Yes, it’s that biannual ritual again and if you’ve voted in the past, chances are your ballots have arrived home. That is, if you’re in California or Oregon or one of the very few other progressive states where the government is actively trying to help you participate. (If you’re in a red state, I’m sorry. Let your local TSB chapter know how we can help with voter registration and getting out the vote.)
A lot of us groan when the midterms come around. Midterms are not sexy. There is no buzz around Presidential candidates, no media attention, not much active solicitation for our vote. And let’s face it, we like being wooed.
If you find yourself unexcited by the prospect of voting, perhaps it would be helpful to look at the process from this perspective:
The government is a family concern that you don’t have time to manage on your own. You and your fellow managers need to hire employees or renew their contracts every couple of years. On one hand you have a candidate for employee who is kinda boring, isn’t perfect, and there are a few things he does that annoy you. But he’s competent, well-intentioned, and can be taught. On the other hand, you have a candidate who actively foments hate, doesn’t have any ideas, and is working to bring down your business itself from the inside.
You decide to stay out of the process because, frankly, it seems like choosing the lesser of the two evils. Who picks the employee then?
Unfortunately, the midterms are when elements from both parties take advantage of the low voter participation and try to push through extreme agendas, because they know sensible, thoughtful people have checked out of the process, and the only people who have traditionally voted in midterms have been those who are themselves extremist or who are easily manipulated through campaigns calculated to stoke fear and anger. For the rest of us, cynical chatter about how all government is corrupt, or how government doesn’t do anything seems to be doing a good job keeping us away from one of the most important civic duties we have.
This year in particular, not voting in the midterms is a terrible idea. From school boards to the Supreme Court, the GOP is actively trying to push through a bunch of horrifically regressive initiatives – from book bans to removal of LGBTQ protections to women’s rights. Our vote will also decide if climate change will be addressed to leave the planet better for our children, and if our daughters will find that their parents’ apathy has lost them rights that their mothers had.
Thanks to a GOP that is lurching even further right in the wake of Trump, there are no Republican votes we can count on for even the most bipartisan of ideas. If any of President Biden’s plans and policies are to get enacted, we need to deliver a strong majority in the Congress and Senate.
This year, we’re not just voting to take the country forward, we’re trying to make sure we aren’t getting dragged backwards into an era where only white male votes count, where black and brown and poor people are relegated to second class status, where women lose further rights.
Take just 30 minutes from your busy life and cast your vote in the primaries and in November. It’s not hyperbole to say your life might actually depend on it.