I do not intend for this blog to be political, and I have spent my days since my last post on October 10 working on a story about my grandmother. It is decidedly apolitical. I have also spent the month watching the headlines and thinking about what is happening in the world and in the country. I have spent the days leading up to the mid-term elections hoping I am not alone in my understanding of just how important they are.
We must vote.
While I am firm in my commitment to write here almost entirely about writing, in all its many, glorious, and frustrating manifestations, there are times when it is no longer possible to leave it at that. There are times when remaining silent, or objective, or neutral, is not only difficult; it is destructive. There are times when a writer must write about what is happening in the polis.
The state of the union in the year 2018 is alarmingly bad.
To remedy that, we must vote.
The foundation of our system of governing this polis that is America is crumbling, and what is at stake in the elections on November 6 is the basic safety net that makes it possible for all sorts of poor leaders to make an almost unlimited number of mistakes and bad decisions without razing the entire structure.
If the Republicans retain control of the House and the Senate, there will no longer be a functioning structure of checks and balances in the government of this country.
Those responsible for the atrocities of the last two years will have thrown off the last of their shackles and will be free to do precisely as they want. They won’t need my approval, or yours.
I keep believing that each new horror from this administration is as bad as it can get, that there will surely be a reckoning this time.
I believed it passionately when toddlers and infants were separated from their parents at the border. There could be no chance that the people of this great nation would be silent and passive in the face of what anyone who watches “Law and Order: SVU,” knows– what happens to children alone on city streets. The media talked and wrote about the lasting psychological scars that result when a small child is pulled away from all sense of safety and left to languish among strangers. The information was there. A remedy would be found.
It was not, and many of those children will never see their parents again.
This week eight hundred armed soldiers are amassing at our southern border to protect us from people much like those whose lives were shattered when their children were taken from them.
Last month, a man whose smug entitlement and the thin veneer of his privileged world collapsed in a red-faced, spittle-throwing temper tantrum for the simple reason that he had been questioned, had been accused, and might be deprived of what he wanted–and believed he deserved.
Our president, at a campaign rally during the same week, openly mocked the woman who dared to accuse him.
Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to a seat on the Supreme Court. Christine Blasey Ford was discredited and tossed aside, her utter irrelevance underscored.
Last week, a man with rage in his soul and Trump stickers covering his car, mailed bombs to prominent politicians and celebrities, including two former presidents.
Our president bemoaned the fact that “all this bomb stuff” had slowed down Republican momentum heading into the mid-term elections.
Yesterday, eleven people were killed in a synagogue in Pittsburgh by a man shouting “All Jews must die.” It was a chilling echo of the war cries of the white nationalists who marched on the University of Virginia campus.
Today, our president assured us that the gun laws had no bearing on the shooting and that the incident would have ended more happily had the synagogue had the proper security in place. He joked later in the day that he had almost cancelled a rally because standing in the rain and wind, answering reporters’ questions, had made a mess of his hair.
And, so, this blog post isn’t about politics after all. It is about those things that are so clearly immoral, so firmly opposed to the basic standards of human decency, that they can no longer be addressed in terms of liberal vs. conservative or Republican vs. Democrat. They are, or they should be, an insult to the good sense and acceptable values that are common to us all.
It is time now, for the women and men of this nation to stand up. If we don’t stand now, it will be a very long time before we have the chance again.
We cannot afford to be partisan. We cannot afford to dither about the imperfections of this or that candidate. We cannot afford to stay at home or to vote for an independent or a libertarian or Aunt Sue’s best friend. We must vote for survival. We must vote for the salvation of these United States of America. We must vote in spite of the irrefutable evidence that every effort is being made to keep us from voting.
WE SIMPLY MUST VOTE.