There’s So Much You Can Do: Election Day 2020

Before we talk politics, let’s talk about conversations.

These days when people ask: “How are you?” I answer back: “Healthy and here” because it’s true and concise. It’s true: I am really grateful for all that’s represented in those two words. Besides, the fuller-bodied answer of: “Every day is an exploration of trying to be okay with not being okay” takes longer and is rife with details. Since I don’t know how much time my well-meaning friends have, healthy and here is what everyone gets. That is unless you and I happen to be on the phone and sipping watermelon mojitos and chatting on the kitchen floor like Maritza and I did a few weeks ago, veraciously sharing our feels, only to be cut short by a haboob and another storm cell that collided overhead (both on her end). Mother Nature showed the power grid who’s boss and knocked out her electricity, most notably her air conditioning, on an evening that was more than 100 degrees F.

Not much she could do except wash her sweaty pajamas and sheets the next morning.

Besides more heat and humidity, August brought my partner and me another line to add to “healthy and here” which now includes: “His citizenship interview is scheduled!” This may not seem exclamation point-worthy, but I’m telling you: when you’ve spent years swimming in the blue deep ocean of uncertainty, penning a date on the calendar feels like spotting a rescue jet-ski sent by a nearby luxurious yacht on the horizon which promises an end to the ever-nagging question: “Am I treading water in shark-infested waters?” and maybe even means sleeping on a comfy bed or at the very least a padded reclining deck lounge chair.

“Ah, but there’s no such thing as 100 percent certainty,” the wise side of my brain quips and I get it, she’s right. But I’m taking the small wins where I can get them because if I only focus on the stresses of living in a global pandemic while funded entirely by an ever-fluctuating freelance income at a time when unemployment is sky-high at 25 percent (a rate matched only by the Great Depression on the 1930s), I’d probably stay in bed paralyzed with overwhelm. So yes, a date on the calendar is a big deal, especially since said pandemic has brought many Federal government services to a screeching halt. Being able to write AND circle a date on the calendar is a major win for Team Certainty’s seemingly endless losing streak and calls for celebration.

Writing a date on the calendar.

Getting to where we need to be on that day.

These are all things that we can do.

Being the preparation-based party animals we are, with over a month away, we cracked the USICS books (er, PDF and audio file). There are 100 questions to study and to pass the oral/aural portion of the test, an applicant has to answer six out of 10 questions correctly.

Studying for this exam is something we can do.

My partner watches history documentaries for fun as well as too much a lot of news and thankfully I remember most of my history education from fifth to eleventh grade, so we’re doing all right. Our kitchen door is now a chalkboard, covered in colorful Post-Its to quiz ourselves on questions that require multiple answers like this one (there are four answers; can you list all four answers without peeking?)

Q: What is the rule of law?

Answers:
1. Everyone must follow the law.
2. Leaders must obey the law.
3. Government must obey the law.
4. No one is above the law.

Because snark is not helpful to people trying to commit answers to memory, especially when their end goal is naturalizing during a very immigrant unfriendly time in the USA, I’ve been trying not to add “except Donald Trump” to the end of each answer. Trying. But honestly, I don’t think Donnie John (thank you for this genius low-level depression cure, Tina Fey) has ever laid eyes on this test because otherwise, he wouldn’t try to do dumb things like postpone elections. I’d love to see him cold answer all of these practice questions and if I were his boss, which I and other voting Americans collectively are, I’d make him delete his Twitter account if he inevitably fails. Knowing that he’s one of the answers (“Who is the president of the United States?”) is probably enough to inflate his ego and bring his attention back towards drumming up whatever daily fresh hell political theater to appeal to his voter base.

After all, 45/Agent Orange/Cheeto Hitler’s clock is ticking, and making desperate political statements that try to counteract and deny the stupidity he’s said before is all he can do.

Which brings me to you, Dear Reader. If you’re reading this and thinking: “Ugh, I know right? What can we do to close the book on this horrific chapter of American history?” I have your answer: make sure you’re registered to vote. And then vote. Are you registered? If not, click here to register to vote in your state.

If you’ve been languishing in hopelessness and YES you’re eligible, but no you’re NOT registered to vote, stop it. Registering to vote is something you can do. And need to do. Like, today. Wake up and handle your business.

Did you know there are 64 days left until the 2020 General Election in the United States? Every state has its own voter registration rules, but most states require you to register 30 days before an election.

Think your vote doesn’t count? Then why do candidates, donors, and corporations spend literally billions of dollars to convince you to vote one way or another? Your vote is a precious commodity that costs you nothing and empowers you and your country.

If you have plans to move between now and Election Day 2020 on November 3, promise me: before you call the internet company to transfer service (arguably our most important utility these days), register to vote.

If you’re not sure if you’re registered, I’m asking you right now pretty please: make it your priority to find out and re-register if needed. Today. Your reward is knowing you did your civic duty and let that American pride swell in your belly and chest. Treat yourself. And then also put your ballot in the mail or go to the polls well before Election Day on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, if your state allows early voting or vote-by-mail.

Why is voting so important? Because voting is a small but powerful act that we can do. And if you’re a woman, a member of the New American Majority, or simply an American who believes in the equality for all, the last four years have been a daily waking nightmare under Donald Trump’s leadership. This is our chance to be on the correct side of history and close the cover on this horror story.

If you agree, your country needs you to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice President in the upcoming election. These two are our only hope to damage control on the dumpster fire that has been this leadership.

Voting is something you can do to collectively put us back on track towards a sane and representative democracy that supports all who consider themselves Americans.

Equally important for this and all elections in the future: don’t forget to vote for all the candidates. Do your research on Ballotpedia if your state doesn’t provide a voter’s pamphlet. I vote for candidates with coherent agendas who stand for intersectionality and represent the needs of all, but primarily the needs of historically marginalized people such as BIPOC. Women. LGBTQIA folks. People with disabilities. People with economic challenges. Why? Because representation is important and I’m tired of white men holding the majority of decision-making power.

There’s so much you can do. Volunteer. Make phone calls. Donate money. Talk with family and friends about politics (as it turns out: having conversations is the most effective way to sway an undecided voter). Gee, it makes you wonder who perpetuates the myth that politics is not polite conversation? Those who want to preserve the status quo and stop change from happening are the first answers that come to mind. If you need help finding your voice, here’s some ways to use yoga to have difficult conversations.

If you need some inspiration, remember Gabby Salinas? She won her primary election in August 2020 and has accepted her nomination for Tennessee state representative. Home grown, Onward Woman political talent, y’all! She and her team run a grassroots campaign and as they say: “How you get somewhere matters”, so please consider making a donation to her campaign so this three-time cancer survivor and researcher can bring her fiercely consistent advocacy for healthcare, education, and infrastructure to a red state that doesn’t know that it desperately needs all these things.

Above all please: don’t give up. Don’t do nothing. We need EVERYONE to show up on Election Day 2020.

Register.

Vote.

Volunteer.

Make phone calls (it’s easy and your number stays private!)

Donate money.

Have conversations.

For every social media post you share, match it with an actual conversation.

Talk to undecided voters (I don’t understand them either which is exactly why we need to converse).

Decide what you CAN do and then go do it.

Together, we are infinitely powerful. Together, there’s so much we can do.

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