First, Let Me Apologize for My Lunkheadedness…

The Roll Call of the States Reaches Rhode Island

I realize that lots of people avoid talking about politics in these dreadfully polarized times.

But, political junkie that I am, I failed to realize that some of you don’t even want to read about politics—not in the newspapers, not on the Internet, and not on this blog. (Oh, my!)

So it will be hard for you to understand how elated I was after watching the full four days of the Democratic Convention. And how disappointed I was to learn that even committed voters didn’t watch most of it.

I’ll take a wild leap and state that I think many of the 70% of us who say we think our country is going in the wrong direction would feel much more optimistic about our future if you’d heard some of the truly inspiring speakers and watched the roll call of the states that showed slices of Americana many of us never see (including Rhode Island’s famous calamari, pictured above—who knew?). 

You may well have been impressed, as I was, by viewing the plethora of non-political people making the case that this country needs to end its chaos and hate mongering, stop the rising deaths from coronavirus by a national plan to control the virus, and begin rebuilding the economy by electing Biden-Harris.

Know who nominated Biden? Not some hotshot politician, but New York Times security guard Jacquelyn Brittany, who had escorted him to an editorial board meeting at the Times during the campaign and blurted out “I love you!” (He didn’t gain the Times’s endorsement, but he sure had hers.) Sorry for my sappiness, but I thought that was just a delightful touch.

And you’ve probably heard about 13-year-old Brayden Harrington, whom Biden had met during the primaries on a rope line in New Hampshire. Brayden, a stutterer, said Biden’s pep talk with him changed his life. (Biden has spoken openly about the childhood affliction that still affects him on occasion.)

The speech this courageous young man made, while stuttering here and there, was an uplifting tribute both to him and to the compassionate leader who took a few minutes to talk with him and asked his father if it was OK to get his phone number. (Biden said he’s in touch with about 20 kids who stutter.)

That’s just a flavor of the heartwarming, distinctly real, distinctly American, and–ironically–distinctly apolitical feel of this convention. And it’s mind-stretching to think that the people who created it all and meshed and paced diverse people and videos so well had to put something together that had never been done before. Their success bodes well, I felt, for the smoothness and professionalism that the Biden team would bring to the White House.

I had concluded quite a while ago that although Biden wasn’t my first choice, his experience as VP, successfully handling two pandemics (H1N1 and Ebola) and the near economic meltdown that Obama and he had to address as soon as they took office, made him uniquely qualified for the major problems our country now faces. 

When I researched my post about the women heads of state who’d had the greatest success in curbing the pandemic, it all came down to leadership. And leadership meant listening carefully to the scientists, acting promptly, speaking truthfully to their people, and expressing compassion for their plight.

I strongly believe the US would have been one of the world’s leaders, rather than among its worst failures, if Biden had been President when the virus struck.

So even if you hate politics, I fervently hope you won’t sit this one out. Voting should be a piece of cake; in the US today it’s more like a triathlon of mazes, hurdles, and stamina-defying long lines. The deliberate sabotage of postal service will require more workarounds. But part of the Trump effort is to persuade you that your vote won’t count. Many thousands of people are now at work to ensure that’s not the case. But we must do our part.

In other words, we’ll need every citizen who thinks this country is on the wrong track to make the determination to vote and stick to it. Right now, of course, you must check to see that you’re registered before your state’s deadline.

More than 550,000 mail-in ballots were not counted during the primaries. The reasons were lack of a signature, signature different from what was on record, or late arrival. Make sure if you vote by mail that none of those problems negates your vote—and talk to everyone you know who’s voting by mail to ensure they also do so properly. 

Here’s an NPR interview and article about those problems; it includes a state-by-state listing of the numbers of uncounted ballots. 

And here’s New York Times columnist Frank Bruni explaining that with all the structural and human-made problems, we’ll need a landslide just to ensure Biden wins.

My fellow blogger Joseph Urban, aka The Old Liberal, who taught government/civics for many years, has put together a valuable voters guide in the blog post below. It’s relatively brief, but full of useful information.

https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2020/08/16/how-to-vote/

Here’s a piece of it, including two important resources:

“The two links below are very helpful for locating information for this election. They can link you to info specific to your state. Keep in mind that a few states have different rules for each county. Find out well in advance. No excuses.

Don’t let them steal another one.”

https://www.usvotefoundation.org/vote/state-elections/state-voting-laws-requirements.htm

https://www.vote.org/early-voting-calendar/
 
NBC News also has a site, Plan Your Vote, with info about mail-in and early voting, answering such questions as whether COVID is a valid reason for mail-in ballots in states that didn’t originally allow them. And it tells you how to track your ballot to make sure it’s been accepted; that’s extremely important.

Your single vote has never been more essential than it is this year. Please do everything you can to make certain that it’s received and counted. Our democracy, indeed, our very lives, depend upon it.

Annie

27 thoughts on “First, Let Me Apologize for My Lunkheadedness…

  1. I think there are a lot of people who are fully aware of the situation and of the importance of voting and making it count, but who still, after three and a half years of having politics and Trump’s general horribleness thrown in our faces constantly, are exhausted and burned out on it. It’s like having cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. You know it’s important. You know what you have to do. You just don’t want to spend all your time dwelling on it.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with blogging about it. I blog about politics occasionally, when I have something to say and/or think it might do some good. And I’ll certainly vote in November. But I do go through periods when I just feel sick of the whole subject and the ugliness of it. I think almost everyone does.

