Election Day 2020

I volunteered outside the polls today at the Alexandria Democratic Committee table, where we provided information to voters going in to vote — and cupcakes after they came out.

It’s Election Day, and I am afraid. Most registered voters in the country have already voted, so a lot of the decision has actually been made already. But it still seems clear that we might have to wait days or even weeks for final results.

Before you go any further, I warn you that this post is extremely partisan. I mostly stay away from politics in my blog, but I can’t keep silent anymore. If you’re a Trump supporter, you’ll hate the rest of this post and might just want to skip it.

I admit that presidential candidate Joe Biden was not my first choice among the Democratic contenders. But he was a good vice president and has a long record of service. And any negatives pale in comparison to his opponent’s negatives. And in Kamala Harris he has chosen an outstanding running mate who is smart, talented, articulate, and highly qualified.

Donald Trump is a menace. The whole country has seen him bragging on video that he has sexually assaulting women and can get away with it. That alone should have disqualified him from office, but his supporters chose him as their candidate anyway. Conspiring with at least one foreign government to dig up dirt on a political opponent should have disqualified him — it did get him impeached — but his supporters don’t care. Wrenching frightened children and infants from their parents and locking them up in deplorable living conditions without adequate heat, food, or hygiene supplies — and not bothering to keep clear records that would enable them to be reunited with their families — violated international laws and any standards of human decency, but his supporters think his vision of a Whiter America justifies his atrocities.

I could go on and on and on. He certainly does. Chose your favorite outrage. He botched the nation’s response to a global pandemic by pretending it was much less serious than it was, refusing to put basic precautions into place or to help the states do so, and berating those who took common-sense actions to slow the spread of the disease. His bungling has resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, and the numbers (contrary to what he’s saying) are still rising. He calls white supremacists “fine people” and not only hesitates to criticize bigots who attack and murder African-Americans and other people of color, but sends armed goons against peaceful protesters, and then blames the protesters for the resulting violence. He retweeted a call for the assassinations of two state governors, resulting in plots to kidnap and murder them, a plot that very well could have succeeded with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitman. The next governor on their list is my own governor here in Virginia, Ralph Northam, the only state governor in the country who is actually a doctor, which means he was particularly vocal about advocating for science-based responses to the pandemic. The same tweet that Trump disseminated also included the line, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”

He trashes the environment, sucks up to ruthless dictators while alienating our most cherished international allies, and institutes policies blatantly aimed at making the rich richer, on the backs of everyone else. And he hires wildly unqualified, incompetent people chosen for no reason except their willingness to praise him and do his bidding. He encourages hatred and violence at every turn. And then there are the slings and arrows of his constant petty sniping, name-calling, tantrum throwing, and other wildly unpresidential behavior. As I said before, I could go on and on. This litany only scratches the surface.

The polls show Biden ahead, but not by a lot. While I expect Biden to win the popular vote, the Electoral College is another story altogether, and tends to favor Republican candidates. Add in all the corruption and fraud perpetrated by his supporters — unofficial ballot boxes set out by the Republican Party of California; voters forced to stand in line for hours because of inadequate numbers of polling places in many Democratic neighborhoods, especially those with mostly Black voters; his directives to the U.S. Postal Service intended to slow delivery of mail-in ballots; the attempts, some of them successful, to disenfranchise large numbers of likely Democratic voters by putting restrictions on when mail-in votes must be received…. I could go on and on and on.

He refuses to agree that he will accept the outcome of the election. What will happen if he loses? Will he leave peacefully? I doubt it. What if he tries to keep the White House by force? What if his supporters go on rampages against people who voted against him? Over the weekend, local governments and business owners in some cities began boarding up buildings for fear of rioting on Election Day and afterward.

As bad as the potential for violence is if Biden wins, a Trump win would be worse. If he is allowed to continue, America will be unrecognizable as a democracy in another four years. It would be disastrous.

I don’t believe in sitting home and complaining while waiting for others to create change. I’ve tried to post relevant information online and call people out when they’ve posted lies. I’ve written hundreds of postcards to flip Senate seats in various states and to get out the vote. I voted early myself, brought my 18-year-old to vote with me, and volunteered at the polls for early voting. Today I’m working the Election Day polls. I know many others who have contributed in similar ways, and others who have done more. I only hope it’s enough.

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