Category Archives: Current Events

Happy Black Friday (And Post-Thanksgiving Recovery)!

I hope everyone had a safe, happy, and filling Thanksgiving. I certainly did. For that, I must credit my wonderful family. My parents, especially, organized an incredible feast, complete with a delicious turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans. I still managed to contribute someone. I’m usually responsible for making desserts, which usually involve cookies. They were still good, but I feel like my parents did most of the heavy lifting.

Now, after spending a good chunk of yesterday and this morning in a food coma, I’m ready for my second favorite holiday tradition for this time of year. And that’s Black Friday shopping.

I know. Black Friday is very much an overly commercialized holiday that’s primarily a marketing gimmick.

Yes, I know it’s meant to cater to those who either make shopping a much bigger deal than it needs to be.

No, I do not care.

I know it’s weird for a straight man, but I genuinely enjoy shopping. I especially enjoy Christmas shopping. I do suspect some of that comes from my mother. She has told me more than once that when I was a baby, one of her favorite things to do was take me shopping at the closest mall. I think that helped prime me for the joys of Black Friday shopping and for that, I am grateful.

But however you feel about shopping or Black Friday, this is a great day to take some of those calories you consumed and spend them in a productive manner. Christmas is just a month away and in my experience, there are no downsides to getting your shopping done as early as possible.

I’ve had most of my shopping done since the first week of November. However, I still go out on Black Friday because every now and then, I’ll come across something I feel will be the perfect gift for a friend or family member. Even if I’ve already bought that person a gift, I’ll still get it to make Christmas morning that much more special.

I hope to continue that tradition today. And after the events of the past two years, I hope the Black Friday festivities are back at full strength. Even with the rise of online shopping, there’s just something special about going to a mall or retail outlet to take in the ambience. I’ve always enjoyed it. I hope to continue enjoying it. And I encourage others to embrace that spirit.

Happy Black Friday!

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone reading this uses today to get those you care about something extra special.

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Filed under Current Events, Jack Fisher's Insights

The Human Population Has Reached 8 Billion: Thoughts, Feelings, Hopes, And (Dirty) Jokes

Recently, the human race achieved a major milestone.

According to the United Nations, the human population of this planet exceeded 8 billion for the first time.

It became official on November 15, 2022. That’s not to say the measure was precise. We are talking about global population here on a chaotic world. The best we can ever do is reasonable, educated guesses. And using that standard and the limited tools available to us, we can confidently determine that we’ve crossed that special 8 billion threshold.

We’ll probably never know who was the 8 billionth human.

We’ll probably never know where they were born, what their circumstances were, or whether they were aware of their importance.

But whoever they are, they got us to that milestone and beyond. What it means for us, as a species, is hard to quantify, even for exceptionally smart people. I don’t consider myself exceptionally smart, but I’m still going to try.

Now, it’s easy for the cynical crowd to see this milestone and say to themselves, “Just what we need. More humans on this overpopulated planet to suck more dwindling resources.” Believe me, I get that mentality. I’ve certainly shared my own growing cynicism from time to time. I think it’s largely a byproduct of getting older and being more aware of just how complicated and messy people can be.

However, as cynical as I often feel at times, I have not completely abandoned hope for humanity or our collective future. I’ve come close a few times. The events of 2020 certainly tested me. But for the moment, that hope is still intact and I think this milestone offers perspective, as well as encouragement.

For one, it definitively shows that, as bad as the COVID-19 pandemic has been these past two years, it hasn’t been apocalyptic. It did disrupt our society, our world, and our lives. But it didn’t send our entire population into a death spiral in the same mold as the plagues of the past. In another time and another era, it might have really hit our species harder, so much so that we might be in far greater danger.

But we endured. We adapted, innovated, and survived. While there are still some who insist on dragging their feet with respect to progress and modern medicine, that hasn’t completely dragged down the whole of humanity. More than anything else, it reveals just how complicated, erratic, and diverse we can be.

It’s easy to focus on the worst of humanity and get lost in the horror. I know I have. Anyone who has picked up a history book probably feels that way, too. But that just makes this milestone all the more impressive. The fact that we’ve lasted as long as we have on this planet and grown our population to this level definitely counts as an accomplishment.

