Adaptation to These Days
I voted by mail this week. Back in August I filled out the form and requested a mail-in ballot. It arrived about a week after they sent it out. I found myself a witness — voted and took it to the post office myself to place in their bin.
I had signed up with my county board of elections for text and email updates as my vote moved through the post office to their offices. The morning after I mailed it — I was informed the post office had scanned it in as received and sent it on to the board of elections. Three days after that the board of elections confirmed my vote had been accepted.
No standing in lines for hours — even with early voting (which I always did in the past) the lines were massive in my area. Those were minutes/hours/days over the course of my voting career I would never get back.
By having a copy of the ballot in front of me — I could review every candidate at my leisure, at home, on my computer, and make a much better-informed selection. One that aligned more with my principles than ennie meanie miney moe. As we have learned over the course of the last four years — who you elect to the judicial branch can make or break a democracy.
With the tracking they have in play, I felt less apprehensive about trying to vote this way. I have friends who are American citizens living abroad who have voted this way for most of their adult lives. I belong to two high-risk groups in regards to COVID. The last thing I wanted to do was hang out in a crowd. Especially if that crowd contained Humans who did not share my concern for transmission of infection.
And I think of all the things — that part makes me the saddest about this. Whenever I voted in the past, anyone standing in line with me would chat. It was usually quite a wait, and I live in the south. It’s what we do. Chat-up total strangers. Look for connections. Be hospitable. But not this election. This election there are Haters, Snowflakes, Fascists, White Supremacists, Black Lives That Matter, and Blue Lives That Matter as well. We are no longer citizens of the same country.
The United States has never been a perfect experiment. But I always went to the polls with hope. Hope that each of us voting our conscience would bring about a better life for our kids and their kids. I know I might have been naive, but I believed in The System. Flawed — because it was wrought by flawed Humans. But also capable of greatness — just like those very same flawed Humans who constructed it and sustained it.
It is VITAL that we maintain our belief in The System. If we lose faith with it, if we cease to believe in the best vision of America — Her Potential — we will lose Her completely. And just like magic, unicorns, and dragons — She will be left behind as a childhood fantasy.
I am begging you to BELIEVE again. In Magic. And Unicorns. And Dragons. And most of all — in America. The best version of America that we can make. She will never be ‘great’ — but She will always be Ours.
Whatever your political allegiance — it’s long past time to stop tearing each other apart. We have more important work to do. And we bloody well need to get to it.