Please remember to get out and vote, and if you have relatives who are sometimes reluctant voters, please remember to call them and encourage them to get to the polls.
I have, on occasion, taken the time to endorse a candidate here. I’ve refrained this year. Most of you know who I’m voting for, but more importantly, at this point I know I won’t change your mind. Just go vote.
Instead of explaining my vote, I want to make sure you see what’s happening in Florida:
Chaos reigned in South Florida, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott has refused to extend a reduced early voting period despite lines lasting as long as eight or nine hours, and an emergency lawsuit from state Democrats. His GOP predecessors Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist both extended early voting hours by executive order, and on Sunday Crist called Scott’s refusal to follow suit “indefensible” and “unconscionable.”
As you go to vote tomorrow, watch what’s happening around the country. Regardless of the outcome, these events in Florida or the lines and procedural hurdles in Ohio are unconscionable. We talk about how important it is to vote and how much blood and tears have been spilled to secure the right to vote but then we make ballot access, at worst, a partisan issue, or at best unnecessarily difficult. For example:
Early voting is crucially important to working people, many of whom cannot take time off from work on a Tuesday to wait in line and cast a ballot at the polling place. Many black churches also use the Sunday before Election Day to take their congregations to the polls to vote early, a practice that is especially important to parishioners lacking transportation.
If we really care about the right, and value it, we should make it easier for everyone to find a time to vote. It seems like something we should all be able to agree on. It’s time to recognize how people work in the 21st century.
Either way, getting out to vote tomorrow is important. But it’s also only the least you can do as a citizen. As important as it is, it’s just dipping your toe into the water of our great democracy.
So, I’d like to ask you to make a promise to yourself and to your community: Engage your neighbors in conversation about issues. Find friends & neighbors who voted for “the other guy” and talk to them about why. Be respectful. Try to understand their reasons and ask what outcomes they want.
We talk about politics as if it’s a team sport. “I’m a Republican, I’m an independent, I’m a Democrat.” But politics isn’t a team sport. It’s ultimately about making policy. Policy is choosing, choosing involves tradeoffs, and people legitimately can disagree about what tradeoffs are important. That’s the basis of political differences. It’s not our identity but our choices.
It’s taken me years to understand this. We need to talk with each other more and leave the team identity stuff to the paid partisans on TV. That’s my promise to you for this space going forward. I hope you hold me accountable.
Get out and vote tomorrow!