On top of that, much of that growth is actually quite recent. The human species, in their most modern form, is only about 200,000 years old. And for much of that history, our population never exceeded more than a few hundred million. We didn’t cross the billion threshold until around 1800. Just 200 years later, we’ve increased that eightfold. Numerically speaking, that’s incredible growth.

If that weren’t impressive enough, consider one other factor. For the vast majority of human history, women endured the rigors of pregnancy and childbirth without the aid of modern pain killers and medicine. That’s right. We were humping and birthing millions of humans in dirty, unsanitary conditions for centuries on end. If you’re a woman who has given birth, take a moment to think about how our ancestors endured. Also take a moment to consider how many women and children died because of those challenges.

It says a lot about humanity, especially women, that we made it to this point. You need only look at some of the natural disasters this planet is capable of to appreciate what we’ve been up against during our reign on this planet. We managed to survive, thrive, and birth our way towards 8 billion people through it all.

And if you’ve got an exceptionally dirty mind, it might also belabor just how horny the human species can be. Now, I’ll try not to get too explicit.

If I had a truly dirty mind, I could joke about how the orgasm has single-handedly endured the survival of our species.

I could joke about how great sex has to be for women to endure the rigors of pregnancy and childbirth before the advent of modern medicine.

I could joke about how nature’s wrath and constant disasters hasn’t kept people from getting horny, hooking up, and birthing more equally horny humans.

I could even joke about just how much sex we, as a species, had to have in order to get to 8 billion people.

But I’m not going to. I have as dirty mind as any straight guy who writes sexy stories, but not that dirty. Instead, I’d like to offer one simple message to this mass of humanity that we’ve created.

Congratulations!

We made it. We’ve succeeded on a planet on which 99 percent of all the species that have ever existed are now extinct. We may not have been on this planet for very long, relatively speaking. But we’ve certainly left our mark, literally and figuratively.

We’ve achieved great things.

We’ve done things no species has ever done before.

We’ve literally made islands within the sea, traveled into space, and reshaped entire landscapes to our whim.

Yes, we have been irresponsible and reckless, at times.

And yes, we still have much to learn. Being a fairly young species, we’re still maturing. We’re still charting our own path. We will encounter more obstacles. We’ll also endure plenty of setbacks, some of which will leave future generations distraught and distressed.

But we are still in position to achieve so much more. We may very well be capable of succeeding in ways no previous species on this planet has ever succeeded. We may take control of our own evolution, transcend the limits of biology, and build greater wonders than we can possibly imagine.

Those reading this may not live to see it, but you will still have played a role in helping this vast species we call humanity succeed. That’s something to be proud of. But it should also grant us perspective.

We are still very vulnerable to so many dangers, some of which we create ourselves and some of which are inherent to the universe we live in. But let’s not shy away from these dangers or the challenges they bring. Let’s also not dwell incessantly on the morbid past, but let’s not forget it either.

Every individual is so complex in their own sense of being. Add 8 billion of those individuals to the mix and the complexities become exponentially greater.

But through it all, we’re still here. We still made it this far.

There’s so much more ahead of us. Let’s make our way towards it. While one human alone can only ever achieve so much. The possibilities for 8 billion humans and counting promises to be so much greater.

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Happy Veterans Day 2022!

Today is Veteran’s Day.

For some, it’s just another federal holiday that may or may not afford them a day off.

For others, it’s a bittersweet day to remember those who are serving in the military, as well those who have served. It’s also a day in which we take the time to acknowledge and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in their service.

These brave men and women are worth honoring. And if you have any veterans or active military in your family or community, please use this day to show them some appreciation. Whether it involves donating to a military charity, volunteering to help wounded veterans, or just being extra kind to those you know who have served, there’s plenty you can do to support these people.

It takes a special kind of person to serve their country. Even those who are willing aren’t always able. And those who are able aren’t always willing. What they do and why they do it requires a rare set of traits that only a handful can willingly channel. These same remarkable individuals are the ones we trust to defend our country, our values, and our way of life. Throughout our history, we’ve called upon them and they’ve answered. We can argue the merits and politics behind these conflicts. But we should never doubt the bravery and spirit that our veterans wield in carrying out their duty.

I also think that Veteran’s Day this year holds even more significance than usual. The world has become a much more dangerous place these past two years. Between the threats coming from reactionary forces within this country and emerging threats overseas, there are still conflicts for which we may need to rely on these rare souls. Hopefully, it never comes to that. Talk to anyone who has ever experienced combat.

