Listening to the White House occupant talk about how the election “will be rigged” if “universal mail-in voting” is allowed is so wrong that it is ludicrous.
People – most especially elderly white people and men and women serving in the military – have historically voted absentee. Black people have historically chosen not to submit absentee ballots because of the hard-fought fight to get the right to vote and because of general distrust of the system which for so long kept them from the polls. Republicans/Conservatives have, on the other hand, benefitted greatly politically in spite of or maybe because of their submitting absentee ballots. (https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2020/0803/Distrust-haunts-Black-US-voters-Go-vote-or-use-mail-in-ballots) (https://www.npr.org/2020/04/11/831978099/even-as-trump-denounces-vote-by-mail-gop-in-florida-and-elsewhere-relies-on-it)
This president has certainly done a lot of projecting; so many times when he says something will happen “if” someone else is in office, or “if” someone else had been elected, it has turned out that what he is decrying is being done or has been done by his own administration. As an example, he has said that the country will not be safe if Biden is elected, when it has been his administration that has sent secret police into cities where people are protesting with no way to hold them accountable, relying on tactics that are widely used by authoritarian countries.
We all know his strategy. He specializes in calling people names, playing the race card at every turn, and lying about everything.
But what he is doing now is particularly heinous and disturbing. Even as he rails against states allowing all people to vote by mail if they choose because of the coronavirus, saying such policies will ensure wide and deep voter fraud, he is himself rigging the election – in his favor – by attacking and working to destroy the United States Postal Service
I was among the many who were appalled at pictures showing trucks taking mailboxes away – to somewhere – after they had been lifted from public outdoor spaces. (https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2020/08/usps-removes-mailboxes-in-portland-and-eugene-cites-declining-mail-volume.html), although, because of public objections, the administration has said it will stop removing them until after the election. (https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/14/politics/usps-removes-letter-collection-boxes-reduces-post-office-operating-hours/index.html)
The new postmaster general, a major donor to the Trump campaign, has authorized the removal of mail sorting machines and is cutting down overtime hours for postal employees. An example of what happened in Kansas is emblematic of what is happening in other states. (https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article244967820.html)
The result of these shenanigans is that people are becoming worried about and afraid of voting. Many people – myself included – are not about to mail their ballots in, but will opt to find a ballot box into which to drop it, but even at that, they are not sure that their ballot will be counted. Some ballot boxes are being removed; in Ohio, Secretary of State Frank LaRose ordered that there can be just one ballot box in each county, his response to the request that the counties be allowed to install more ballot boxes in light of the post office fiasco. (https://www.cleveland.com/open/2020/08/ohio-secretary-of-state-frank-larose-no-extra-ballot-drop-boxes-for-november-election.html)
It is said that organized people can beat organized money, and if ever there was a time for people to organize, it is now. It is clear that the election is being rigged right before our eyes, with a spirit of arrogance that is as maddening as it is real. There is a need for people to register, yes, but also a need for people to organize in their communities to figure out how to beat the powers and principalities that are working to thwart the gains made in voting rights over the last 50 years. Tellingly, Larry Kudlow, economic advisor to the federal administration, said this week that “voting rights is a liberal, left-wing list.” Kudlow said that “voting rights is not our thing. (https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/kudlow-white-house-voting-rights-election-2020-1044221/)
But it is the thing of a people who have been fighting for the right to vote ever since the end of the Civil War. If there is one thing we as Black Christians like to quote, it is the scripture found in the Book of Isaiah, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment, you shall condemn.”
It is time to organize as we have never organized before – not just black people, but all people who are not wealthy, white, and too often, Protestant and male.
Americans have to stop denying what we are seeing before our very eyes – a president and a group of wealthy men who care so little about the democracy and the people who have made them wealthy that they dare obstruct our right to vote.
Many of the ancestors are crying out the words that the late Rep. Elijah Cummings said his mother said on her dying bed, “Don’t let them take away our right to vote.”
So let it be said. So let it be done.
A candid observation…