I veer between watching Twitter obsessively and turning off the computer to give my mind a rest. The times are dark, and peering too much into the abyss will do neither myself nor the ones I love much good.
But this morning, as I do the laundry, I've been glancing at Twitter. And this tweet jumped out at me.
We all know the figures: large majorities of Americans, according to polling, are for things like gun background checks, gay marriage, legalizing the undocumented, and so on. On paper, this is a center-left nation, on the right side of issues concerning humanity and justice.
And yet. If these figures are correct, north of 40% of eligible voters decided that having a say in their fate wasn't important enough to get out on Tuesday and make their voices heard. One would wager that a good percentage of those non-voters are for all these good things I just mentioned. But for whatever reason they decided that their votes didn't matter, or voting wasn't important enough.
People can tell pollsters all they want about the lefty, granola goodies they want. Newscasts can broadcast that a stunning majority of Americans favor this or that liberal policy. But unless those people turn what they tell pollsters into political action, it's as useful as going out into a desert morning with bright blue skies and telling the Universe that you'd like a bit of rain, please. No one in a position of power is listening to you.
I know that the reasons for not voting are myriad. Start with a media which favors the titillating over the substantive, throw in a Republican Party whose project it has been to suppress access to the ballot box, and a Democratic Party which doesn't know how to get into a knife fight. But at some point, as a citizen, as a decent human being, you have to honor your God-given free will and do the right thing. And it's not even that difficult. Register to vote. Show up on election day. Get information outside of the scandalous mainstream media.
If the Democratic Party is serious about remaking this country, its major brief for the next two years should be about not only getting more voters involved in the political process, but educating them. The media won't do it. The Party has to partner with civil society and make voter education the paramount part of the political program. Without that, 2018 won't be pretty.
Once a DNC chair is elected, he or she needs to be deluged by calls for doing just that. Grassroots political organization is the only way this country will be saved. Without it, it will be a very dark time indeed.