Good to see friends at a table in the covered beer garden
on a cool October evening as sky darkens early
from the smoke of not-so-distant wildfires.
The acrid, burnt-forest ambience thickens
and ash begins to decorate the smart device
that sits next to my pint of craft lager,
telling us it's time to put on our masks
and go home.
Got my ballot gonna mail it in
Or drop it off because I can
Because I'm free and it's my right
And duty to put up a fight
When fools and bigots try to run
This, my country, with their guns
And lies and hate and broken laws
But truth and justice is our cause.
Being terrified about having a wannabe dictator sitting in the Oval Office is understandable right now.
Well over 200,000 people have died during the coronavirus pandemic on our acting president’s watch because he is incompetent and he doesn’t care. He continues to ignore ongoing Russian meddling in our politics and V. Putin’s payment of bounties to reward killers of U.S. troops. The election is a few weeks away, and he toys with the notion of remaining in power despite voters’ decisions.
If you’ve been paying attention, you can rattle off dozens if not hundreds of other reasons for fear and outrage.
Terror is a weapon in this impeached, would-be despot’s arsenal – along with intimidation, lies, obstruction of justice, fear-mongering, financial fraud and numerous other high crimes and misdemeanors – but that doesn’t mean declaring ourselves “terrified” on social media or anywhere else is helpful.
As frightened, disgusted and outraged as you may be, I encourage you all to focus on being determined rather than terrified.
Be determined to stop the assault on our freedom.
Be determined to vote and to get others to vote.
Take to the streets in active, peaceful protest if that is something you can do. Keep your eyes wide open and decide where, when and how you can be most effective. The stakes are high.
Yes, doing something can be risky. Doing nothing is the bigger risk.
Some of us are better writers than we are speakers. That includes me.
I meant well when I signed up to help with a Sierra Club Get Out the Vote effort by making phone calls. Before the 30-minute training was over, I realized my time would be better spent writing GOTV letters.
So that’s what I’m doing. I’m way better at it.
This is one of those times when writers and other artists do well to examine how they can make the best use of their skills.
If you can talk and write, know that there’s an urgent need to call people to encourage them to vote and tell them why you think it’s important. Not so good on the phone? Sign up to write letters or texts.
The reasons to vote are many and my guess is you’re aware of them. One that should be especially important to writers right now is the First Amendment.
Whether you write or edit news, nonfiction, sci-fi, fantasy or some other genre – or if you express yourself through photography, visual arts, performing arts – your right to do that is under attack to an extreme we have not seen in the United States in a long time.