Regret is such a short word…and yet it stretches on forever.” Renata Suzuki
I, like many, thought in 2016 that Hillary Clinton was certain to win. Donald Trump was showing us who he was on a daily basis. The Access Hollywood tape, asking Russia to hack the DNC, calling women pigs, bankrupting two casinos and stiffing contractors were just examples of his lack of fitness for the job. What I didn’t realize was how many of my fellow Americans ignored, or worse, were okay with that. So, other than throwing a big Election Night viewing party to celebrate electing the first woman president, I did nothing. Nada. Zilch.
While I considered myself well-informed, except for canvassing for Obama for a couple of shifts in 2008, and giving a few bucks to political campaigns over the years, I wasn’t an activist.
And then Trump won.
Like many, I went through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and eventually acceptance. I know millions did. While the turnout at the first Women’s March was heartening, the rise of Indivisible, Swing Left, and Postcards to Voters was soon overshadowed by babies being ripped from their parents’ arms at the border, Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and the failure to remove Trump during the impeachment hearing. It’s easy to feel despondent, and yet, I have a small glimmer of hope.
Where does that come from? Since 2016, there has been a rise of groups, first forming a resistance, and then building an effort to restore the guardrails to democracy that we have ignored, protections which have actually worn away through the years. I have hope knowing that there are hundreds of thousands of us out there, encouraging our fellow Americans to vote, help others GOTV, and serve as watchdogs for the democratic institutions we took for granted. And, I hope that more of us arrive each day.
There are less than three weeks until Election Day, and if you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, there is still time to do something so that you have NO regrets on November 3rd. Here are an easy half dozen things you can do!
1-VOTE EARLY! Early voting has begun in a number of states.
2-GIVE! Campaigns cost money. We are voting against candidates supported by dark money from families like Koch DeVoss and Mercer. Thirty-five Senate seats are up for grabs, and we need to keep the House to provide a check on Trump, should he remain President. One great fund to support is through Vote Save America; they are dividing donations among 14 very competitive races.
3-WRITE! Letters for Vote Forward are still needed to send to people deciding whether to vote. Their deadline is Saturday October 17th. Postcards to Voters is also sending out cards for a couple campaigns for the next week or so.
4-CALL or TEXT! Everyone from Biden’s campaign to the Sierra Club is reaching out to voters. Jump on board with a cause that’s dear to you and help them mobilize the vote.
5-VOLUNTEER! Come out on Election Day. An older generation of poll watchers can’t come out because they are especially vulnerable to Covid-19. Many states need a new generation to step forward.
6-VOTE!! If you couldn’t vote early or vote by mail as an absentee voter, then get down to the polls and get in line. Wear a mask, bring a snack, a portable charger and comfortable shoes and cast your ballot.
Win or lose, I don’t want to have any regrets on Election Day, do you?