It’s such a hoary old chestnut, the phrase should be roasting on an open fire right about now. “This will be the most important election of our lifetime.” We hear it every even-numbered November from every politician in every competitive race. But this time, they may be right. This isn’t just an election. It’s an intervention.
If indicators hold true and the midterm elections are fair, Democrats should retake the House. The Senate is bit of a stretch, although marginally attainable. Victory in either chamber would allow opposition committee chairs to initiate investigations and rein in our current president’s more extreme impulses. Tamp down the chaos to a dull roar. Then again, if the election isn’t fair, many applications on the Canadian immigration website, currently bookmarked on computers, will be filled out.
The first Tuesday of this November is a straight up referendum on the current occupant of the Oval Office. Black and white masquerades as blue and red. And both angry hues are doing whatever they can to get out the vote by energizing the base in their own inimitable ways. Democrats are accusing Republicans of deliberately ignoring the intricacies of the health care debate while Republicans charge that Democratic mobs want to punch pregnant women in the belly.
The only thing everyone agrees with is the midterms can change everything and we need to focus on Nov. 6. Eat and breathe and live and die for Nov. 6. Hope and pray and steal and cheat for Nov. 6. This isn’t brain surgery. It’s much more important than that.
So go out and vote for the person most like you. Vote for the person most unlike you. Vote for the person most unlike HIM. Vote for the candidate with the biggest plans. Vote for the candidate who couldn’t organize a take-out order from Sonic. Vote for the candidate you dislike the least. Don’t think of it as the lesser of two evils, but the greater of two lessers.
Just get out and vote. Vote like you’ve never voted before. Vote like it’s going out of style. Vote as if the lives of your children are at stake. Because they are. Vote like they’re going to take it away from you. Because they want to. Vote as if the whole world were watching. Because it is.
Don’t just talk about voting. Read about voting. Write about voting. Shout and flail your arms about voting. Encourage other people to read and write and shout and flail their arms about voting. Grab random strangers on the street by their lapels and shake them until they start spitting blood about voting.
Pay no attention to the billionaire PACs or the hacking Russians or our own Justice Department or the National Enquirer’s Pecker. We have to show up in such numbers that anyone even thinking of tampering with the election will be intimidated like a poodle in a rhinoceros paddock.
Democracy is a participatory sport, people. It’s not meant to be viewed from the bleachers. We have to exercise our electoral muscle before it atrophies. Use it or lose it. Get pumped up. If you don’t vote, you can’t bitch, and we do plenty of that, don’t we? Vote early. Vote often. Adopt a dead voter. Where? In Chicago. Vote hard.
Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin.