Companion posts August 1&2 accessible here. These define my own politics, and why I feel the way I do.
I wondered about voter turnout in the 2020 election in the United States. Here’s what the Census Department reported. In numbers: about 240 million were eligible to vote; only two-thirds actually voted in the heaviest turnout ever; the vast majority of those, about 156 of the 158 million, voted for the Democrat or Republican candidates (81 million to 74 million). One-third didn’t even vote.
It was the most scrutinized and cleanest election ever, state by state, local by local.
The votes were by secret ballot, and no one has to be truthful about whether they voted or who they voted for.
It is a given that the total number of people actually voting will be far less on Nov. 8, 2022, than those who actually cast ballots in 2020. It is simply a matter of history.
But the upcoming U.S. election is again going to be an accurate reflection of US as a people. We will have no one to blame but ourselves for the outcome. If we don’t vote knowledgeably for every office holder up for election on our ballot, the result is on each and every one of us.
I’m not going to say who to vote for, nor why, though if you ever read this page, you know my feelings.
The generalization about politics and politicians – that “they’re all alike” – continues, and is, as it has always been, inaccurate. How we collectively vote has huge implications for all of us, long term. Every election, really, is for the next generation – the people too young to vote.
In the last post, I offered some suggested resources: Any information for a Minnesota voter can be seen here (our early voting began on Sep 23). National information here. NBC has a Plan Your Vote site as well.
If you know me and live in my town, my own parties local website is here. We have very good candidates for office.
There remains about 7 weeks until election day. Don’t squander your opportunity.
You truly are US.
September 27, 2022:
This amendment was planned for the day before the Jan. 6 public hearing scheduled for Sept.28. That hearing has been postponed due to Hurricane Ian about to strike Florida. Key to the postponement, I understand, was that this was to be a public hearing, and many interested in viewing it would be otherwise occupied with what appears to be a severe storm.
At the same time, much attention is being paid to the implications of the recent election in Italy, said to signal a move by Italians further to the right, in the mode of Mussolini’s Fascist regime which flamed out at the end of WWII.
Here’s a report from Europe about that election which is, granted, only one of many. But is nonetheless interesting.
I had heard that the Italian election had a low turnout. The news article, towards the end, documents this.
What surprised me was that the supposedly low turnout in Italysouth, was only very slightly lower than the voter turnout in the 2020 United States Presidential election, and that 2020 election had the greatest turnout in U.S. history (see first paragraph, above).
What all of this means is uncertain.
For sure, in my opinion, is that voter turnout matters. A great deal. Not voting at all, or voting for a candidate with zero chance of winning, “to make a point”, is counter-productive.
Much more can be said. There are no more than two choices for virtually all races on Nov. 8. Carefully consider the implications of your vote, or non-vote.
September 28, 2022
As I write, the hurricane is about to make landfall in south west Florida.
I’ve been thinking about autocrats in recent history, among which I include the one we’ve experienced, #45. He was born 1946, took office at age 70, talks about taking office again at age 79 in 2025.
Some of his companion autocrats: Hitler was 44 when he rose to power and died at his own hand at 56; Mussolini was 39 at the beginning of his Fascist regime in Italy and was about 62 when he met an inauspicious end. Franco took power at 47 and managed to live out the rest of his life, dying at 82 in 1975. Putin was 48 when first elected President; 60 when he essentially became President for life in 2012. He is soon 70 years old.
France’s LePen is 54, so far she’s failed: 2012, 2017, 2022. Other countries have flirted with far-right nationalism. In a democracy like ours, it takes root one representative at a time…we can see it coming, but don’t pay attention till too late.
In Russia, there is now mandatory military service, and droves of potential draftees are getting out of the country in any way they can, not looking forward to serving in Ukraine.
Allegedly near 100% of voters in Ukraine territories under temporary control of Russia allegedly expressed a desire to be annexed into Russia – Democracy? Hardly. Who knows what the actual vote was in these regions. No one knows if it was in any way ‘free and fair’. Caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware.
Our own autocrat in residence in the U.S. still maintains that he was robbed in 2020, absent any evidence, but with many lieutenants, wanting to be in control.
The new big-shot in Italy apparently got much of her support from issues like anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric. If in Italy, speak Italian. Sound familiar?
The good news is that none of these recent elections had true majority support. The bad news is that the majority didn’t act when they should have, the most important act being the simple act of voting for stability which comes from community when they had a chance.
The terms Neo-liberal and Neo-Fascist are thrown around a lot these days. Toss in words like “illiberal”. Look them up and learn.
It seems we may be at a once in a lifetime moment, once again. 1861 the Civil War; about 70 years later our serious American flirtation with Fascism; now again playing around with tribal division and culture wars. Will we ever learn? The good news, we still have a chance.
Our destiny is our own choice, one vote at a time.
Some possible light at the end of a dark tunnel: here.
September 29, 2022:
Yesterday I spent some time watching the coverage of the Hurricane Ian arriving in Florida.
I write about 10 a.m. Thursday morning. It will be weeks before some kind of definitive report will be available, so I won’t anticipate that.
Yesterday, I did watch as Florida Gov. DeSantis gave one of his reports in which he acknowledged the importance of Federal help during and after the crisis. He seemed rather unenthused about saying this publicly – but it was mandatory. Without strong national support his state is toast.
This morning Heather Cox Richardson reports that Gov. DeSantis, then as a member of Congress in 2013, voted against federal flood insurance assistance related to another catastrophic U.S. storm (see here, para 3).
The United States, as an idea, is a United coalition (at bare minimum) of States, with a primary function of mutual support in times of need. States Rights types dismiss this, until they need the assistance. It will be interesting to see how DeSantis follows up as the crisis continues. He is a leading contender for Supreme Leader in T-party circles for 2024.
In a very real sense, the United States is much like a municipal fire department – an essential entity which one hopes will never have to be personally used, but which is integral to everyone’s sense of well-being.
My own town, approximately 70,000, has a fire department, of course. Only rarely have there been serious house fires in this town, and I’ve lived here for 22 years.
Does this mean that we can get rid of the tax expense of a fire department? Absolutely not. We want and need qualified and available personnel at the time of crisis. Similarly, for any other municipal service.
All of these are part of the community function of government. Ambulance. Police. Streets. Sewers. Water. On and on and on.
Yesterday I took bags of stuff to the local recycling center, another community service paid by taxes. This morning I did my daily walk at the local community activity center built and maintained by taxes (and augmented by a very reasonable fee by people who use it, like myself.)
Beware those who diminish the need for community participation in services like we’ve watched real time as Ian approached and overran Florida.
We aren’t in this as free agents. We are part of a society – I would maintain Global society – of which we must be a participating part, rather than standing alone.
September 30, 2022
Today is the last day of September. One month ago, indeed one week ago, who would have imagined Florida’s fate this week.
I cannot add to, or take away from, the official reports of the devastation. As I write, here in Minnesota, it is a very nice, sunshiny day. It is hard to imagine how tenuous one’s experience can be on a beautiful day. People move to Florida as if its paradise, and then reality appears, uninvited.
Someone said this week that the incidence of hurricanes, and their typhoon counterparts in the Pacific, is not more numerous these days, they are simply more intense, a consequence of climate change – yes, global warming accelerated by human behavior.
Whatever your particular belief about climate change, the data is that it is very real, and it has more and more dire consequences. People who likes to live seaside in warm climates are in increasingly tenuous circumstances. Etc.
I wish the Floridians, and others in the aftermath of Ian in the coastal Carolinas, well.
For all of us, it’s long past time to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’. We’ve chosen to ignore the warning for far too long.
Potnote: Rollin’ down the river:
Golden Rule is on its way down the Mississippi. Today it was at Red Wing MN. Here’s it’s itinerary through October: Golden Rule Red Wing to Keokuk. I’ll keep you posted. Visit it’s website and participate in its campaign.
COMMENTS (more at end of post):
From Jeff: Good one Dick….