One. When I was in 7th grade, I first took a short course in marketing and advertising. I think a lot about that class now, and how the right words, images, and music can convince you of an idea. How they can push your emotional buttons just enough to make you buy a product or turn you against one of your neighbors. Like when the word socialism is tossed around so haphazardly today as a scare tactic.
Two. To watch one major political party repress votes is a damning indication that they know they have a dim future, and the only way they can stay in power is to cheat. These last four years the federal government is drifting further toward authoritarianism. They frame their vision as “Real America” with the arrogance of oligarchs. These are things antithetical to our constitutional republic.
Three. I struggle to understand the women who support the current executive. Perhaps they imagine he is fighting for them against an imaginary enemy, using all those tools I first heard about in the 7th grade. But from here, those individuals bear a striking similarity to those who cannot break free from an abusive relationship.
Four. I am frustrated with those who tell me people should get along regardless of who they support in this federal election. While I agree that whether you want a more limited or active federal government does not make you a bad person, supporting the current executive – who is the very definition of a malignant narcissist – makes me question your judgment, your patriotism, and your commitment to playing fair.
Five. I remember the first moment of dread in the summer of 2016, when my mother started telling me how the older men in her church were speaking so highly of the person who would go on to win the election that fall. I thought for sure men who boasted about their Christianity would see the fundamental problems with that individual and would put country over party. I was wrong. Apparently, lying, cheating, abusing, belittling and mocking were all okay.
Six. I have heard a group of people complaining that electing Democrats will mean their guns will be taken away. I’ve heard this for 40 years. These are the same people that keep telling me that the rapture of the church and the return of Christ are just around the corner. Neither have happened.
Seven. People I love and respect told me they didn’t vote for him, they voted for the Republican party, so they held their nose and cast their ballots. Holding your nose and voting for a monster is still voting for a monster. It is still voting to give power to a bully and an abuser. I listened, shocked and disappointed, to the stories they would invent about the other candidate to make them feel better about the poor decision they just made in the voting booth.
Eight. The confederate statues along Monument Avenue in my hometown needed to come down. For as much fear and trepidation that was sold by religious conservatives during the Obama administration, all of those statues stayed put. Unchecked police power, a long history of racial repression, and a spiteful, hateful federal executive were the catalysts to bring them down. When I walked down that avenue in the summer of 2020, it was far different from the old-money avenue of the 20th century. Conservatives abandoned it for the suburbs.
Nine. I’m angry about the cost of healthcare and higher education. They have spiraled out of control. I don’t want them to be free, but as a percentage of median incomes, they are egregiously high.
Ten. When did we embrace laissez-faire capitalism again? A hundred years ago, Teddy Roosevelt recognized what was going on globally, as true socialist movements were on the rise. To keep them from happening in the United States, he made it a point to break up Standard Oil — putting a check on corporate economic power. Capitalism with some modest regulations allowed the country to prosper outside of wartime. Dwight Eisenhower understood that as well.
Eleven. When did we start celebrating and elevating ignorance? Thirty years ago, I worked my college summers and breaks at a construction site, and the conservative men in their 50s and 60s repeatedly told me, “Get your college degree, you don’t want to be doing this when you’re my age.” Now there is a political party which mocks educational achievement and embraces conspiracy theories. Running away from facts and established knowledge because you don’t like them is not the way to build a competitive nation in a 21st century global marketplace.
Twelve. What would Jesus do? I’ve worshipped in Baptist and Catholic churches. If you think He would re-elect the current executive, you’re not really following Christ. If you fail to see that, you might want to find another church.
Science is real. Black Lives Matter. Women’s rights are human rights. Love is Love. Vote.