    From what I’ve heard about the Democratic convention, it sounds like a success, particularly Biden’s speech. And remember that even though the majority of people don’t watch things like that, all the speeches and so forth are available on video and will be watched, probably millions more times, by people as and when they feel like it. Years ago technology moved us away from the older experience of everybody in the country watching the same thing at the same time because that’s when it was being broadcast. People very much do things at their own time now. But I think such events still exert their influence for all that — perhaps all the more so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know you’re right; I go through such periods myself and have written about my feelings on occasion. I was just so bolstered by the full four day-immersion that was so antithetical to the ugliness we’ve been faced with that I wanted to convey my message of hope. It’s going to take determination to ensure one’s vote is counted, and as I know you agree we need the biggest win possible, I felt it might be useful to underscore both the grit and the sense of urgency that voters will need this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I saw pieces of it and enjoyed the snippets repeated on the news the next day. Loved what I saw — the honesty, humility, intelligence — so I can understand how it gives you hope. Among all his qualifications, he’s a decent person, Joe Biden, and though I wasn’t initially wowed by Kamala Harris, the choice fit like a puzzle piece snapped into place. I, too, was buoyed by it all but it didn’t last long. I’m exhausted by the depths of idiocy, overwhelmed by the ugliness, infuriated by the slime maneuvers, and desperate to see the whole gang tossed out in a resounding loss. You bet I’ll vote and encourage others to do the same. It’s still a long haul until November — time enough to reach out to everyone I know.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree absolutely. You’d have to be the proverbial glutton for punishment to watch the GOP convention. Even the snippets are unbearable to watch.

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  3. Part of me. mistermuse, says I should watch a bit to try to get a sense of what’s going on there.

    The part of me that wants to protect my mental and physical health says: “What are you? The proverbial glutton for punishment?”

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  4. Biden keeps looking better to me. However, I know several people, including a cousin who lives in Michigan, a swing state, who say they won’t vote for Trump or Biden. I’ve tried to persuade my cousin and other fence-sitters to choose Biden, especially because one of the last things we need is for Trump to pick another Supreme Court justice or two. So far my efforts haven’t borne fruit. Very frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Basically they think that Biden and Trump are equally bad. In the 2016 election my cousin wrote in Bernie Sanders rather than vote for Hillary. He wasn’t concerned when I said that he was helping to put Trump in office.

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    1. Neil,
      I just hope enough people feel that way. Apparently, his staff persuaded him to soften his image by featuring a swearing-in of new citizens—as though the past three and a half years of tearing families apart and immigrant-baiting never happened.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gail—
    I guess it’s a lost cause, but when trump praises white nationalists and conspiracy theorists like QAnon, I wonder how anyone can say there’s no difference between Biden and trump. That’s just one example, of course, but it speaks to an alternate reality that Bernie certainly feels is a huge threat. I’ll leave you alone now; I’m sure you’re doing the best you can in a maddening situation. Good luck!

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    1. Like I always say, there’s nobody more naïve than a cynic. There are some people for whom their cynicism and feeling of being above and superior to people who accept imperfect reality is practically a core part of their identity, such that they’ll work hard to avoid seeing or understanding any amount of evidence that contradicts it — much like a creationist or a global-warming denialist.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unfortunately true—and unfortunately, the implications of their cynicism are dangerous to the rest of us. And we can add pandemic denialists to your examples.

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  6. My 94 year old mother was glued to the TV set during all 4 nights of the Democratic Convention, whereas this week she has the sound muted as she can’t stand all the lies. The TV is on, as she still wants to know what’s going on, because she loves politics, even though we are Canadian and can’t vote. Myself, I just read the highlights the next day on the computer newsfeed.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. She said it was good! Very uplifting. Lots of good speakers. And of the parts I saw I have to agree. Whereas Trump is scraping the bottom of the barrel with his. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that degree of lies anywhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks Annie! I forgot to mention that here in Canada you can still vote even though your not on the voting list, as long as you have some photo id when you show up at the polling station, plus I believe something that shows you live at that address like a hydro bill. They still try and maintain voting lists in advance though and send out cards in the mail a month ahead of time with the name of your voting station, and the times and places for the advance polls. I suspect we may have an election this fall when Parliament resumes, so it there will most likely be a mail in option then.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I very much agree with you. In any country at this time, hate must end, the coronavirus death toll lowered, and the economy spring back to life. These issues are, of course, more urgent in the US with the coming elections. I really wish more people vote and participate so that positive change can happen. It is what democracy is about, isn’t it? It must start with the people, and that means being responsible and voting.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think there is very much a case for trying not to ‘lead’ in the traditional sense of the word. There is a sage quote somewhere about surrounding yourself with smart people who disagree with you, and it was your comments on listening carefully to the scientists which struck me the most forcefully here. No-one should be expecting Biden or even Trump to be coming up with scientific breakthroughs themselves (not even bleach injections) but wouldn’t it be something if an evidence-based approach was encouraged and fostered in the White House rather than the furthering of whichever policy suits the president’s needs best? Hopefully Biden is the president to return to that path.

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