Midterm Election Rant

I know no one actually wants to hear me rant about politics which is why I am posting here instead of Facebook. I plan to consider this my personal diary for the next little bit so feel free to ignore this non-book-related post.

I learned a lot today. I’ve been so focused on the Senate/House races and didn’t realize the importance of everything else. For one, the state ballot measures. Some states (not including NY) had key decisions made by voters today. Here is an article with the incoming results of some of these ballot measures: https://www.npr.org/2018/11/06/650525268/2018-election-results-for-key-ballot-measures-and-state-propositions

I also learned the importance of the Governor and State Senate races. 2020 marks the next Census, meaning many of the people elected today will be deciding the new district lines. Three-fifths of all Governors, to be specific. The majority of voters were only thinking about the federal races, but those state races are key in future federal elections.

Presidential elections are obviously important, but I truly cannot believe how critical the midterm elections are in our country. Fortunately, voter turnout was high this year, but this has not always been the case and likely won’t always be the case in the future.

Learning all of these things made me realize I need to get more involved. Not running-for-office-involved, just paying more attention and voicing my opinion more often.

I feel so disconnected from the rest of this country. I know, shocker coming from a middle-class liberal millennial living in Brooklyn working for a software company. Probably really alarming. But in my slight defense, I grew up in a town a few miles from Canada, one of the poorest counties in NYS. I might as well have lived in the deep south when it comes to bigotry and conservatism. I struggle because the people in this town are some of the nicest, kindest people you’ll ever meet, but then they hang confederate flags outside their homes. Very much like my great aunts from Oklahoma. Great, as in my grandmother’s sisters, not as in awesome. They’re very racist. Regardless, my point is, even though I have met people in my life with varying political views, I am still in shock when I see the current state of affairs in this country. I just can’t wrap my head around states for which the majority, or the voting majority, are so backward thinking.

Alabama has voted for allowing the Ten Commandments to be displayed on state property and to not protect abortion. West Virginia voted for an amendment that states that there is no right to an abortion or state funding for abortions. All three of these amendments, if passed, will likely end up in the Supreme Court, as they blatantly go against the federal rulings on these issues. And let’s take a quick look at our Supreme Court, shall we? Nevermind, I don’t need to stress eat even more tonight. The future is bleak.

But I can’t only focus on the bad. Florida restored felon voting rights. A couple more states are allowing same-day voter registration. Washington is currently looking like they will increase gun control. Massachusetts voted for prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. It’s not ALL bleak.

Today did teach me one more thing. We all have a lot more power than we think. Here are some of the things that occurred today because I cared about voting:

  1. I voted, obviously
  2. I helped my coworker find out if he was registered and where his polling place was (no way of telling if he would have done this without my slight push)
  3. I texted my dad to ask if he was voting, he wasn’t because he didn’t know where he was registered. I found out online, gave him his polling location, and he voted. I don’t get my interest in politics from my dad.
  4. Zellnor Myrie ran for NY Senate in my district (note: NY, not US Senate). He ran against the incumbent, Jesse Hamilton, who lost to Myrie in the Democratic primaries and then switched to the independent party. First of all, annoying. You lost once in the primaries (because you’re a disloyal asshole who caucused with the Republicans), accept it and move on. But anyways, I went to my polling place this morning, the school across the street from my apartment. Inside the building, right outside the voting booths, there was a large (in both size and quantity) check written to the school from Senator Jesse Hamilton. Below the check was a video (without sound) highlighting the students at the school. BLATANT electioneering violations. I contacted Myrie (or more likely someone on his team) via Twitter and his team took care of it. Ignore the fact that Myrie won by incredible margins and it’s not like I actually impacted anything.

I am not going to be a bystander anymore. I am going to pay attention and foster more discussions. I am going to resist the urge to give into my introverted-ness and social anxiety and start to speak up more when I disagree with people.

I’ve been sitting in my living room writing this and listening to the returns. My roommates got home a couple of hours ago. They heard the news coming from my computer and asked how things were going. I told them, they sighed, and they both went to their respective rooms and went to sleep. That’s how I reacted to elections in 2014 (quite frankly, I’m not even sure I voted in the last midterms). That’s how most people react. That’s okay. But I want to do better for myself. I am going to be informed and I am going to pay attention and most importantly, I am going to care.

I haven’t stayed up this late in ages. Boy am I jealous of my brother. Alaska really has it made when it comes to election returns. It was 3pm for him when the first results started coming in and now, when most races have been called, it’s not even 9pm. Bye mom and dad, I’m moving to Alaska too. I can’t stay up this late.

All in all, hooray for the House and goodnight!

 

2 comments

  1. I suggest reading some Chris Hedges (very depressing but right on) and Sheldon Wolin’s Inverted Totalitarianism. Also, read Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Anything by Susan Jacoby is very good. Jane Mayer’s Dark Money is excellent. But don’t read them all at once. 🙂

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  2. I also suggest reading Diane Ravitch’s blog. She comments on education matters but often has other items. And she talks a lot about the scourge of privatization in all areas. She’s very informative on many topics.

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