), I’m going to “go there” again with this post.

Why?

Because this is not a normal election.

This is not a red vs. blue or conservative vs. liberal, business-as-usual political situation.

It’s important to point that out.

Also, let me say this: I KNOW we are all so very sick of the political discord happening now, along with the anger and divisiveness that comes along with it. Social media and blogs aren’t typically ideal places to have these exchanges, and we all know that face-to-face conversations tend to be more productive and, well, human.

But.

BUT.

I am choosing to resist the urge to bow out here, to disconnect from the conversation and to turn my attention and dialog elsewhere. I could — easily — and my day-to-day life would probably remain pretty similar. (That’s privilege for you.) I don’t feel okay with going that route, though, and so here I am, talking politics again on my blog. But again — these aren’t just run-of-the-mill politics. We’re talking about the fate of our country. (Does it seem like I’m making this too big of a deal? It IS a big deal. It’s a huge deal, and this is a potential turning point for our nation. Let’s not be fooled into thinking otherwise.)

I’m not writing this as a way to be combative or black and white or party oriented. I’m choosing to lend my one small voice to this conversation, because it’s a critical one — and it’s almost time for us to collectively decide which direction our country will be going in.

My blog is a small one, and so part of me hesitated to post anything for that reason, too, because I don’t know what kind of difference it can make. But then I read this Instagram post from Shauna Niequist that changed my mind. (Be sure to read the whole caption.) Here’s the part that stuck out to me in particular:

“One of my regrets is that I didn’t do enough in 2016 to try to dissuade my fellow Christians from voting for a man who so clearly did not and does not embody the character qualities that are central to our shared faith—things like empathy, concern for others, and self-control.”

I don’t want to look back and feel like I didn’t do enough in 2020 to help prevent — even in my own small way — Donald Trump from being elected president for another term.

Whether you’re a Christian or not, it’s hard for me to believe that we as humans can’t rally around those traits which feel so fundamental to trying to be a decent human in the world:

Empathy.

Concern for others.

Self control.

All things Trump lacks entirely. Don’t you find this frightening, too?

(And this has been further solidified by his communication during his Covid treatment, showing a complete lack of understanding of and disregard for so many people’s experiences with the disease. “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.” Obviously I could reference many other things here, too.)

Here’s something that’s really gotten under my skin about this election: The apples to apples comparisons out there. “I don’t know how to choose. Both candidates are awful.” “Washington is just full of scumbags.” “That debate was a circus. They kept interrupting each other!”

In fact, this couldn’t be farther from apples to apples. It’s more like apples and…an orange. A screaming, angry, lying orange threatening our overall well being.

Let’s not pretend these candidates are on equal footing. One is presidential in decorum, while one wants to rewrite all the rules and stomp on any and all respectful and professional behavior (e.g., his boorish debate performance). One wants to help ALL Americans’ lives be as equal as possible, while one is out to protect the rights of those who look and think like him. One is kind and has lived a life of service, while one is a bully who has lived a life of privilege (even though he’s managed to squander away a ridiculous amount of his money, not to mention avoid paying taxes along the way).

Am I saying one candidate is perfect and the other is completely flawed? No, of course Biden isn’t perfect. But he’s so much closer than Trump can ever hope to be. Why? Because he’s decent, kind, and not always out for number one.

We should all be scared — horrified — that Trump was elected in 2016, and that there’s a huge chance he could be elected again this year. (He’s working hard to rig the election as much as possible.) Support for him means prioritizing individual liberties for some over equality and respect for all. It means gross neglect for our environment, not to mention our relationships with other nations. Support for him is, if not a complete endorsement of racism, of sexism, and of bigotry, it’s at least a willingness to ignore these things or push them to the bottom of your priority list. It’s saying not everyone should have access to healthcare, or even basic human rights. It’s saying YOUR liberties are more important than the liberties of so many other Americans.

I know that for many Trump supporters it’s come down to the issue of abortion rights. Instead of zooming in on just the abortion piece of being pro life, let’s try to look at the fuller picture of what supporting the lives of our follow Americans means. Shouldn’t being pro life also include giving everyone access to quality sex education and to affordable and easily accessible contraceptives? Shouldn’t being pro life also include supporting all children through better-funded schools and universal access to preschool? Shouldn’t being pro life also include giving all Americans access to good health care and giving all mothers paid maternity leave? I could go on, and I know this is such a sensitive issue to so many. I want to remind you that being pro choice does not equal being pro abortion. Being pro choice means believing that women — and their health care providers — are in the best position to make often complicated decisions when it comes to their bodies.

For some of you, there’s the temptation to sit this election out, by either not voting or by voting for a third-party candidate. While I understand the urge, every voter in America is being asked a very clear question:

Which of these two men do you want to see lead our nation for the next four years? (Because one of them WILL.)

That’s it. Full stop.

Like the idea of ranked voting, or sick of the divisive two-party system? Join the club, but THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO HAVE THOSE CONVERSATIONS. First, we need to stabilize our democracy, get a decent leader in office, and THEN let’s work on improving the way we run our elections, from campaign finance reform to changing the electoral college procedures to getting more third-party candidates involved.

Right now is the moment to decide which of these men will lead (or not lead) our country for the next four years. This is the time to choose your guy and vote. (And please, please, please — let that guy be Joe Biden. For the sake of decency and human rights and respect and kindness and our planet and our international reputation and so much more that I know I — and SO many other Americans — hold dear, let that guy be Joe Biden.)

Again, this is not a normal election. This is a huge deal. It’s likely that our children and grandchildren will one day ask us what we did to help stop Trump from winning this election.

What will your answer be?

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