If you are planning on voting for not-Trump in this year’s presidential election, you need to register to vote in the upcoming primaries (and they’re coming up fast) to have your say in the sort of president you want to have. A friendly but urgent reminder that several members of our community have graciously volunteered to help you (shoutout to Anusha, Abby, and Tommy) if you are unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or feeling otherwise uncertain about this process. Check your inboxes for a form to help you get started (1/13, from Anusha), and look out for SLAC sessions! I’m also willing to help you out – just let me know. Register for that absentee ballot! Or if you’re from Massachusetts, mark your calendars if you haven’t already. February 12th is the voter registration deadline, and March 3 is Super Tuesday, aka Voting Day.
I am also here to remind you that it is your Honor Code-bound duty to Do Something. We all signed this document, vowing to uphold it in our time here and beyond. We all agreed to strive to better ourselves and our community and take responsibility for our own behavior. If you have been disappointed, distraught, disillusioned, terrified, paralyzed, gutted, or otherwise by the words and actions of our sitting president; by the non-stop headlines denoting some fresh violation of a nation’s integrity, of a citizen’s pride; by the atrocities committed at our nation’s border; by not only the ignorance of climate change but outright denial of it; by the utter disregard for truth, unabashed shamelessness, and gleeful erasure of culpability — now, NOW is the time to do something.
I will remind you that the privilege of democracy relies on its constituent members speaking up; that the power of a collected, concerted effort is greater than that of any individual, and that now is the time to do something.
I will remind you that families are being torn apart. I will remind you that American troops have been sent to Iran following our assassination of one of their military leaders. I will remind you that the sea levels are rising and that Australia is burning, that Puerto Rico is still recovering from Hurricane Maria, that more storms are on the way. I will remind you that we had 417 mass shootings last year. And these are only the headlines. I am begging you to do something.
I am fully aware that it is too much. This is too much. As I type, I have the Senate Impeachment trial audio in the background, listening as Trump’s defense actively deflects and distracts from the message of previous hearings and testimonies, as they construct an alternative fiction to live in. I, too, would love to live in a world where our president has done no wrong, but given the facts before me, that would be a choice of willful ignorance. I am reminded of the closing lines of Ash Sanders’s essay, Under the Weather : that when the world is ending, our health depends on closing ourselves off to the awareness of this fact. I’ve closed the video. It’s too much. Senate is not going to put a stop to this. I don’t know how else to ask you. Please vote.
And now, after that thoroughly depressing onslaught of appealing to your moral sensibilities, I am here to remind you that voting in this primary is an act of hope and possibility, not one that stems purely from desperation, and should be treated as such. It is the opportunity to choose a candidate that best represents your beliefs whom you could be proud to vote for. Who represents an idea of an America that you would like to live in? Who stands for the same issues that you stand for? We will never be able to erase the events of the Trump presidency, nor should we. But we can certainly put an end to them. We can learn and change and do something about the things that did not work, that are not working. This is the opportunity to vote for a representative who will be a champion of that vision.
I am voting for Senator Bernie Sanders in this upcoming primary.
I believe that he believes in the people of the United States: he stands (and has stood) for the rights and opportunities of those who have been disadvantaged and treated unjustly by our society. The titles of his stances and policies– a welcoming and safe America for all, Medicare for All, College for All– indicate to me that he believes in giving each and every American a shot at their American dream. He does not work just for himself, not just for those who are uninhibited by existing structures, who already have the privilege to do so. He speaks to work for us all.
He is a vocal supporter of the Green New Deal and is the only candidate I have seen that has treated climate change as a serious issue both on the campaign trail and through his votes in the Senate. I believe that Senator Sanders will support legislation brought up through our Congress that empowers the people and aims to reduce the disparities of justice in our country. Senator Sanders has given me every reason to believe this is the case: in 5 decades of public service, of standing in picket lines, in standing up to the most powerful without flinching to represent the people, he has championed a consistent message, even when the message was unpopular. He will stand up for you even when nobody else shows up, as he did in 1991, warning about continuous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. My point is, he is here to support the people because he believes in us.
And of course, ideology is great and all, but these must be carried out into concrete policy. Senator Sanders has:
- provided 9 million more Americans with primary health care, 2 million more with dental care, and 860,000 more with mental health services
- Raised the wages of 350,000 Amazon workers to at least $15 an hour
- Restored $320 million in pension benefits to 130,000 IBM workers
- Passed veterans legislation with John McCain providing $5 billion to hire more doctors and nurses at the VA
- Passed the first and only audit of the Federal Reserve in 2010
- Passed the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act
- Passed $3.2 billion in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy grants
- Prohibited the importation of goods made by forced or indentured child labor
Just to name a few.
Senator Sanders is electable. Many have stated they like Senator Sanders but are unsure of his electability: meaning they are unsure if other people would be willing to vote for him. These primaries are the time to show that he IS electable; that people ARE willing to vote for him. If there is anything to “win”, we win by playing to win, not by playing not-to-lose. If you believe that Senator Sanders is a strong representative of your beliefs, play to win.
I’m happy to talk with you more about this decision if you’d like to know more, or if you’d like to tell me I’m an idealistic dum-dum, or anything in between or beyond. But the most important thing to me is that you do not miss your opportunity to have your voice heard in the arena where it will certainly make a difference. Please vote.