On this election day, I have no idea what to expect. I will make no secret of my opinion that we need a 180-degree change from the hate-filled, bombastic rhetoric that has filled our ears like so much cacophony since this last presidential election. I am not referring to the hardworking, professional journalists whose work has — up until recent verbal attacks — been considered a vital pillar of a functioning democracy. I am referring to the current administration which, rather, chooses to revile the media when not in agreement.
It is my fervent hope that the younger generations have awakened to the fact that their lives will change unless they make the effort to educate themselves about candidates and their track records on vital issues, and then vote accordingly. Do they — the young people — want a government that supports a woman’s right to choose with access to affordable birth control? Do they want a government that protects the rights of differing gender identifications, religions and nationalities? Do they want a government that will curb the rapacious greed of big corporations that, if allowed, would drill and frack without boundaries or regard?
It is my hope that our elders have also voted, understanding — with zero ambiguity — that, yes, our precious and hard-fought mandates of Social Security and Medicare are basic rights of American citizens and should not be stolen to provide more tax cuts for the rich by those who threaten to do so.
These past 21 months have been characterized by chaos, uncertainty and hate-mongering. Such repugnant views remain largely unopposed by the politicians in Washington, D.C., who are either too spineless to speak up for what is morally right, or too craven in their desires to advance their own agendas at the expense of this nation.
We are daily watching damage being done to this country and to the citizens our government is tasked to serve. Yes, that’s right. Serve. It is not the role of our elected officials to rule with an iron fist, to denigrate journalists as the “enemy of the people” or to encourage brown-shirt-thug tactics. Every single day that this is allowed to go unchecked marks a day of further erosion of the norms and values which we hold dear, norms and values necessary to keep in place for our democracy to function on behalf of its citizens.
Do we want to become a nation of worker bees with the wealthiest 1 percent calling all the shots? Do we want our elderly without a health care or Social Security safety net? Do we want our national parks to become simply one more area on a map in the corporate offices of the fossil fuel industry?
This mid-term election offers us the chance, and the choice, to restore civility and offer new ideas to the state of Oregon and Ashland. I do not believe it an overstatement to say that if we value life here as we have known it, then we all need to vote.
Complacency is no longer an option. If your ballot is still unmarked and undelivered, I urge you to exercise your right, for today is the last day.
Author, TV presenter and world traveler Susanne Severeid is an Ashland resident who enjoys making time for the important things in life — including mocha. Read more of her columns at dailytidings.com/lifestyle/mocha-musings. For more, go to www.susannesevereid.com. Email her at email@example.com.