I admit it. With the election looming less than a month away and this global pandemic showing no signs of magically disappearing anytime soon, I’m on edge. Every time I see folks in the grocery store ignoring the “mask required” signs prominently displayed, I want to scream. But what good would that do? These folks are all too happy to ignore the threat they pose to everyone around them, never mind themselves. I know Americans prize individualism, but how about a smattering of communal responsibility and “good will toward all” here?
And, to continue my rant, my blood pressure went through the roof today when two writer group friends announced in our on-line conversation that they had banned all political news from their homes and lives. “Too upsetting,” they said. Time to escape into our fiction reading and writing.
I value escapism, too. Immersing myself in my current work-in-progress or a riveting mystery novel comes as a welcome relief from all the political chaos of the day. But IMO, it is grossly irresponsible to remain in our fictional worlds all the time. We are citizens, no? Isn’t it our responsibility to keep ourselves well informed, so we can VOTE intelligently?
This isn’t just any old election. Our democracy is on the line here. The person currently occupying the oval office is calling for the indictment of his political opponent and predecessor, insisting the election must be rigged if he doesn’t win, and refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if that happens.
What does this remind you of? How about the tactics of every ruthless dictator-in-the-making who has ever clung to power?
This is no time to hide under a blanket, or even inside the covers of a good book. If we value our democracy, we must speak up and fully participate. We need to VOTE like our nation’s bedrock democratic values and institutions are on the ballot.
Because they are.