In 1972 I was one of the chairs and organizers of a “Mock Political Convention” held at the Monmouth YM/YWHA in Deal Park, NJ. It was an overnight event held by the Y’s teens that featured platform debates, Republican and Democratic nominating conventions, and caucuses about the important issues of the time. These included the Vietnam War, the arms race, civil rights, the feminist movement, gun control, capital punishment, government support for education, welfare and taxation.
As an idealistic 16 year old, I believed that our generation was going to make a difference and solve all of those issues. It was the beginning of a 48-year journey in politics, culminating with the joy of a woman presidential candidate, only to have my dreams come crashing down in November, 2016.
The last four years have been heartbreaking for many of us, years in which the president has consistently refused to do or say the right thing. There was Charlottesville, with the chants of “Jews will not replace us,” and the murders of George Floyd and many other people of color at the hands of police. There was the sight of desperate people being denied access to the American dream, and families being separated and forced into cages. There were the constant attempts to take healthcare away from millions, without any plan to replace it. There were ethics violations and unqualified nominees, and throughout it all, there was Republican support for an immoral president.
And now there is COVID-19. The president has responded to this crisis with lies, magical thinking and incompetence, and in only a few months, almost 150,000 people have died in the US from the coronavirus.
If all of that wasn’t enough, Trump is trying to turn the office of the president into one where he can govern by executive fiat and send unmarked, anonymous troops into cities where they aren’t welcome. This is not the country I imagined as a 16 year old back in July of 1972.
Like those days, this crisis has brought forth a new generation of activists. As a board member of Women’s March San Diego, I have seen these young people in action, and I’ve been encouraged by their commitment.
Now it all comes down to the next 100 days. It will take each and every one of us to make sure that the November election is a decisive victory for the United States we love and a repudiation of the cruel and heartless policies of the current administration.
There is much you can do. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or time or effort. You just have to do something to make a difference in the days we have left.
Speak out, whether it’s to your friends or family, or on social media. Let people know where you stand. Have facts at hand and be calm and positive. If you prefer to express yourself in writing, you can send a letter to the editor of your local paper or submit an op-ed to DemCastUSA.com.
You can commit to making phone calls, or writing and mailing postcards for an hour or a few minutes each day. You can join people like Debra Messing and Kristen Johnston and be part of DemCast’s Focus 14 effort to grow swing state turnout.
Most importantly, you must VOTE! Check with your local Registrar of Voters in the next few days and make sure you understand the rules and requirements of voting in your area. Do you need to show an ID? Do you know how to find your polling place? What do you have to do to Vote by Mail? When is the deadline to get mail ballots posted?
One hundred days is not a very long time, so please get out there and do whatever you can. Do it for the 150,000 and more who will have died by November due to this government’s incompetence. Do it for your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, who will have to live in whatever country results from this election. Do it for me, so I can relax and play with my dogs and garden, knowing that our country is in good hands. Please do it for all of us, so that we can have a government that honors our Constitution, believes in equality, wants everyone to have healthcare and a fair chance, and will do their jobs morally and ethically. It’s in each of our hands for the next 100 days.
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