September 26, 2016

This is about So Much More than Voting.


Does this election season have you down?

You’re not alone.

Personally, I’ve been saddened by the direction and divisiveness of this election.

I am a green-leaning environmental activist who has been doing what I can to stop extreme energy projects like nuclear power, tar sands and fracked gas since early 2009. I’ve been told that if I’m not with her, then I’m a bigoted misogynist like him.

It doesn’t help that the Clintons live less than a mile from my home, I’m surrounded by what could easily be the highest density of Hillary enthusiasts in the country. In my community, those of us Berners who support Jill Stein keep a low profile and quietly gather, as if in a support group.

This year’s political discussions don’t feel as though they are of any benefit to the world, they are quite the opposite.

Sadly, most of the media time is devoted to “he said” or “she said” and how they each responded to the trash talk of one another. I stopped watching this negative, circular rehash a while ago. I found that it was a drain on my physical or mental health to be a spectator to the media’s nasty dumpster fire coverage. I’m feeling anticipatory grief because if either of these top two candidates wins the White House, we will face serious challenges locally and nationally.

Neither Mrs. C or Mr. T seem to be focused on issues that directly impact our health, safety and future.

Neither campaign is offering up any viable plans to fix crucial problems.

Big, huge, issues, like:

The environment. Climate chaos is on the rise due to our continued use of dirty energy. Coal is not “clean” and gas is not a “bridge fuel.” Both candidates are participating in outrageous forms of climate denial by supporting these fossil fuels. Since the TV news is brought to you by Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute, you won’t hear any meaningful discussion about coal, oil and gas over the airwaves. Climate change is not linear, it is moving forward exponentially. This is a serious concern that needs to be addressed.

The economy. We all know that wealth inequality continues, and the rich keep getting richer. Neither of the top two candidates are addressing poverty in our country.

Our healthcare system remains broken. In the current system, disease is profitable, health is not. Millions still have no access to healthcare.

Education. Skyrocketing college tuition rates are overloading students with record rates of debt.

Our pay to play political system. Money talks loudly in our system, corporations have way more say than citizens. I can’t even keep up with the fast moving monetary merry-go-round between the Clinton foundation, the State Department and Mrs C’s campaign. Mr. T has similar skeletons in his closets.

Endless wars have destroyed many countries in the last 20 years, rendering them into dead zones, causing millions of refuges. It seems like we’ll be facing more war in the years ahead with either one of these top candidates. War is profitable in the current system, peace is not.

Look around, look around at how
Lucky we are to be alive right now!
~ The Schuyler Sisters—Lin-Manuel Miranda

Here’s the good news. We have a huge opportunity at this very moment in history—there is a revolution happening. People are waking up, and it’s not just the millennials.

We are starting to organize and to leverage solutions for a healthier, more livable planet. We are understanding the intersectionality between poverty, violence, environmental destruction, racism and more.

If we are unable to force the mainstream presidential candidates to address what is important to us, then I for one am going to ignore their childish tantrums, and keep working on building a better future. There is so much more to do than to flip a lever on one day in November. Each one of us can choose to get involved in any one of the issues listed above. Remember, action is the antidote to despair.

What are you going to do today to make the world a better place?

It’s up to us. Real change comes from the ground up. From us! This is about so much more than voting.


Author: Susan Rubin

Image: Author’s Own

Editor: Caitlin Oriel

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