I voted by dropping off my ballot at Newburyport City Hall on Oct. 20. It was reported as accepted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on Oct. 22. Such is 2020 that I both did AND know these things.
I’m writing today for a couple of reasons:
- To get on the record prior to tomorrow (and whatever follows) why I voted how I did.
- To share my thoughts for anyone out there who’s still undecided about any of the races on their ballots.
While anyone following me likely knows my personal political leanings, I’ll say that — aside from the vehemence with which I hold some of these opinions — the people on the ballot mattered to me less than ever. That’s because, to me, our choice between belief systems and values is as stark as it’s been in my lifetime.
We often hear that “X election is the most important of our lives.” Usually that’s part of a get-out-the-vote drive by one party or another, one candidate or another. You (and I) take it with a grain of salt.
This time, though, I must concur. Our country is at a precipice, and while tomorrow’s results are unlikely to provide the final determination, they will push us in one of two distinct directions: A) pull us back from that edge for the time being — giving us an opportunity to reset and — perhaps — make necessary change; or B) nudge us further off balance on the edge of a cliff from which a fall may be fatal.
I don’t ask you to agree with all (or any) of my opinions. I merely hope you’ll read and consider them. Here’s to our votes. Here’s to our voices.
I voted for kindness and understanding.
I voted against hatred and willful ignorance.
I voted for compassion for and responsibility to our fellow citizens: patriotism.
I voted against indifference and lack of accountability to society: selfishness.
I voted for democracy.
I voted against authoritarianism.
I voted for equality and tolerance.
I voted against racism, sexism, and homophobia.
I voted for lifting the voices of those who’ve been voiceless for centuries.
I voted against the idea that the demands of those voices should be shrugged off with bogus equivocation — or worse.
I voted for the not-at-all-hard-to-understand idea that Black Lives Matter.
I voted against the idea that folks don’t understand exactly what that phrase means after growing up in this country.
I voted for celebrating both our similarities and our differences in service of becoming more thoughtful and understanding.
I voted against the tired phrase, “I don’t see color,” another equivocation used most by those descended from the people who created, codified, and enforced laws based solely on their perceptions of skin color.
I voted for women’s control of their own bodies and their own destinies.
I voted against the hegemony of toxic masculinity.
I voted for public oversight of law enforcement.
I voted against the militarization of law enforcement.
I voted for reallocating a not-insignificant percentage of the money spent on law enforcement and the military to resources that will better serve and improve our society.
I voted against the phrase “law and order” as a blatantly racist trope designed to make people feel better about their prejudices.
I voted for education as a crucial tool in turning ignorance to enlightenment.
I voted against the continuing destruction of our system of public education.
I voted for a government free of religion and the citizenry’s freedom from religion as legal directive — the initial idea behind its mention in the First Amendment.
I voted against any and all religions having sway over the laws enacted by and applied against any segment of our citizenry.
I voted for the work of journalists to hold those in power to account.
I voted against the phrase “fake news” and the demonization of the fourth estate.
I voted for belief in science and expertise.
I voted against belief in conspiracy theories.
I voted for minor inconvenience over illness and death.
I voted against the idea that being asked to wear a mask in service to public safety for a couple hours a week is akin to “slavery,” “authoritarianism,” or other inanities.
I voted for my business, which will only thrive again if science and public health come first.
I voted against sacrificing one more life in supposed service to the economy.
I voted for public elections and the rights of every citizen to take part.
I voted against voter suppression and voter intimidation.
I voted for immediate action on the existential issue of climate change.
I voted against the powers that continue to avoid facing this challenge — and appear ready to delay — until it’s too late.
I voted for an opportunity to return some semblance of truth and sanity to power.
I voted against lying, narcissism, and lunacy.
I voted for reality.
I voted against disinformation.
I voted for a 21st century America devoted to all the things I wrote of above.
I voted against a return to the mythical “good old days.”
I voted for peace.
I voted against violence.
I voted for my wife, my son, my family, my future … your future.