Today, nothing matters more than getting out to vote.
By November 3, 2018 there were literally 6,420 reasons to vote against President Trump. That was the current tally of misstatements Trump had made in the 649 days of his presidency.
Misstatements which have been misogenistic, racist, and simply insulting to caring, compassionate, and responsible humans.
But more than anything I’m going in to vote today because Trump, from the moment he started his campaign, and throughout his presidency, has persistently and intentionally targeted the Free Press.
The founding fathers knew how important a free and independent press was to democracy. They took pains to protect it with the first amendment of the Constitution.
Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.—Benjamin Franklin
It is not appropriate, wise, or in anyway tolerable for the leader of this country to call the press “the enemy of the people.”
Nothing is further from the truth. We have a democracy today because of the freedom of the press. Because brave people wrote out against what has attacked us all, throughout our history, from the oppression of the crown, to the oppression of slavery, through voting rights, through civil rights, down to the present day.
Like dictators before him Trump seeks to manage the citizens with terror management. The best restorative against that political strategy of hate and divisiveness is a free press.
As a country the US has a lot to work on. Long before this president put children in cages, tossed paper towels to hurricane victims, refused to denounce neo-nazis, and told us “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” (July 25, 2018) we’ve had unaddressed issues of inequality, poverty, and hate in this country—but we were working on those issues.
As citizens we need to pay attention to what our politicians are saying—what we see them saying unabashedly, caught on video. We need to watch what our politicians are doing to the environmental laws, to the healthcare laws, and all the things Trump keeps distracting us from. We need to hold our politicians accountable for the things they aren’t saying and the things they aren’t speaking up against.
We need to get back to the work of ensuring that everyone’s rights are protected.
And we need to get people into government who will stop demonizing the Press, so that we can get back to having a clear dialogue about going forward.
The Republican party has repeatedly failed to check the anti-democratic actions of this president so it is important to put politicians into government who will provide the checks and balances our government needs to survive.
I’m leaving in a moment to walk through the rain and stand in the rain for as long as it takes, so that I can vote.
Then I am going to visit my father in-law. He served in World War II. He knows what a demagogue is when he sees one.
I wouldn’t be able to look him in the eye if I didn’t go vote.
Homework, Because Democracy Is Work
Read Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.
It’s a short book (you can read it in about an hour—and then think about it the rest of your life) on how Tyranny rises and takes over the political realm. Snyder gives you concrete things to look out for.
And if you come to the blog just to look at the paintings, here’s a detail of the brush work.