When America Sends It’s People, They’re Not Sending Their Best… SO VOTE!


This Pat Bagley cartoon appears in The Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

On July 16th President Trump met with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki Finland, said he didn’t see how Russians would have interfered in our presidential election, the next day attempted to correct it by saying he misspoke, and then tripped again by saying that Russians aren’t targeting our midterm elections.  Oh one more thing, Putin is coming this fall to the White House.  I’m not mocking you, this all happened -in one week.

Does any of that sound remotely normal to you?  If it does, take off the MAGA hat and start using your brain.  Is there a problem with meeting the head of state of a country that makes up for 40% of nuclear warheads?  Absolutely not.  Do you send someone who can’t spell collusion?  Hell no.  Do you send someone who stares into an active eclipse?   No, because that’s just stupid.  Do you send someone who the former Secretary of State called a moron?  Only if you’re a moron too.

This opinion piece isn’t about one more stupid thing that’s happened in our country.  It’s about an epidemic we’re facing and I’m not talking about obesity –but the lack of eligible voters making it to the polls.  If the outraged want to see any sort of change in this country they must register and vote in November’s midterms.   I know many of my super progressive friends just collectively rolled their eyes at me for insinuating that change only happens if you vote, but hear me out.

If you own a car, and never change the oil it will eventually wreck the engine and what happens next?  Now you can’t get around anywhere.  You can’t make it to work.  You get fired.  And now ironically enough you don’t have the means to fix your stupid Hyundai.  You can’t avoid changing the oil, destroy your car, and then stand in front of it with a sign hoping the situation will change.

We must change this congress like we change bad oil in our cars so we can accomplish two things.  The first is electing people who will check the president before he truly wrecks this country.  The Judicial, Legislative and Executive branch of our government were never created to be fully dominated by one ideology or one party.  They were created to be at constant tension with each other as to avoid only representing the interests of one group.  This isn’t an original thought by yours truly but a reminder of what’s been echoed through our nation’s history.

The second -and I would say the more important of two- is that it helps prevent vulnerable people in this country to be steamrolled by an administration that either doesn’t acknowledge or care about them as people.  It’s not to say that voting would eliminate the need to protest, but one thing is for sure, if you didn’t vote or aren’t planning on voting and now you’re protesting, you make a mockery of the civil power you possess to help make change happen.

I voted for “Did Not Vote”.

Let’s remember the numbers.  Although Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by close to 3 million votes she would have been blown out of the water had a candidate by the name Did Not Vote been an option on the ballot.  Why?  Because 100 million people didn’t show up to vote.

The bottom line is that it really isn’t the candidate’s job to convince you to participate in an election when it’s your interests on the line.  It’s their job to convince you to vote for them but not to come out and vote.  Jaded Americans call it all a scam but that’s just a lazy excuse to be uninformed and unmoved to take actual action and participate in our democracy.

If it seems like I’m coming down on you, it’s because I am.  For all the well intentioned sentiment that carrying a sign and “getting into good trouble” have, it means nothing unless you vote.  I will continue to argue that the best form of protest is by voting because it can change the direction of power.  But if you don’t vote and you can, you’re allowing someone else to shape the country and move it into a direction that could darken the tomorrow of someone you love.  So again, vote in November.

The midterms aren’t just about what laws get passed by Congress, but how the laws will be interpreted for the current, and the next generations.  Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg and Justice Breyer will be celebrating birthdays next month –they’ll be turning 86 and 80 respectively.  Realistically, Trump could be nominating two more Justices since he has half a term left and a re-election campaign on the horizon -if he wins that is.  Don’t think it could happen?  Justice Kennedy is on his way out by retiring, and he’s 81 so never say never.

Now that I’ve told you that all your protesting and rallying isn’t helping, I’m going to ask you for a favor.  Don’t stop.  Keep going.  But take action in November.  I’m not mocking you here, I’m legitimately asking you to keep up the civil disobedience.  If you read everything I wrote above and took away from it that you should stop showing up and publicly demonstrating your displeasure and disagreement with the direction that this administration is taking us in, you’re wrong.  I want you to do both.  Protest and vote.  

Think of the senators and congress representatives who are in office right now.  They serve two functions in relation to the executive branch, to reinforce the president’s decisions or to check him when they disagree.  This last week bipartisan condemnation came down on Trump for his desperate performance on the world’s stage.  And what happened?  He took a step back, and attempted to correct himself -he wasn’t successful, but he tried.  The point is, when you protest and you vote, you control power.

“I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”  Thomas Jefferson said that.  Listen to him.  Oust those who pretend to work for you, when really all they’re doing is reinforcing the behavior of an unfit president.


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