Nobody hates wars more than soldiers.

Sometimes, it’s necessary and unavoidable. We still don’t know just how dangerous things will get in the near or far future. Whatever happens, we will need these brave men and women to answer the call as they’ve done before throughout history. It’ll be hard then, but that’s all the more reason to support them now.

I have close family members who have served. I also have relatives and ancestors who did see combat. There’s no getting around how it affected them. They needed more support than most when returning. Some are lucky enough to have family, friends, and various mechanisms of support. But not everyone is that lucky. They’re the ones who need today more than most.

Our nation is what it is because of the veterans who fought to defend and preserve it.

So, whatever you do to honor them, please make today special for them.

Happy Veterans Day!

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It’s Election Day, America. Now Vote!

My fellow Americans, it’s finally here.

I’m as sick of all the campaign ads as you are, but it’s here.

Election Day 2022 is upon us.

Now, I know I’ve been very pessimistic and cynical lately. And I stand by all of that. I still believe that today will mark the last true democratic election the United States will ever have. After today, it’s just a slow and steady descent into Christian Nationalism. Given some of the things I’ve said about organized religion in the past, I fully expect to “suffer a tragic accident” at some point later in my life.

We’re all screwed is what I’m saying.

But that’s all the more reason to cherish this last Election Day. This will be the last time I’ll be able to vote in something meaningful for the country I love. I’m really not looking forward to a bunch of right-wing reactionaries turning this Country into a Fox New fever dream until the world ends. But, as a country and an idea, I think America has had a good run.

Historically, most democracies don’t last for very long. And America has lasted a lot longer than most. I think that still counts as a win in the grand scheme of things. This country succeeded on a level I think few ever expected. There’s a lot to be proud of in that regard. But all good things must come to an end. And today is the beginning of that end.

So please take the time to enjoy it.

Get out there and vote.

Thank you, America. I’ll miss you.

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Combating Hate And Politics With Kindness (With Lessons From Mr. Rogers)

We live in a strange time.

I know you could say that about many other periods in history. Even within my own lifetime, I’ve experienced periods that are well beyond the scope of what we think of as normal. The recent upheavals with the COVID-19 pandemic certainly qualify.

But as overwhelming as that was, I still find today’s current state of affairs both unusual and striking. It’s not just that things are changing so fast and we’re all struggling to keep up. That has been a constant for much of the modern world. It’s more that people seemed so overwhelmed, so upset, and so frustrated that they’re forgetting the most basic elements of getting along with fellow human beings.

It’s true. People have always been mean, hateful, and downright cruel to one another. You don’t have to look far into the recent or distant past to see humans committing egregious atrocities on other humans. And I certainly don’t deny there have been worse times in that regard. If you’re alive today, you should consider yourself somewhat lucky. It wasn’t that long ago that such atrocities were both disturbingly common and largely unpunished.

But even with that perspective in mind, I feel like our collective capacity to hate one another has escalated considerably. You could blame politics, going back to the 2016 Presidential Election or even the 2008 Presidential Election. You could also blame the media, pop culture, social trends, religion, and everything in between. I know I’ve criticized those things plenty and will likely continue to do so in the future.

At the end of the day, though, I understand there’s only so much you can do to influence another person. Whether it’s on politics, personal tastes, or personality quirks, we’re all still individuals. We still have our own thoughts, feelings, and biases. That has always been the case. But I can’t recall a time when those elements we all share have been the fuel for so much outright hatred.

It’s easy to notice online, but it’s happening more and more in real life. Real people are committing real acts of violence and hatred towards other people for the simple crime of not agreeing with them on something, be it politics, ideology, or pop culture. It’s getting to a point where the disagreements don’t even have to be about something big like politics or religion. Just being different and existing is now sufficient to invite someone’s hatred.

That is not a tenable state of affairs.

That is not good for individuals, people, or the world in general.

You can blame the internet and political polarization all you want on this, but that only goes so far. At the end of the day, it’s people who still act. It’s people who still speak and send messages through various mediums, be it mundane or hateful. The tools we use don’t create the hate. They may reinforce and spread it. But like it or not, we are the ones that create it. We are the ones that use it as excuses for violence and hate.

