I’m going to do something I don’t do very often, which is to talk about our parallel universes. That’s how important this is.
That’s how important the November 4th election is.
In the West Wing universe, 2014 is a Presidential election year. After two terms, President Santos will be stepping down and his successor will be elected.
In the universe of real-world America, 2014 is a midterm election year. But it’s every bit as important as a Presidential election year. Some might even say it’s more important.
Consider how much is at stake. Control of the Senate could shift to the Republicans, leading to even more gridlock than exists today. It’s very possible that Congress will accomplish even less than it did this year, if you can imagine that.
In state races across the country, the extremist conservative wave that crashed to the shore in 2010 could continue on its destructive path — or the tide could be turned by replacing Republican legislators with Democrats. From gubernatorial races to school boards, elections matter. They will determine the direction of the state and, in many instances, the country.
Look at where we’re headed. Voters are being asked to decide on some extreme amendments this election cycle, like the personhood measure in Colorado. If amendments like these pass, it will embolden other states to go to extremes. In states like Wisconsin and Michigan, voters can decide whether to kick out Republican governors who pulled a bait and switch — making promises they never intended to keep while silencing the voices of their citizens — or continue to live under leadership that’s serving special interests, not voters.
How did America get here? Because historically, Democrats don’t vote in midterms with the enthusiasm that they do in Presidential elections. They get complacent. They definitely got complacent in 2010. That can’t happen again.
As Republicans in many states do everything they can to take away voting rights — from passing onerous voter ID laws to allegedly tossing out 40,000 new voter registrations in Georgia — citizens must stand up and be counted.
Every vote matters. Your vote matters. A lot of these races are going to be close. Just a few ballots could make the decision.
Do you want to make those decisions? Or do you want to let someone else make them for you?
President Bartlet knew what he was talking about when he said, “Decisions are made by those who show up.”
Democrats need to show up for this election. That’s how we win.
The best defense against a system that’s going off the rails is to set it right again by exercising your democratic rights.
If you can vote early, do it. If you need to vote absentee, note your state’s deadlines and get on it. If you need a ride to the polls, find a way to make it happen.
Whatever you do, vote as if your life depends on it. Because in some cases, it actually might.
In the West Wing universe, Election Day will mark the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. There’s no reason it can’t be the same in both universes — in the best possible way.
<Image via Wikimedia.>