The big election is less than two weeks away. It was a long year ago that we were first told Election Year 2020 would be historic, intense and outrageous. We had no idea then what 2020 would bring us — and maybe we still don’t.
Many of us already have voted, so any close examination of all the local, state and national voting choices at this time might be of little worth. The most important message we could deliver right now is a final plea for every eligible voter to vote. Vote by mail, vote by drop box, vote now or find a voting place on Election Day and vote like you mean it. Vote as if your tax bill, paycheck, safety, healthcare, inheritance, children’s welfare and the personal liberty and future of our democracy depend on it. Other than all that, well, never mind.
Most national General Elections are called “historical” but this one might be the most historic since the election of 1860 when Abraham Lincoln won a four-way race and seven southern states seceded from the United States before he was inaugurated on March 4, 1861. Just 39 days later, the Civil War began with the first shots fired at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Warnings of a second U.S. civil war in the aftermath of our current election have been written and spoken out loud.
We don’t foresee an all-out civil war, but there is no doubt that we are a country divided and broken in critical ways. Both a Trump or Biden victory could touch off weeks or months of violent outbursts between the most radical Leftist and Nationalist extremists. Much of what might transpire is hard to predict. But we do know one thing and that is we, the voters, will have the final say. Imagine if five million citizens marched in the 2017 Women’s March on the day after President Trump’s inauguration, how many of us will be ready to take to the streets this post-election to secure our votes for democracy, if necessary.
We should not dwell too much on these stupefying histrionics, and should focus closer to home at all the other issues, possible impacts and decisions that will be determined on Nov. 3. Who we elect as a mayor or school board member, for instance, could have more impact on our households and lives that who resides in The White House after Jan. 20, 2021. We are voting right now to set our taxes and what government services we are willing to pay for. We are voting for or against policies that help define what kind of Sonoma County we will live in.
We wish we could have a radically different format for our ballots. What if we could have a ballot that looked more like an essay instead of a multiple-choice exam? We could specify our exact choices and objections on all the critical issues summarized in our “fill-in-the-bubble” ballots now in our hands.
We, the majority of voters, do hereby state that we register these binding choices on the following public issues: climate change, immigration, build the wall, national healthcare, abortion, lower drug prices, police reforms, wildfire protection, childcare costs, living wages, small business economic stimulus, tariffs on China, ocean habitat recovery, fossil fuels versus renewable energy sources, affordable or free college tuition, mental health and homeless services, racial equity, affirmative action, guaranteed voting rights, a more complete census, public pensions, a Green New Deal, personal privacy protections, COVID-19 testing, gun ownership protections, release of all presidential candidates’ tax returns and what to do with the Electoral College.
We’re not sure how we could sort out the winning and losing statements, but if we can keep track of our $3.1 trillion debt, then we should be able to tabulate 150 million ballots. And, what about that skyrocketing debt, anyway?