Our Battle Is On Your Ballot

The 2020 election is a battle. It’s a choice we are making, as a collective, about the type of society we wish to live within. Choose accordingly.

Historically, the citizens of this country have voted for a variety of reasons. Some personal, some professional, some patriotic-- whatever the reason, we voted. And some chose not to vote, out of protest, disenfranchisement, disillusionment or disengagement.

In the past, we all had our reasons for casting (or not casting) our ballot. 2020 is different. So. Damn. Different.

One week ago, we lost an icon of our legal infrastructure, of women’s rights, of LGBTQ rights and a leader of the legal infrastructure of equality in this country. As the news of the passing of RBG sunk in, images of the Supreme Court at night emerged, its steps filling with impromptu gatherings of citizens lighting candles and paying respect. And in the sky above this building was the planet Mars. The planet of conflict and war, currently in retrograde and predicted to bring a period of intense conflict until 2021.

I’m not here to debate the astrology (though I am a huge fan of following the planetary energies and alignments), I’m here to recognize that 2020 is not a simple vote. This election is a battle. It’s a choice we are making, as a collective, about the type of society we wish to live within.

Will we choose a society that mirrors the visions Ginsburg laid out so eloquently in her plethora of dissenting opinions over 40 years on the Court? Will we choose a society of justice, equality and opportunity for every single person on our shores? Will we choose to secure and increase our safety nets for our elderly, our young and our poor? Will we allow people to use their voices in dissent, take to the streets to hold power accountable and cast ballots every two years to elect public servants who will shape our society in their vision?

Or will we choose a society that mirrors the most vile and disgusting that humanity has to offer? Will we choose to maintain our status quo as a country that rips children from their mother’s arms and throws them into cages? A country that allows its politicians to stoke racism and division and empowers white domestic terrorists to roam the streets cosplaying war games because those in power are making too much money to ever stop. Are we a society that allows a psychotic kleptocratic president to sell our country off, piece by piece, to oligarchs and foreign actors until there’s nothing but a skeleton left? Are we a society that simply accepts the death of 200,000 of its fellow citizens so we can open bars, schools and malls? Are we a society that accepts the administration’s pandemic policy of herd immunity when, according to MATH, that means 2-6.5 million Americans will die by the time it’s all said and done?

Are we a country that allows a president to admit openly, on camera, repeatedly, that he will not uphold the constitution and commit to a peaceful transfer of power when he loses this election?

I’m pleading with you, please, for the love of all things Holy, remove politics from your decisions to vote and check off Biden’s name on that ballot. I know, Biden sucks as a candidate. Truly. Kamala is his saving grace, but I can’t believe I have to so willingly and deeply support an old ass white man who should be playing golf in his golden years, not deciding how my country will look for the next four years. I get it, 100%. But here’s the thing.

I am happily voting for Biden. I am voting for Biden so my dear friends in same sex marriages can sleep at night. I’m voting for Biden so my niece can grow up in a country that respects her gender and allows her to be anything she desires when she grows up. I’m voting for Biden because we need a progressive wing with some power to enact desperately needed climate crisis policy. I’m voting for Biden because I want the elders I look up to and love dearly to have social security and safety nets as they age. I’m voting for Biden because I want my best friend who works his ass off as an essential worker to not have to moonlight for Uber because Congress can’t pass any support for millions of suffering Americans and he has a family to feed. I’m voting for Biden because I want my dear single mother friends to be able to afford child care and not have to work 3 jobs to send her kids to school. I’m voting for Biden because I care deeply about the people in my community and in my life.

I’m voting for Biden because I want to live in a country of laws, of justice and of opportunity. I want to fight to make this country better and remove the corporate money and dark money from our public systems. I want to fight to fix the damage to our country that’s been done the past four years-- to restore our judicial system, to remove the dangerous algorithms and to restore the social safety nets and checks and balances.

I’m voting for Biden because I want to have a country left to fight for and live within. Please, I am not being dramatic, I am writing about this as much as humanly possible and screaming it from the mountain tops if I have to-- vote as though your life depends on it-- BECAUSE IT DOES.

We are not voting for a conservative or a progressive, democrat or republican-- we are voting for the rule of law or authoritarianism. As a journalist who worked in failed states and watched the collapse of governments first hand, I can tell you that living in a country with no functioning government or under a dictatorship absolutely sucks. I was in Nepal when the government collapsed and mountains of trash was piled up in the city parks and street corners because trash collection stopped. A cholera outbreak ensued and the people were scared and miserable.

One day after I landed in Jordan for a project in Palestine, tanks rolled into my town and armed soldiers took to the streets because it WAS ELECTION DAY! While in Pakistan I had to avoid all internet use because the homes I stayed in (which were the wealthiest families in the area) were sold and operated by the “military” and so was their internet. I’ve traveled through Palestine and Israel and experienced the demeaning process of navigating road blocks, showing my “papers” to soldiers on buses and been harassed by armed teenagers masquerading as soldiers for simply walking down the street. I’ve spent time talking with rebel soldiers and wealthy families living under authoritarian rule and I can tell you this-- YOU DO NOT WANT TO LIVE LIKE THAT. Everything you say is monitored and categorized. You don’t pay your taxes, you bribe government officials. If you exercise your freedom of speech, you’re shot on the street or locked up for decades.I studied these cultures and documented their lives under dictatorship and failed states to try and understand how they arrived at such a place and what can be done to resolve such a situation.

Once a country is in a failed state status or under authoritarian rule, reversing course is almost impossible. Reversing such a reality takes armed conflict (usually from an outside force), internal revolution and decades of struggle- sometimes generations. I don’t believe any of us what to live under such a reality here on our shores.

So, I ask you, please...vote for Biden. Hold your nose, close your eyes and just vote for Biden. You don’t have to even openly admit it if you’re a conservative and have never voted Blue in your life. I get it. It’s painful to go against the identity and the beliefs that you have held onto all your life. But this is where we are, facing the choice between Democracy or Dictatorship.

We must vote. We must vote for Biden. Then we must fix this dumpster fire and restore the vision of a just and equitable society. We must vote. And we must get our friends and family to understand the gravity of the situation, no matter how painful that may be. Vote. Now.