PeerSpirit Newsletter – The Owl and the Tree
September 2022

 

A Call to Attention – the Power of Your Vote

by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea

Light is returning even though this is the darkest hour
No one can hold back the dawn/ Let’s keep it burning let’s keep the flame of hope alive
Make safe our journey through the storm/ One planet is turning on her path around the sun Earth mother is calling her children home.

Charlie Murphy lyrics and tune, sung with Jamie Sieber

It’s 5:00 AM. Dark. How we miss the lengthy days when we would each rise to savor summer hours. September is a portal time: new school year, but old garden, most plants harvested. And we, ourselves, mostly harvested and living in questions about how best to contribute at ages 73 and 76. Ann is radiant after back surgery and her relief from several years of sciatica pain. Christina sent her multi-year novel-writing project to her NY agent who loves it and they are designing the sales pitch and cycle.

It’s 6:00 AM. Still dark. Lights glow from two laptops as we read Heather Cox Richardson, and Robert Hubble, bringing their valuable perspectives to what is happening in the larger world of our country. And on Monday September 19, The Morning, from the New York Times begins with the sobering words: “Representative government faces its most serious threat in decades.”

Vivi and Christina seek the light of an Equinox fire

September is a shifting time. We are meant to look up, to look in, and to prepare for a colder season. Between now and Solstice, the United States faces challenging elections at every level from counties to Congress that will determine whether light will be returning at winter Solstice. Dark, indeed.

We have always voted—even when we were not thrilled with our choice of candidates, nor thrilled with initiatives on the ballot, nor with policies being proposed. Voting is an expression of engagement, a willingness to be counted, an essential rite of participation in any democratic organization from a homeowner’s association to the country. So, yes: we will vote this fall. We will read up on candidates and issues and make informed choices.

There are numerous volunteer opportunities for wider civic action in this election. Though we are not voting in what is considered a “swing state” this year, there are important elections locally and statewide for us to learn about and be active in. And, as always, there are opportunities to assist in citizen participation in other states. Don’t wait to get involved. Mail-in ballots have already been sent out in many states. By traditional Election Day (November 8) many elections in the country will already be decided.

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of organizations that are encouraging citizen involvement in these and all elections. A few of our favorite organizations (and friends we greatly respect) are:

  • Common Power https://commonpower.org Two strengths of this organization are that they support young people of color in leadership roles and they partner with effective state and locally-based organizations
  • Vote Forward https://votefwd.org Writing letters to help boost voter turnout
  • Post Cards to Voters https://postcardstovoters.org This group requires a process to become an approved writer before receiving a list of addresses to write.
  • League of Women Voters https://www.lwv.org This ongoing organization hosts local candidate conversations.
  • Local/county Republican or Democratic party offices. There are many, many opportunities for phone banking, doorbelling, and voter registration help.

It can be hard to hang onto hope when so much seems to be going awry. The wheels of justice turn slow, and the engines of injustice race fast. The media hypes fear at every turn. There is always a slant to the news—that’s why we must keep thinking things through, stay in dialogue, support thoughtful responses even in times of increasing volatility. And in these coming months, we are going to remind each other that “hope is a verb.” To have hope for our cities, our counties, our states, our nations, requires action to keep the flame of hope alive.

Act.

Vote.

Persist.