I’m writing to you because you are caring, conscientious, decent people and we desperately need your vote in the midterm elections — and that’s not all.
Here’s an analogy: I’ve never had a life-threatening illness. I don’t have diabetes. I’m not blind. I’m not in a wheelchair. Thus, I take my good health for granted most of the time. I have no idea how rough life could be.
Similarly, it’s easy for us to write off the difficult task of civic engagement. We take for granted the numerous benefits of living in a unique country in a unique time in history. A functioning democratic republic doesn’t grow like a weed in the yard. It doesn’t run itself. The very idea that citizens may govern themselves is truly special in the history of humanity. Freedom of expression, freedom of religion (or no religion), equal rights for all, clean water, sanitation, national defense, food safety, and environmental protections are part of our nation and they are truly unique in the world. Our highways, electrical grid, satellite systems, and much of our technology came from good government and diligent hard work by citizens like us. Our system of treaties with other countries, built on thoughtful cooperation, has given us 70 years of relative peace and unprecedented prosperity.
I’m not saying all these things are perfect. All our institutions can and should be strengthened and improved — but they won’t improve themselves. They don’t work without your participation. (BTW, you have with this upcoming election a chance to directly help fix part of the system. Amendments Y and Z will end gerrymandering and help create fairly drawn legislative districts. This is huge! Elections will be more competitive if gerrymandering is fixed. Among other things, third parties, and new candidates will have a better shot at getting elected than they currently do.)
Some say, “The system is broken.” It’s far worse than that. The system has been turned against you. The system works exceedingly well for those who’ve shown up and taken the controls. Our system of justice, free and fair elections, consumer protections, and scientific research work brilliantly if we show up and participate. Sadly, many of our rights and privileges are under aggressive attack by racists, xenophobes, misogynists, and extremists. Cruel, greedy, hateful, reckless people are making the system work in their favor, and against you. What’s worse, this situation is being repeated around the world. Literally, the world needs you right now.
If you care about the environment then we need you. (The environment is under dire, horrifying threat.) If you think a woman should be paid the same as a man for the same work then we need you. If you believe in the rule of law, and that all Americans should be subject to the same rules no matter their financial or racial status then we need you. If you care about justice and decency for the poor and the exploited then we need you. If you believe America should be a haven for frightened, desperate people and a cause for good in the world then we need you.
If I thought everything was OK and we could get by without you then I would not be writing to you. I would so love it if I thought sitting on the sidelines was acceptable, but it isn’t. This is a crucial time in the history of our country and our planet. I believe this with every fiber of my being. This is far bigger than you or me. It’s about more than one vote or one election. For both good and ill, our system of government doesn’t change at the speed of light. Don’t expect miracles to happen all at once, and don’t expect to win every battle. This is a long-term, long-haul scenario.
There are no sidelines right now. There is no disengagement from government and politics. Not voting is a vote for things to worsen. By not voting you enable cruelty, hate, greed, and hypocrisy. By not choosing, you are making a choice. No one is exempt.
I’m asking for more than your vote on Nov. 6. I’m asking for your ongoing civic engagement. Exactly like getting in shape, the hard work of helping to run your country never ends. It’s not always joyous, fun work, but it is monumentally important.
Several states are dealing with overt voter suppression efforts, but not us. The great state of Colorado makes voting super easy! You can register online, receive a ballot in the mail and you can either mail it back or drop it at numerous sites. Doing your crucial civic duty is entirely convenient and easy.
I am pleading on hands and knees for you to become a part of the solution.
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