Simply stated, our democracy is at stake and our country’s populace starkly divided. Though Donald Trump is mainly to blame and he may never win again, Trumpism has taken hold. We see this in people’s response to the lies the Republican Party, now the party of Trumpism, are spreading.
A belief our elections aren’t fair despite irrefutable proof they are. A lack of understanding how global conditions, climate change, and immigration actually impact our lives. The fact supply chain issues stemming from the pandemic are still causing inflation and no political party can wave a magic wand and end them. Not recognizing the Republican Party policies of appeasing corporate America, and reducing taxes on the rich, will simply make things worse. Just look at Great Britain.
Apparently, people will vote for a candidate who tells them they will take away their freedoms. They will vote for a candidate who turns away from the Constitution, who lies to them about everything. I try to stop myself from thinking these voters are just plain stupid, rather try to understand how they can be so gullible. However, if Trumpism (the Republican Party today) wins this election, I may just accept stupid.
I recognize my privilege as an older white man. I worked from the age of 10 and with savings, Social Security, and Medicare live a good life. Climate change, while horrendous, won’t impact me like it will young people who have a much longer life span than I have left. I am not a woman who lost my right to control my own healthcare and body. I care about all women and have fought for years for equal, quality healthcare, and to make choice the law of the land. But I am not directly impacted. I have no wife or daughter, and my sister is older also without children.
So I pray on Nov. 8th not to see election results and have to ask “where were the women, where were the young people? Why did they not come out to vote in huge numbers speaking out for their future with their ballot?” If they don’t vote, I will have no good answer. Neither will the pontificators who will try to give you one without success. If democracy and personal freedom lose in this election we will look back and say, “this really shouldn’t have been a difficult decision.” It should have been easy to come out and vote for the candidates who spoke to these issues and committed to fight for climate change legislation, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and the rights of workers. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to inform people about which candidates these were. How could people vote otherwise or stay home and not vote?
If Trumpism wins it will be easy to say “the American people got what they deserve.” But then I have never been one to wish bad things on others. So while they may not deserve it they will suffer. They will suffer from their own lack of action, from their own complacency, from their own unwillingness to stand up and speak out with their ballot. You can march till you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t vote in a democracy, you still lose.
If I sound depressed when I write this, you bet I am, after having spent a lifetime fighting for the things I believe in, and still fighting. I am still involved in politics and understand the need to vote. I am depressed because so many just don’t seem to get it.
There is still time to turn my depression into elation on Nov. 8th, still time to vote and make a statement. Maybe take a moment and look to Ukraine, and the Ukrainian people, to know what it means to fight for your life, your country, and your democracy. If a bomb were dropped in their city like Trump’s friend Putin is doing in Ukraine, would our young people fight or would they give up?
Well, Republicans are dropping one bomb after another on our cities only they aren’t the kind that cause physical damage, they are the kind that kill the soul, kill the spirit, take away your rights, one by one. We have it easy today, we don’t need weapons to win, we have the ballot. Everyone must use it while there is still time.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.