by Joe Courter
Entering a new year, there are all sorts of retrospectives produced, and indeed there are a few within these pages. But I want to look ahead at the coming year and its challenges.
I started making a list of the things I see ahead — pivotal important issues. My list included the horrible ongoing armed conflicts, the ever obvious climate dysfunction, and the danger of information technology further aiding those with no regard for truth to create false narratives and bogus information.
Despite all that and more I found myself circling back what seems to me to be the major issue of the year. The election of 2024.
Within all my ideals for the changes that would help society be better: better healthcare, better schools, higher wages, priorities shifted toward diplomacy instead of war making and weaponry, promoting cleaner energy, people in control of their reproductive choices, a stronger labor movement; etc, I am began to think of the over-riding issue before us. It is an issue most of us who support the above list take for granted as we think about preserving progress made over the years or reversing the more recent erosion of those rights and gains. It is the preservation of our democratic system (however flawed) that make it possible for citizens to have a voice and advocate for a better world.
There are two women whose voices have really impressed me as the hearings on the Jan. 6th insurrection unfolded. Republican women: Liz Cheney and Cassidy Hutchinson. They address the fundamental issue we face that impacts all of the above-listed ideals. They have been on the inside and they see preserving the Constitution and our current form of government, flawed as it is, as the number one issue we face in 2024.
There is a very real rise of authoritarians, christo-fascists, and others fed by a anti-New Deal propaganda stream decades long, and incorporating the newer “anti-woke” agenda for which our governor is the poster child. And worse, within our current government are men and women who have ditched their moral compass (if they indeed ever had one) and are falling in line with the MAGA agenda. Exhibit A: the U.S. House of Representatives, where social media clicks and TV time are more important than legislating.
We need a huge voter turnout to reverse the foul tide that has washed up on our shores. Kudos to all who worked so hard to get the right to abortion on the ballot. The State Supreme Court still needs to weigh in and okay it (see pg 2). We need to try and overcome huge money to defeat Senator Rick Scott. Down-ballot races are really big too: City and County Commission, School Board, State Reps, etc. There will be primaries for party candidates in August, to set the field for the November balloting; they will need help, especially in the gerrymandered reality of the political map we have had imposed on us.
Voting, especially for President, is about math, not feeling virtuous. In our system a third party vote is a wasted vote. Saying that the Democrat is not who you want is a vote for their opponent.
Not voting at all because of distaste for the top of the ticket is an abdication of your much more powerful local vote.
Working for candidates multiplies your vote. And if we do not get serious and elect better people, things will not get better.
Meanwhile though, doing good where you live, being good to those around you and to yourself, is important. If the shit hits the fan, we’re gonna need each other.
Onward into 2024.