I don’t deny that I’ve said dumb things on the internet. I’ve expressed hateful sentiments, both in real life and online. I’m only human and I do regret it. But I also try to counter those inclinations with something stronger. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that doing so is not that difficult. It doesn’t even require some kind of radical rethinking of your current thoughts, beliefs, or biases.

It all comes down to a simple approach.

Be kind.

That’s it. That’s really all you need to counter so much of the hate and mistrust that seems to infect our world at every turn. It may sound simplistic or cliched, but make no mistake. There’s real power in kindness. Most people understand that on some levels. But one man, in particular, dedicated his life to understanding it. You’ve probably heard of him. His name is Fred Rogers, better known to generations of kids as Mr. Rogers from “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.”

Now, there’s a lot I could say about him and his message. There are no shortage of stories about him that are so heartwarming, they help renew your faith in humanity. But in the spirit of keeping things simple, I’ll just share this clip that I think best explains the true power of kindness.

Please take Mr. Rogers’ message of kindness to heart. In a world as divided as ours, a little kindness goes a long way.

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Filed under Current Events, human nature, Jack Fisher's Insights

My (Genuine) Worries About Election Day 2022

It’s almost here, my fellow Americans.

Election Day is almost upon us.

As per the constitution, Election Day occurs on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. That means November 8, 2022, is a day every American should have marked on their calendar. Whatever you’re doing that day, please plan on voting, if you haven’t already. Make whatever accommodations you need, be it time off work or finding transportation. It’s not just an important responsibility, as an American. It may very well be necessary for the continued survival for this country, as we know it.

I know that sounds a little dire and hyperbolic. I also doubt I’m the first one you’ve seen make such a claim. Doom and gloom tends to come with every election. Every year, it seems, the election is framed as the most important election of our collective lifetime. I think I’ve heard that message in some form or another since I became old enough to vote. As a result, it’s hard to take seriously.

That being said, this year is different.

Yes, I know every year is different, by definition. But 2022 brings us a unique set of circumstances the likes of which this country has not encountered before.

This year, we’re not just voting for new candidates to represent us at multiple levels of government. We’re voting on the continued existence of real democracy, itself.

This time, it’s not hyperbole or a marketing gimmick. This a real, tangible issue that we can’t avoid.

That’s because this year, a sizable chunk of the American electorate will have to vote on a ballot in which at least one candidate still denies the validity of the 2020 election. That is not a trivial issue to overlook.

We’re not talking about radically different opinions on tax policy, budget allocations, or welfare programs.

We’re talking about people who believe an election is not valid if their side loses. That’s not a simple difference in opinion or political ideology. That’s an unequivocal denial of both democracy itself, as well as reality.

Now, I don’t want to get too heavy into the objectively absurd claims that a bunch of right-wing whiners have been making about the 2020 election. There’s are plenty of legitimate news outlets that counter those claims and provide clear evidence that the results of the 2020 election reflected the will of the American people. If you are someone who refuses to accept that for whatever reason, then I’m sorry. You’re no better than a creationist and a flat-Earther at this point.

But regardless of how provably wrong such claims are, plenty of candidates, mostly within the republican party, cling to this absurdity. What makes it even worse is that a non-insignificant part of the electorate believes it too. And they will vote for candidates who share those beliefs, no matter how wrong they are or how stupid, corrupt, or cruel the candidate is as an individual.

I’m convinced these people would vote for Satan, Lex Luthor, and the corpse of Ted Bundy if it simply told them they would vote in line with their regressive Christian Nationalist platform. And make no mistake, that platform is completely un-American with respect to democracy, human rights, freedom, liberty, and overall decency to your fellow human being.

These individuals, as well as the people who vote for them, may sincerely believe they’re right. They may truly believe that anyone less conservative than Pat Robertson eats babies, worships the devil, and wants to utterly destroy America. But those individuals cannot and should not be taken seriously in any society that seeks a healthy democracy. These people are in a dangerous death cult.

The cult leaders are exploiting them for money, power, and exploitation.

The cult followers are enabling them by actually voting for these sociopaths.

Now, here in 2022, they’ve so weakened democracy and so polarized the country that they’re within a handful of votes from holding real positions of power. And once sociopaths have power, they never give it up willingly. If enough of them do get elected, they won’t just further the agendas of election deniers and Christian Nationalists. They will make it so that it’s much harder to vote them out of office and it’s much easier for them to hold onto power, even when the vast majority of the American people don’t share their positions.

