Tomorrow, we’ll vote on local ballot measures, levies, and representatives that will have a direct and meaningful impact on our lives. Some of these issues will pass or fail by a just a few votes, and our voices are loudest at the local level. Thousands of people who don’t vote will see a local result they could have influenced, and perhaps they’ll learn a valuable lesson.
Colorado could end up with single payer, several states could legalize cannabis, my city could replace our crumbling schools. The candidates we elect could create the type of Congress needed to raise minimum wage and make public college tuition debt-free for working class young adults. Or not. So yeah, you could say this election is pretty important.
And of course, we’re also reluctantly choosing our next president tomorrow, which should remind you once again how important primary voting was, and why more of us need to participate in that leg of the process.
However, what happens on Wednesday as the dust settles? One Facebook user recently noted that she “can’t wait to get back to taking pictures of my meals and not talking about politics again for another four years.” Quite a few folks seem to agree with the sentiment. As soon as their team either wins or loses, it’s off to “real life” until the next election game show comes to town. After all, they’re “burnt out on politics.”
It’s an understandable view. It has been a long and acrimonious season and — while it seems there will be some major progressive successes tomorrow — the presidential results won’t please anyone. There’s a certain “light at the end of the tunnel” quality to knowing we’re almost done with Clinton’s condescension, Trump’s bigotry, and the sideshow antics of two third-party candidates just struggling to get some airtime — not to mention the irate rants of their biggest detractors — and we’re all going to need a deep breath before we get back to the task at hand.
And what’s the task at hand after we watch tomorrow’s results? Immediately launching a grassroots effort to hold our next president and Congress accountable to passing every single line of the Democratic Party platform, rejecting the TPP, and ending fracking. If that doesn’t happen, identifying and campaigning for our next progressive champion in the 2020 primaries… even if Clinton wins and runs for reelection. I’m looking forward to MORE political discourse and action, not less, but at least now we can get back to focusing on goals instead of candidates.
Besides, it’s easy to get angry at a candidate with all their flaws, but it’s much more difficult to get angry at the idea of wanting to stop the sale of a beloved national park to energy companies for fracking, for example. And when it comes to the war of ideas, progressives are just getting started.