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election anxiety countdown

65 Days: Volunteer to Become a Poll Worker

On Sundays, I briefly suggest some small thing you can do to end Trump and preserve our fragile Democracy.

This week’s suggestion to become a poll worker came to me from the newsletter of Brad Listi’s OtherPPL podcast. Have been listening to Brad’s author interviews for years now. Highly recommend.

Volunteer to become a poll worker. i know i keep saying it, but it bears repeating: this is a truly insane and dangerous time in america. we are on the brink of sliding into autocracy and losing our democracy. that’s not hyperbole. it’s real. trump is an anti-democratic and broken man, a sociopath who will stop at nothing. we have to protect our votes and fight to eliminate this scourge. it’s not even political. it’s about the rule of law and our basic rights and institutions. it’s about the constitution. the bill of rights. it’s about basic decency. it’s about all of us, ultimately. trump is pulling out all the stops to make voting hard, and to intimidate and confuse american citizens. fight back. we need good people at polling places to help people vote safely and securely on election day. in a pandemic, that’s not entirely simple. if you’re healthy, young, and want to help the cause, consider volunteering to be a poll worker. it matters.

The process varies from place to place, but it is not complicated. You’ll likely have a training or practice day in advance of Election Day. If you’ve voted before, you know the demographic that typically works the polls on Election Day is the same demographic that is most at risk for Covid-19. While many will vote by mail this year, it is important that the polls run smoothly for those who choose — or are forced — to vote in person for one reason or another.

Learn more at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission or check your city, county, or state government elections website.

Past Sundays: Register to Vote, Learn Anti-Racism,Adopt a State, and Watch the Speeches.

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election anxiety countdown

72 Days: Watch the Speeches

Sunday is the day I offer some small thing that you can do to end Trump. Past Sundays have included: Register to Vote, Learn Anti-Racism, and Adopt a State.

This week I’m recommending you take the time to hear the Democrats make the case in their own words. I have struggled this week to hold back my criticism and anxieties about the candidates. I’ve discussed the pitfalls of demanding perfection from candidates. But there is no doubt in my mind that Trump must not win in November.

It is better for you to hear Joe Biden and Kamala Harris make the case themselves, to see what resonates for you, to find your own reason and motivation for supporting them these next 71 days.

The speeches of Biden and Harris were inspiring to me. Above all, because they showed humility, competence, and empathy. Three things Trump and his government have continually failed to demonstrate. Speeches like this are necessarily broad and light on specifics, but broad strokes can convey a lot.

“We will choose hope over fear, facts over fiction, fairness over privilege….”

and

“That’s the job of a president. To represent all of us, not just our base or our party. This is not a partisan moment. This must be an American moment. It’s a moment that calls for hope and light and love. Hope for our futures, light to see our way forward, and love for one another.”

—Joe Biden, acceptance speech for Democratic nomination, July 20, 2020

Count the phrases in the short quotes above that you can’t imagine Trump saying and let me know when you run out of fingers.

Watch the speeches:

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election anxiety countdown

79 Days: Adopt A State

Today is a Sunday, the day I post a quick step you can take to help defeat Trump in the fall. I live in D.C. Many of the stories I’m telling on this blog concern friends here, or in Minnesota, New York and other states that already tend to vote for Democrats in presidential elections. If you are in such a state, you can still do a lot more than just vote. The folks over at Vote Save America, an offshoot of the popular Pod Save America podcast* are collecting news and resources to help win six states most likely to swing the election: Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida. You can “adopt” any (or all!) of these states to follow developments and learn how to help win each as the election nears. Click the state links above or the button below for all six newsletters.

*Full disclosure: I’m not a listener, but I hear it’s great. There’s only so many podcast hours in the day!

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election anxiety countdown

86 Days: Learn Anti-Racism

On Sundays, I interrupt this improvised narrative with a short post on a course of action. One concrete thing I’ve done, or that I pledge to do to help defeat Trump in the fall. It’s a sacrosanct tradition that dates back to last Sunday (we’re only 14 days in).

It has not escaped my notice that the authors and friends and colleagues I’ve mentioned so far have been mostly white. And while I’m hardly living in luxury on my design and writing income, it is a luxury to sit safely at home and write for 100 days as others — predominantly people of color, here in D.C. — work in frontline health, service, and delivery industries with an increased risk of exposure to Covid-19. 

Though I have worked for progressive advocacy and cultural organizations in the past and have taken on histories of systemic oppression in past art projects, I know I have more work to do and the work does not stop.

The murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day in Minneapolis, walking distance from where my grandparents, parents and I lived through much of the twentieth century, has been a moment to reflect on systemic injustice. My family and well-intentioned white people in Minneapolis and across the country have benefitted from — and continue to benefit from — systems that excluded Black people, Indigenous people and people of color (BIPOC) just as much as overt racists who raise the confederate flag. 

I will have more to say on all of this in the weeks to come. For today, one concrete step you can take is to pledge to keep educating yourself. As the election nears, discussion of racism, the racially coded language used by Trump and his allies, and of policies that disproportionately and systemically impact BIPOC are sure to remain part of the conversation. 

There are many books and resources I might point you to. But the best resource is the one you actually use. Anti-Racism Daily, a newsletter published by Black wellness entrepreneur Nicole Cardoza arrives each day in your inbox in an easy-to-read and use format. It takes just a minute or two to read that day’s issue. Related stories and resources are always a click away to explore further. Sign up here.

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election anxiety countdown

93 Days: Are You Registered to Vote?

If my time working in online advocacy taught me anything, it is to always have a call to action. So, after writing the first 5,500 words of preface this first week, it is long past time that I remind you of the most important thing you need to do right now: make 100% sure you are registered to vote.

Some states have been purging voters from the rolls for dubious reasons. Other states have early voter registration deadlines, or unique requirements. It’s best to take care of it now while you’re thinking about it.

Vote.org has you covered. It takes less than a minute to check your registration. And they’ll help you register, too. The last thing any of us wants is for the deadline to pass, or for you to show up on election day and not be able to vote. Take care of it now.

That’s it for today.