It is slightly less than one week until the election. That’s a fact that hasn’t quite set in, yet; in less than one week, we will be voting for the president of the United States, as well as numerous other local elections and the congressional representatives. It is a testament to the severely traumatic nature of American politics today that the election, which is still one week away, is so terror-creating that the very thought of it is enough to inspire panic.
It is made all the more terrifying by the successful confirmation of a sixth conservative Supreme Court justice, further skewing a court that already does not represent the will of the average American. It feels, to some extent, as though the only possible chance to keep the basic human rights that have been under assault for the last four years of Trump’s presidency is to win the election in less than one week and, as is the nature of elections, that is not a guarantee.
When driving home on Monday, I drove past Town Hall, and I looked out the window and saw a woman standing there with a sign on either side of her and a third on a string around her neck. “Boycott the 2020 Election” said the sign around her neck, while the ones on either side said “This is NOT a choice” and “The lesser evil is STILL evil.”
I was simultaneously jealous and a little inspired; I, of course, do not believe that what her signs said is accurate and do plan to vote. But I also believe that it takes a level of commitment to an idea to be willing to stand on the side of the road in the cold by yourself to put that idea into the world. At the same time, the idea of being so secure in my life and safety that not voting would in any way be an option is absurd to me.
This is not just a presidential election, it is an election for basic rights. Joe Biden was not, as is the case for many younger voters, my first choice, but I will vote for him proudly in one week because I do not believe that his presidency would kill people. Donald Trump’s has; we are in a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic because of him. He is trying to strip healthcare away from millions of people, in the middle of a pandemic he caused, simply to spite the Democrats. People will die, disabled people, queer people, people of color, poor people, will die, under another four years of Donald Trump’s presidency.
“This is not just a presidential election, it is an election for basic rights.”
The lesser of two evils might still not be the greatest person in the world, but if the options are a person who gives you a papercut or a person who stabs you in the heart, you go for the papercut. Nothing can get better, no progress can be made, if we are constantly treading water in a desperate attempt to all stay alive long enough to see things improve. We need a break, a win, a chance to make a real effort to improve our country instead of just doing damage control.
And if you’re someone who isn’t queer, who isn’t disabled, whose reproductive rights aren’t on the ballot, whose life isn’t, look at the people around you. You can survive another four years of Trump, maybe, assuming he doesn’t start World War III, but can your friends? Your family? Your coworkers? Whose lives are you willing to condemn to bigotry because you feel that you are morally superior than those who don’t have a choice?
There is one week until the election, one week until, one way or another, we discover what our country is going to be. In one week, every single person reading has the chance to decide what they want the country to be. That is our right, as citizens, as people who live in a democracy, no matter how hard one party might try to make it impossible. That is our right, so use it. Vote. Vote. Vote.