THE VILLAINS OF ELECTION '22: THE CYNICS WHO CAN - BUT WON'T - VOTE
THE VILLAINS OF THE ELECTION OF 2022 are not who we think they are.
They are not mean.
They’re not vicious.
For the most part, they’re not violent, rude and foul-mouthed closet racists, avowed conspiracists, election corrupters or polling place bullies, dressed in Halloween camo, but packing real heat.
In other words, they aren't Republicans.
To the contrary, they are nice, most likely soft-spoken, polite, even gentle, agreeable, fun to be around. And they are everywhere. At the dinner table, sitting next to you at the football game, working at the opposite desk, raking the yard next door.
So, who are the villains of Election 2022?
They are the people who refuse to vote.
THEY COULD VOTE.
But they are determined not to.
They’re old enough. They’re citizens. Most don’t face the historic barriers to voting which reformers having been working so hard for years to knock down.
Probably, they have smart phones, iPads, desktop computers, mail boxes – all of the standard equipment they need to learn the basics of elections and how to participate.
They could register to vote. In fact, a lot of them already are registered to vote.
When it comes to carrying out the how of voting, they are perfectly capable of figuring out what would work best for them: early in-person voting; voting by mail; traditional voting on election day.
It's easy for them to apply for mail ballots; find out when and where early voting is underway; and they certainly can locate their election day polling places.
Most likely, they have raincoats and umbrellas, in case the weather turns rotten on election day.
Like most Americans, most have cars to get where they need to go – to a polling place or a mail box. Or they have mastered the arts of alternative transportation. They have bicycles to get to the polls and chains to lock their bikes while they’re voting. They may know the bus routes. They have friends and family members who can taken them here and there – like to a ballot drop-box.
But they won’t do it.
They just won’t vote.
And they’re killing us.
IT’S BECOME a sad cliché that we are a divided, partisan nation, separated into two, nearly equal groups, the Red and the Blue, who no longer talk to each other, who consider each other to be un-American terrorists determined to end democracy as we know it, beginning Nov. 8, 2022.
Actually, the two sides are equal only in numbers; only one of those two sides is a true danger to democracy, and it’s the "Red" one - the Trumpist Republican Party.
Some Republicans were among the criminals who overran the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, on a “bipartisan” mission to murder the Vice President of the United States (a Republican) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Democrat). And if they weren't part of the mob, they have becomes its apologists.
Instead of celebrating the Republican office holders who carried out their duties as secretaries of state and other neutral vote-counters, the Trumpist Republicans are doing their best to run them out of town, seeking local, county and state offices that oversee elections so they can skew the results, and in the meantime, passing laws making it easier to overturn voting outcomes they don’t like,
Democrats are many things, some of them not particularly complimentary.
The Blues seem not as interested as the Reds are in the minutiae and mechanics of the election process; don’t seem to have quite the work ethic of the election spoilers; and they haven’t planned and worked as diligently to take over school boards and state houses. Worse, Democrats can be embarrassingly and bizarrely idiotic, as demonstrated recently by members of the House Progressive Caucus, who recently sent a letter to Biden, urging him to negotiate a Ukrainian peace deal with Putin, only to modify, then withdrew the letter after a wave of common sense swept across the country.
But Democrats do have a few positive things going: a commitment to lawful elections, an interest in effective government and respect for law.
WHICH IS WHERE the non-voters come in.
In close elections, every vote counts. The non-voters could make the difference between whether we have a Red or Blue government, whether we continue as a democracy or something else.
The non-voters could care less.
If they have a political motto, it’s something like this: “I don’t care for politics.”
Their selfish, self-fulfilling cynicism follows a script like this: a) politics is a dirty business; b) politicians are going to do whatever they like, so why vote; c) the “system” is corrupt, ineffective and unfair; d) there's an election?
Whats more, I’m too nice, too busy, too smart, too agreeable.
The non-voters are united in the illusion that elections have nothing to do with real life.
Government has nothing to say about whether Social Security will adequately fund retirements ("It won't be there for me"). Government doesn't have anything to do with health care (I’m feeling fine); pandemics can be controlled (I can’t stand masks); meat is properly inspected (like I said, I'm feeling fine); schools are terrible (what's new?); potholes fill themselves (except the ones in front of my house); sometimes rogue countries invade other countries (so what?); climate change is a) overwhelming, b) too far down the road to worry about; abortion is a "woman's problem"; 110 mph is a reasonable speed limit (except on my street); children should be able go to school without being blown to bits as long as the rights of gun owners are not infringed upon.
Democracy is difficult, demanding and discouraging.
It puts a terrible emotional burden on Americans who take it seriously. I'm guessing that few of us are expecting a stress-free evening Nov. 8, or later, trying to figure out what to do in its aftermath.
I admit that I thought that after Trump was banished from the White House following four years of turmoil and chaos, we could relax for many more years. I was wrong and foolish. We are condemned to living out the rest of our lives in a perpetual political emergency.
SO, IT’S EASY TO UNDERSTAND why millions of Americans opt out of politics and its logical requirement that everyone who can vote should vote.
We all know someone, probably many people, who don't vote.
The non-voters are, as I said, often likable, logical, affable folks, probably entertaining dinner companions and perhaps community-spirited – maybe they coach kids’ soccer and help out at a soup kitchen and contribute to Go-Fund-Me campaigns and have amazing vegetable gardens.
But they are dangerous, and if this country goes down the tubes because of the way this election or subsequent ones turn out, it will be their fault.
They’ll, of course, pay the price for their indifference.
But so will the rest of us.
BRIAN C. JONES