It’s already been happening due to voter suppression and gerrymandering. It’s no longer enough for the will of the people to be against them. The people actually have to vote in overwhelming numbers to at least hinder or slow these sociopath’s pursuit of power. But if that doesn’t happen this year, then expect it to get much worse in the years to come.

Power seeks more power.

The powerful will always pursue greater power.

It has played out in history many times within many societies. America is not immune to it. All it takes for democracy as we know it to end is for people to willingly elect those who undermine it. At that point, your vote truly doesn’t matter. And America, as we know it, changes into whatever these sociopaths desire, be it a Christian theocracy or a corporate-owned oligarchy.

I don’t want that for the country I love.

Most Americans don’t want that.

But the only way to stop it is to vote in such overwhelming numbers that these right-wing sociopaths never gain the power they seek. That’s not to say those on the other side of the spectrum are angels. They’re not. I’m not too fond of the democratic party in America, but at least the candidates on that side actually believe in empowering people to vote, rather than subverting it. And for America to continue, as a functioning free society, we need to retain that, as well as improvement. We certainly can’t expect those who deny the 2020 election and objective reality to do the same.

So please, my fellow Americans, do what you can to vote this year.

Do whatever it takes.

Because this year, it’s not just a choice between a republican or a democrat.

It’s a choice between someone who believes in democracy and someone who seeks to destroy it for their own selfish benefit.

If you need resources, please use the following link:

https://www.usa.gov/voting

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Filed under Current Events, politics

My Trip To New York Comic Con 2022

As I promised, I’ve compiled some of the videos and images of my trip to the New York Comic Con into a video for my YouTube Channel, Jack’s World. Please note that this is only a fraction of the footage I took. There was just so much to see and so many people to meet. There was just no way I could fit it into one video, but I did my best to make sure it captured the experience. Enjoy!

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Filed under Current Events, DC Comics, Jack's World, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, movies, New York Comic Con, superhero comics, superhero movies, television, video games

Post-New York Comic Con Afterglow Setting In

Yesterday was a damn good day. Defintely a true return to form for the New York Comic Con. After two years of dealing with COVID-19, this felt like a truly complete Comic Con experience. For that, I cannot thank the fine folks who make the New York Comic Con experience possible every year. And I cannot thank enough the wonderful people who attend these conventions to make them so special.

From the comic book creators to the cosplayers to the celebrities to the food vendors to the security guards, I thank you.

This was truly special. As I’m typing this, I am nothing short of exhausted. Between navigating the Jacob Javits Center to traveling to New York City to finding appropriate lodging that won’t render me broke, it’s always quite challenging. But it’s still so worth it.

This year, I had a chance to meet a few of my favorite comic book writers. I managed to get some autographs, as well as a few special variant comics that I fully plan to frame. I met some amazing cosplayers who had some truly remarkable costumes. I also met a major celebrity. I won’t say who it is, but you’ve probably seen him in a several major blockbuster movies.

I’m going to take some time to rest and relax from it all. Then, at some point, I’m going to take the footage I captured and put it in a YouTube video for my channel, Jack’s World. I’m looking forward to sharing it. I’m also already looking forward to attending New York Comic Con next year, as well.

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Filed under Current Events, DC Comics, Jack's World, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, movies, New York Comic Con, superhero comics, superhero movies, television, video games

Heading To New York Comic Con 2022!

It’s finally here!

I’ve been waiting all year for it and with more anticipation than usual!

The New York Comic Con is finally here!

As I’m writing this, I struggle contain my excitement. It’s a familiar feeling I experience every year I’ve gone, but I’m still not tired of it. This year promises to be extra special.

After two years of being bogged down by the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Comic Con is set to return at full strength. That means no reduced capacity and no limited vendors. That means I’ll have to plan extra carefully in order to attend all the panels and get all the autographs I hope to get. But I’m willing to make that effort.

I even have a new costume this year that I can’t wait to show off. It cost me extra to get it customized, but I already feel it’s worth every penny.

So I hope New York is ready for me! Because I’m so ready for this.

New York Comic Con 2022, here I come!

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Filed under Current Events, DC Comics, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, New York Comic Con, superhero comics, superhero movies

Why You Should Register To Vote NOW

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.

Voter Registration | USAGov

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 wait.

Don’t put it off.

Be as proactive as you can possibly be. Democracy needs us every bit as much as we need it.

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