I understand that following politics in any capacity these days is likely to result in multiple gut punches your faith in humanity.
Believe me. I get it.
I used to exercise what I believed to be a healthy faith in humanity’s overall goodness. I still followed the news and came across plenty of awful stories in trends. But in general, I still maintained that faith.
After these past two years, I just can’t maintain it as much as I used to. I won’t say it’s completely gone. I’ll just say my faith in humanity has become severely limited. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and recent political trends, I just couldn’t justify that faith anymore.
But as bad as things have gotten, I have not completely abandoned all semblance of hope. I still wake up every day and attempt to do the best I can, whether it’s helping my friends and loved ones or working to make myself a better person. As an individual, I understand I can only do so much. But as a whole, we can collectively do more.
The problem is there aren’t too many basic, tangible things we can all do collectively that will change our current course. However, one such opportunity is coming along for my fellow Americans on November 8, 2022.
That’s Election Day. It’s on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. And while this year is not a Presidential Election year, which typically motivates more people to turn out, it’s still incredibly important to get out there and vote. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a senator, a governor, or a local school board member. Voting is one of the few things that you can do that will incur some level of measurable change.
Yes, the impact of voting is often deluded by incredibly shady, dishonest tactics funded by unscrupulous billionaires. But being diluted isn’t the same as being muted. It just means people have to be more motivated than the assholes who find public opinion and the public good inconvenient.
It’s a pain, indeed.
It’s also frustrating in that ordinary people have to work extra hard, just to keep the rich and well-connected in check. But it’s still worth doing.
This year, there’s more than just candidates on the ballot. In this era of deep polarization, there are people running for political office who have no interest in maintaining a healthy democracy. Their idea of democracy has less to do with the will of the people and more to do with the will of their particular political tribe. Anything that deviates cannot be permitted, tolerated, or allowed.
That is a dangerous precedent.
History has shown, time and again, that if you give undemocratic people power, then they’re not going to be inclined to surrender that power. We’ve already seen what can happen when this goes too far. Regardless of how you feel about the other side of the political spectrum, nobody wins in the long run if the principles of democracy are abandoned in favor of holding onto power.
That’s not democracy, freedom, or a robust republic.
That’s just a foundation for tyranny and the many cycles that fuel it.
If it gets to a certain point, then voting won’t just be ineffective. It’ll be completely gone and done a way with, as we know it. If you live in a functioning democracy at the moment, you cannot allow it to get that far. Because once it does, it becomes much harder to resolve.
So please, take voting more serious than usual this time around. If you only ever vote in Presidential Elections, make an exception this year. For the good of democracy and the fight against encroaching authoritarianism, put in the effort.
If you haven’t already, learn how you can register to vote. Use this site from USAGov as a guide.
Also, use this site to check deadlines and learn procedures for your particular jurisdiction.
Check Voter Registration Deadlines and Laws in Your State | Vote.gov
It doesn’t cost you anything. And the potential benefits for you, your family, and future generations are vast.
America is not yet past the point of no return in which our democracy can’t recover, but we’re disturbingly close. We can’t undo all our mistakes and missteps all at once. But at the very least, we can make a concerted effort.
And the best way to contribute to that effort is to vote.
Don’t put it off.
Be as proactive as you can possibly be. Democracy needs us every bit as much as we need it.