Dear Partners in Green,
When I began this website it never crossed my mind that I would ever write a Seedling
on politics or voting. My parents’ generation was one in which an unwritten rule was not to discuss such topics in polite company. Being a child of the ’60s, I strayed from that “mandate.” I spoke, but I did not put pen to paper or stand in front of a microphone. But today I feel a profound responsibility to use whatever platform I can, for I believe that our future and that of our children, our grandchildren, and all future generations is dependent upon the outcome of the Election of 2020.
Voting is a right, a privilege, and a responsibility. And as small as your vote may seem in the sea of all those other votes, it matters!
I have many grave concerns with this current administration and its policies, but here, other than referencing its response to COVID-19, I am focusing on the Climate Crisis.
First and foremost, President Trump is a denier of facts and of science in regard to the coronavirus. To date, his refusal to listen to the scientists has resulted in the excruciating and lonely deaths of 177,000 Americans, the most in any “advanced” country.
He is a denier of the reality of Climate Change.
When first elected he withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement, an agreement which joined nations in a common cause to combat Climate Change, to adapt to its effects, and to assist developing countries to do likewise.
He, and the officials he has appointed, have systematically undermined, degraded, and outright attacked the laws that protect our public lands, the agencies that manage them, and the irreplaceable resources these areas safeguard for the American people.
He has offered oil companies a large portion of the American West and the Gulf of Mexico (four times the size of California) an expansive drilling plan that threatens to entrench the oil industry at the expense of other outdoor jobs while locking in enough emissions to undermine global climate policy.
He recently announced a plan to allow oil and gas drilling in Arctic Wildlife Refuge.
And those are just a few of his attacks on the citizens of this country and indeed on all the inhabitants of this planet, both present, and future.
We must vote! And we must make plans to circumvent the obstacles that the Trump Administration is attempting to put in place to make voting difficult. We must plan ahead, get the word out, and help others get to the polls.
Make certain you know the voting regulations in the state in which you live.
Make certain you are registered, order absentee or mail-in ballots early, and get them in the mail!
Below are excerpts from an article in The National Geographic on the importance of voting. It is referenced at the end of this letter.
If you ever think that just one vote cannot make much of a difference, consider some of the closest elections in U.S. history.
In 2000, Al Gore narrowly lost the Electoral College vote to George W. Bush. The election came down to a recount in Florida, where Bush had won the popular vote by such a small margin that it triggered an automatic recount and a Supreme Court case (Bush v. Gore). In the end, Bush won Florida by 0.009 percent of the votes cast in the state or 537 votes. Had 600 more pro-Gore voters gone to the polls in Florida that November, there may have been an entirely different president from 2000–2008.
More recently, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by securing a close Electoral College win. Although the election did not come down to a handful of votes in one state, Trump’s votes in the Electoral College decided a tight race. Clinton had won the national popular vote by nearly three million votes, but the concentration of Trump voters in key districts in “swing” states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan helped seal enough electoral votes to win the presidency.
Your vote may not directly elect the president, but if your vote joins enough others in your voting district or county, your vote undoubtedly matters when it comes to electoral results. Most states have a “winner take all” system where the popular vote winner gets the state’s electoral votes. There are also local and state elections to consider. While presidential or other national elections usually get a significant voter turnout, local elections are typically decided by a much smaller group of voters.
A Portland State University study found that fewer than 15 percent of eligible voters were turning out to vote for mayors, council members, and other local offices. Low turnout means that important local issues are determined by a limited group of voters, making a single vote even more statistically meaningful.
How You Can Make Your Voice Heard
If you are not yet 18 or are not a U.S. citizen, you can still participate in the election process. You may not be able to walk into a voting booth, but there are things you can do to get involved:
Be informed! Read up on political issues (both local and national).
Get out and talk to people. Even if you cannot vote, you can still voice opinions on social media, in your school or local newspaper, or other public forums. You never know who might be listening.
Volunteer. If you support a particular candidate, you can work on their campaign by participating in phone banks, doing door-to-door outreach, writing postcards, or volunteering at campaign headquarters. Your work can help get candidates elected, even if you are not able to vote yourself.
Participating in elections is one of the key freedoms of American life. Many people in countries around the world do not have the same freedom, nor did many Americans in centuries past.
It is important to exercise your rights.
I freely admit my bias. This administration must be defeated. I wish it had not come down to this, but this is the way it is. And then, just maybe, we can change the way it is.
I leave you with this song by Bruce Hornsby, unfortunately still relevant for our day.
Please feel free to share this Seedling.
Wishing peace and health to you and your loved ones.
Thank you for being on this journey.
Till next time.