Election day: the fight against inadequacy in our democracy

Election+day%3A+the+fight+against+inadequacy+in+our+democracy

Photo by: Leah Carrier

Kavita O’Malley

“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” -RBG

What is the meaning of democracy if the people elected to represent the voices of the general public are deaf to those they were elected to hear? What is the point of choosing a representative if in the moment when their representation matters most they do not listen? What does it mean to be a leader when you promise something so basic as equal standards for elected officials and then you do the exact opposite of what was promised? It is an American citizen’s right to vote for officials who will fairly represent them in government positions. So in an election year that has put so much on the line, it is imperative that all of those who can use their voices to promote progressive change. 

On October 26, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as the newest Supreme Court justice, officially replacing the late RBG. This decision was wrong for so many reasons,beyond the disrespect that it showed to the remarkable, strong woman who fought so hard for this country and those within it. Beyond the fact that so many Americans were against this decision and their voices were ignored, it was a simple matter of upholding basic promises that had been made regarding this issue. 

On February 23, 2016, nine months before the presidential election, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell said, “I can now confidently say the view shared by virtually everybody in my conference, is that the nomination should be made by the president the people elect in the election that’s underway right now.” So in 2016, with nine months until the election, they waited. Now it is October 26, 2020, and we are just a week away from Election Day. But this time they did not wait. Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans have just confirmed a new Supreme Court justice days before the election, after millions of citizens have already cast their ballots.

This nomination was crucial for various reasons. Among the most important cases revisiting the court in the next few months are Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act. Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination will likely cost women the right to choose, more than twenty million Americans their health care, and LGBTQ+ Americans their right to marry the person they love. 

When President Obama nominated Merrick Garland in 2016, he was blocked by Congress because he was a Democratic president. Now that there is a Republican in the White House, they have made it apparent that the rules no longer apply. Republican members of Congress have completely contradicted themselves, showing the world that they are being held to different standards.

This kind of mindset is going to tear our democracy apart. Throughout his four years in office, Donald Trump has broken enough laws just in his relations with China and Ukraine to amount to more than ten years in prison. He has broken laws related to “Coercion of political activity,” “Extortion by officers or employees of the United States,”Refusal of witness to testify or produce papers,” “Place of solicitation,” and “Contributions and donations by foreign nationals.” Now my friends, that’s a lot of laws. Especially, for a man whose job is to uphold said laws. 

He has acted like a child with a Twitter account and has fanned the flames of discrimination in this country time after time. His abuse of power and unfiltered comments put the lives of Americans and his fellow elected officials on the line. And yet, here we are. It is clear to anyone with half a brain that the man is unfit to be leading a country. That he is taking us backwards and growing fear in the hearts of Americans. At the beginning of this year the House tried to hold him accountable for his crimes, proving his inadequacy by impeaching him. However, even though the impeachment went through, the Republican Senate failed to deliver justice when they voted to not remove him from office. Despite the fact that his crimes have been on display, clear for all to see, he has gotten away with all of it. 

I’m not saying that Americans haven’t been fighting. We have. But it has not been enough. Now is our final opportunity; our chance to save what is left of our democracy and our futures. For those who can, now is your chance to do your part. Use the gift that so many people have paid for with their blood, sweat, and tears. Our democracy doesn’t mean anything if we don’t use it to its fullest extent. The idea of a democracy is that it grants us power. It gives us the ability to make change. Do not take that power for granted. 

No matter where you are from, no matter who you are, the decisions that the government makes will affect you and those near you. This is still your country. It is still your government, your future, your body, your planet. It is crucial that we all remember that no matter how little we think it affects us, it is our job to uphold this democracy and fight for what we know is right. 

So this year, vote for all of the people who can’t but still have so much to lose in this election. Vote for all of the people who have but whose votes will mean nothing if you don’t cast yours. Vote for the women who will lose their basic right to choose. Vote for the immigrants who will lose their freedom and their homes. Vote for the planet because it’s the only one we have. Vote for the millions of Americans relying on the government for healthcare. Vote for the 226,000 Americans dead from a pandemic that could have been stopped. Vote for all of the lives that you could save. 

Your vote has power. It holds weight in our democracy. Never forget the gift you have been given and make sure that those around you remember it too. Volunteer. Make a Plan. Vote. Because if you don’t, the consequences will be dire. 

 

  • Volunteering Resources: 
  • Voting Resources:
  • DC Voting Dates: 
  • Early Voting: Tuesday, Oct. 27- Monday, Nov. 2
  • Election Day: Tuesday, Nov. 3
  • Transportation to Polls: