I think by now most of us have seen the post about the third graders yelling at a classmate that when Trump is elected, he’ll be deported.
This weekend, while out running errands, I witnessed the behavior of several senior citizens that was no better. Hateful, angry, racist behavior from people grandparent age.
Here’s the thing, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, those Boomers not overtaken by soundbites full of rage and fear:
The primaries are your best opportunity to vote for the candidate you best like, the one you feel will do the best job.
The general election is (and has been for my whole life) when you end up voting AGAINST whatever lunacy seems like the WORST candidate for the job.
And remember the job. The job of the President is not (NOT) to make laws. Presidents may urge Congress to do certain things (like pass laws saying you can’t be denied health care because you had cancer two years ago), but it’s up to Congress to vote (and we’ve all witnessed how well they work). Presidents select justices for the Supreme Court — that have to be vetted by Congress. Presidents are diplomats that represent us to other nations, that meet with world leaders, that make speeches that are supposed to inspire, that have the unlucky task of trying to unite and mollify a nation when terrible things happen. Think about who you want doing that job — but also who you DON’T want doing that job.
I know, the two-party system isn’t ideal. I know, the electoral college feels rigged. I know, you want the money out of politics. None of that’s getting fixed this election. It’s not. Sorry.
Pouting and refusing to vote? That’s helping Team Hate. Because I guarantee you the old woman at the thrift shop complaining about “Mexicans” not “speaking proper so real Americans can understand them” will show up at the polls and she will vote. Your job is to cancel out her hate.
Voting for a third (or seventh) party candidate because you wish we had more choices? Yeah, I get it, but the electoral college guarantees they won’t win. It’s why Bernie Sanders is running as a Democrat. Because he knows the way independent voters are scattered, their party won’t win enough (or any) electoral college votes. You know who knows this? The angry old man yelling the N-word and bitching about how “young people don’t know how to goddamn drive” as he’s jaywalking. He’s going to show up and he’s not voting Green Party.
We don’t get the political party we want. Sorry. I wish we did. Things have gotten really messed up (though some things, like the deficit and the job market, though not wages, have improved). Here’s the thing: if you have a paper cut, you can tough it out, say you’re not gonna do anything and it’ll probably be fine. If you’re bleeding out, you need to do something even if it’s not ideal. Climate, Inequality…Hell, even just common compassion are at a tipping point.
I know you don’t think Hilary Clinton is as compassionate as Bernie Sanders. (Or maybe you think Marco Rubio is cuddly, though given most of the people I know, I doubt it.) Here’s another little secret: Woman, to get ahead, to be successful — especially in male-dominated fields — often have to be harder, more seemingly cold and callous and serious in order to be seen as not-quite-an-equal. When people she’s let her guard down with talk about her, they often talk about a different, more caring person, than the one media portrays.
But…that’s still not the point. Go, vote in the primaries. (Also vote in your local elections, your state elections…figure out who’s running for school board and mayor.) And when it comes time to vote in the General Election, show up and cancel out the hate.
If you live in one of the states and territories (there’s a bunch) that hasn’t voted yet in a primary or caucus, here’s what you need to do:
- Make sure you’re registered to vote.
- Find out when your state or territory (or in a few cases, party) holds its primary or caucus. Put it on your calendar, in your phone, etc. so you know to show up.
- Find out if your state or territory has a Closed, Open, or Mixed primary/caucus.
- Find out the rules for participation if you are registered as an independent or as affiliated with a party other than Democrat or Republican.
- (If you’re in one of the states where registration isn’t close, go change it if you need to in order to participate in the primary/caucus. You don’t have to keep the change — change it back next week if you want — and you can still vote for anyone from any party in general elections, but it DOES mean you can participate in the primary or caucus. (You get to say who ends up on the general election ballot.)
- Tell your friends. (Some of them may want to “Feel the Bern,” but if they’re registered as Independents or not even registered, they’re just feeling hashtags fly by at 2am.)
- Go vote in your state or territory’s primary or participate in the caucus.