by Joe Courter
I watched the first Presidential debate to get some clarity on writing this Publisher’s Note for the last Iguana before the Nov. 3 election. I had fortified myself by reading Carl Hiaasen’s great new book Squeeze Me one of his best and a brutally funny take down of Trump, his devotees, and wealthy South Florida elites. And pythons. I finished the book at 7:30pm Tuesday night and at 9pm I was ready with glass and bottle of $3.99 wine. It was something …
So, clarity? It is that we must motivate a massive turnout to defeat Donald Trump. We will need the people in other states to dump their Republican Trump-enabling Senators so we can change the dynamic in Congress. And with regard to this election, we have to be ready to defend our right to vote and to have our votes counted.
I personally will early vote in person: that way I see my ballot go right in the machine, and make it easier for election workers. We need to overwhelm the voter intimidation and voter suppression with a huge GOTV: Get Out The Vote! We may even need to deal with a refusal of Trump to concede, and have to deal with the intimidation and aggression of his private army of zealous racist followers. They unfortunately are a longtime presence in America, but Trump and the internet have fertilized and nurtured their growth to toxic levels. I sure hope it doesn’t come to that, because frankly I am not sure this country has the will to resist an authoritarian takeover at this point in time. And even with a smooth transition, these Trumper folks will not be going away.
So yes, we must vote Biden in, and hopefully we are successful. That said, we must realize that he is not the answer to where we need to go to make this country deal with the systemic problems that it has, and has had for decades, even centuries. There actually are strong left movements bubbling right now in this country, and they are manifesting on a number of fronts. Some credit goes back to Occupy and the 99 percent concept that grew there, but much more to the audacity of Bernie Sanders and his presidential runs in 2016 and 2020 inspiring people to want more than what mainstream Democrats were asking: things like single payer health care, free tuition and relief from student debt, a rise in the minimum wage, and facing up to the Climate Crisis. There is a huge awareness of police violence and systemic racism against Black folks, and after Black lives not mattering for 400 years, Black Lives Matter now.
Biden is a halfway measure, and we can’t go to sleep as we did in 1992 and in 2008. We cannot let the concept of “Defund the Police” be dismissed. We must insist that priorities change within municipal budgets so that there is less need for cops to deal with all that is dumped on them now: more jobs, healthcare (physical and mental), drug treatment, and housing. The ideals of the Green New Deal should not be diluted or dismissed. Joe Biden unsurprisingly waffled on these things in the debate. That doesn’t mean he is bad person we should dismiss; it means we have our work to do to fulfill our part of this participatory democracy. Count on vigorous opposition. The struggle continues.
So do what you can to make votes happen: Call relatives and old friends, donate time and/or money, support local candidates, help people get to the polls, do whatever fits your abilities and time. This is a pivotal election for our future and the future of this country.
Don’t throw away your shot. We need to do this.