On multiple occasions last week President Trump refused to commit to the peaceful transition of power in the event he loses the election. This was another of the shocking but not surprising events of his presidency.
I am reminded of an old saying and a question. The adage is: Plan your work and work your plan (good advice I was given as a young man). The question is why is a dollar bill worth a dollar? With all that in mind let’s explore.
Despite his rhetoric to the contrary, Trump has to know that there is a very good chance he would lose a free and fair election. Perhaps from even before he took office in 2017 he has been working to make it less than free and fair. He has openly invited foreign interference; allegedly (and with pretty good proof if you’re not a Republican member of Congress) actually soliciting it. He is on a campaign to discredit the validity and safety of absentee voting during a pandemic. (Remember speaking English is not one of Trump’s strong suits and it is difficult to follow his language since Trump and much of his inner circle votes by that method but in their case it is perfectly acceptable. If that doesn’t exactly make sense to you let me just say you are not alone.)
We know there already is foreign interference in the 2020 election and that Trump is discouraging the intelligence community from getting that information to him. Is this his idea of plausible deniability?
During early voting in Virginia Trump aligned white supremacist militias have already engaged in open voter intimidation at the polls. It would be naïve to assume this will be an isolated incident not to be repeatedly replicated. Without going into the details, I expect the largest voter suppression effort in American history on Election Day and at many in-person early voting sites.
For months Attorney General/Consigliere Bill Barr has set the stage for legal challenges to cast votes. Staying on the “legal” front Trump has a history of asking for pledges of personal, not constitutional, loyalty of his appointees. As of this writing (Saturday morning) Trump has yet to officially name his Supreme Court nominee but can any thinking person imagine that they are not exchanging a pledge of personal loyalty for the nomination?
OK, the question you may be asking is: What can I do about this? Here is where the sage advice I was given as a young man comes in; plan you vote and execute your plan.
This will vary from state to state and some options may already have passed their practicality. (I hand delivered my completed ballot to my county Board of Elections on September 9th. I happen to live in North Carolina which is one of the easiest states to vote in.)
The first thing you need to do (and I hope you already have) is verify that you are registered to vote in your state’s database. Then check the laws in your state as to your voting options. Decide which option is the best for you. If you are using an unfamiliar method (i.e. an absentee ballot) make sure you go slow, read and re-read the rules and follow them to the letter. For example in Pennsylvania the mail in ballot goes inside an envelope which in turn goes inside the return mail envelope. If returning by mail, make sure you have either a prepaid envelope or have affixed sufficient postage. The circumstances will vary on this not only from state to state but often within a state. This is something you seldom do and may never have done before therefore it will be a bit confusing. Your primary concern is that your vote is counted; don’t have it thrown out on a technicality. In many states you can trace your vote, do so and make sure it was accepted.
In some states your only option may be in person voting on Election Day. If that is the case check which precinct you must cast your vote at. Make your arrangements for transportation and allow for possible foul weather and long lines. If you are white and especially if you live in a relatively affluent neighborhood your wait may be short and chances are there will be no harassment by law enforcement and/or militia; if you are poor and/or voting in a minority precinct, anticipate long lines and harassment. Wrong? Yes! However that is the reality.
Why is every vote important? Because the best chance of removing Trump is an overwhelming Biden victory. Like a road game in basketball if it is close the officials can cheat enough to make the difference. (I’ve been there during my coaching career.) However if you’re twenty points better that night you will most likely walk away with a victory – by a smaller margin on the scoreboard – but a victory nonetheless.
This brings me to my dollar bill story. The only reason paper money has any value is because people will exchange goods, services and labor for it. Similarly in a landslide it is difficult to get enough people to perceive that “cheating” made the difference. Like most communication, it is mostly perception.
In closing, plan your vote and execute your plan. Failure to do so may result in the execution of America as we know it. Beginning in the 18th century Americans before us died in wars to afford us the opportunity to vote. In comparison our sacrifice will be very, very small.
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