For those of us who haven’t already cast our ballot, crawled inside a bottle and now sit nervously awaiting the election results in the weeks to follow, there are folks who have somehow still managed to remain undecided. This is for them. For those of you who already voted, congratulations. You may go fix yourself a bourbon and pat yourself on the back ceaselessly for saving democracy – that’s right, you alone saved it.
Right, now that my fellow self-congratulatory liberals are off working on a dependency, I can address the undecided voters. I suppose there are two groups of voters who’ve yet to make a choice. The first group is those who haven’t chosen their candidate yet, and the other group hasn’t decided whether at all. I’d like to speak first to those who’ve not chosen their presidential candidate yet.
I know watching the news is maddening, not because of the news, but because of the differences between sources. It’s so common to hear about Fox News being completely skewed, which it is, but its counterpart, MSNBC, is doing something quite similar. Both are trafficking in heavily partisan information. There’s actually nothing wrong with that per se, but the problem becomes that no one is watching plain old news, like a nightly network news program. So, we end up with two completely different information sources which are always at odds. I understand your frustration, but zoom out a bit.
Look at America’s political situation as though it were a country abroad, one that you have no direct stake in. Would you still be undecided then? Would you still be on the fence if you saw another country whose leader was openly racist, whose leader openly flouts his various crimes and obstructions, whose leader is so prone to lying that he’s statements are dubious even in a global pandemic, whose leader is so cavalier in his anti-immigrant sentiment that he’ll rationalize heinous policies in any way possible, whose leader courts domestic white supremacist terrorists, whose leader tells his voters to become de facto poll watchers, and whose leader’s only motivation is to enrich his own corrupt family? This is classic authoritarian strongman behavior. He has no interest in anyone but himself. He measures the nation’s health by the stock market’s performance, not how everyone is doing. He claims not to be racist, but he actively reinforces the white male dominant paradigm, with wealth and a lack of melanin being chief components. You’d say to yourself, “Wow, what’s happening over there is awful, he’s clearly only loyal to himself.”
“Over there” is here, you’re living in that country. President Trump is an objectively bad, immoral, and corrupt leader. His cabinet is as inexperienced and incompetent as he is, and they see nothing wrong with anything they’re doing. President Trump has been saying that if he loses, the election is rigged, that mail-in ballots breed fraud. He’s sowing the seeds of distrust early, so he has plausible deniability if he loses. This man is a nightmare, a racist orange nightmare.
So, when you say you’re still undecided, I’m not sure what you’ve left to consider. Regardless of whether or not you like Vice President Biden, you know he’s a human being with a heart, morals, and empathy enough for everyone. Biden knows loss, he knows suffering and sadness, he knows the office, and he wasn’t raised in a privilege vacuum. I implore you to be objective, and to take your personal opinions out of this. Who would make a moral leader? Which leader would maximize wellbeing and minimize suffering? You’ve had four years to observe President Trump. Have you seen anything but hatred and disunity? Whether or not you like Joe Biden as a person, he’s undeniably a better choice for leader, someone who can pull us away from the brink and right our course. Yes, this is a partisan message by definition, but history will not judge this cruel administration kindly. I implore you to think objectively, as though this was a highly publicized foreign election. Who should take care of the people “over there?”
Now, for the voters who’ve not yet decided to vote or stay home: I understand that many of you are historically disenfranchised, made to feel other or inferior. For that, I’m truly sorry. The last few years have been dark, ugly, and tragic for many of you. For that, I am also sorry. Some of you may also feel that your vote doesn’t matter, and I understand that too. The electoral college is odious, and voter disenfranchisement has been given the green light by the Republican Party. But, we have a chance to end this atrocity before it grows. If this country has any chance of returning to a state of relative peace, it lies in your voting in this election. Please, help us fix this. We’ve seen so much blood, so much violence and hatred. This can end, but it doesn’t end with inaction.
Given these last four years, I’d hope you can take a step back and realize how bad it has been for our country as a whole. The only people who’ve prospered are the white wealthy, not you and I. I’ll leave you with this:
This country has a shameful history, that history certainly includes these last four years. I’d say I’m not telling you who to vote for, but that’s a lie. If you don’t vote for yourself, vote for those whose lives this president has made harder. Vote for the soul of the country. Vote empathy.