“My name is no, my sign is no, my number is no, uh
You need to let it go, uh.” — Meghan Trainor
I have conservative friends and members of my own family. Usually, that’s one of the go to lines for racists, sexists, homophobes, and xenophobes as well. “Some of my best friends are ____” is the basis of most jokes told at their expense. However, I say that in the most lovingly and least ironic way possible.
There is one path forward for those that want the United States to continue to be a republic. There is one path forward for those that want individual rights and individual liberty to be a thing moving forward in the United States. There is one path forward for those that want the church over here and our politics to be over there. There is only one path forward.
You must vote and you must vote for Democrats. If it’s Joe Biden then it’s Joe Biden. If it’s your moderate senator or milquetoast representative than so be it. If it’s Skippy the kid who used to run the video store for dog catcher than so be it. If it has a D you vote for it. If it has an R you don’t. It really as as simple as that.
If you are looking at your local school board election or local city offices and someone talks about how they are conservative then you don’t vote for them. You may have known them for years and you think they are a stand up man or woman. That’s great. You still vote for someone else.
You cannot vote for third party candidates. You cannot vote for the Republican because you like him/her and think they are decent enough. You cannot stay home because you don’t like anyone on the ballot. You vote for the Democrat to save our democracy. You vote for the Democrat or democracy dies. Once we preserve democracy then we can start to talk.
I mentioned Andrew Yang in an earlier piece this week. He has formed himself a new party. Some of Yang’s ideas were interesting in the last presidential primary. I definitely understand the impulse to give people more choices. I definitely understand the impulse to say that the two-party system has driven this country into a ditch. I definitely understand the impulse to say that a “vote this party or die” mantra is what got us here. 99 times out of 100 I would be saying the exact same things.
We need to acknowledge the present reality. 40 percent of the country (or at least those that vote) are taken in by the right. I could call them deplorable, brainwashed, uneducated, or any other negative adjective I can think of. They aren’t changing their vote. They could listen to stories about the ex-president sitting in a high chair and throwing food at the wall. Maybe they would hear tales of him rubbing his own feces on himself in some kind of fit of rage. Maybe they would see him take a briefcase directly from Vlad Putin and they would still vote for him and fly his flag somewhere on their truck.
They are thanking him for saving “white” lives. They are calling for the destruction of the wall between church and state. They want an end to gay marriage, interracial marriage, available contraception and affordable health care for women. They want gay men, lesbian women, bisexuals, transsexuals and everyone else back in the closet. Generals in the military are taking the fifth when asked if they support the peaceful transfer of power. In short, they aren’t hiding it anymore. They aren’t using cute dog whistles or a carefully crafted group of phrases giving them plausible deniability. They are coming right out and saying it.
Now is not the time to divide the other 60 percent. Now is the time for the other 60 percent to speak in one voice and tell them no. Now is the time for the other 60 percent to muster the courage to send the most egregious to jail and the less dangerous underground. Now is the time for the other 60 percent to codify our voting rights. Codify women’s rights. Codify LGTBQ+ rights. It is time for the 60 percent to codify those norms that we just assumed would always be there into actual law.
From there, Yang and everyone else can then have their discussion about what they want the future to look like. We can discuss what the progressive movement should look like and what the choices should be. Conservatives that defect to us to save democracy can then figure out amongst themselves what their movement should look like. Maybe then we won’t have to vote for Skippy for dog catcher or against your friend for the school board. Until that day comes there is only one solution. You have to vote and you have to vote blue. Otherwise, democracy dies.