By LaKeshia Myers
The Lenten season has always been an important time for me. It is a time after the winter holidays where my family and I can pause and reset ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually as we prepare for spring. In the religious context, lent is observed from Ash Wednesday through Good Friday and is used as a time of reflection, self-regulation and denial of one’s physical self as a means to replicate the account of Christ’s sacrificial journey in the desert for forty days. For many, it is as though the entire world has been forced to observe lent in 2020, because we have had to deal with the uncertainty that is COVID-19.
As Americans we are used to having freedom. It is one of the foundational words that is often used to describe American culture. We regularly exercise freedom as though it is woven into the fabric of our very being. We have the freedom to travel both domestically and abroad, the freedom to dress as we choose, socialize with whom we choose and worship as we choose.
However, we have been forced to give in to a virus that has forced the world to its literal knees. Travel has come to a virtual standstill, socialization has gone digital and physical togetherness has been abandoned to make way for “social distancing.”
This is our “new normal” as we continue to navigate the world under the threat of death and imminent disease. What an interesting time to observe Lent!
While our television news gives us around the clock coverage of coronavirus statistics, we have also borne witness to the breakdowns in our national, state, and local governments. Since the coronavirus has taken hold, we have seen poignant examples of elected officials decrying the virus as a hoax, others refusing to act out of self-interest and some operating from a basis of fear and ill-preparation. There have also been those who have taken the lead and have proven themselves to be tactical, organized and making every provision necessary to prepare for the worst while instructing the public on how they can best remain safe.
In Wisconsin, we have had to deal with a hodgepodge of governmental responses; especially as it pertains to our April 7 election. While many called for our governor to postpone our election, many did not realize he does not have the authority to do so. It would have taken action by our state legislature—a body that is led in both chambers by the Republican party—to make this occur. This was not something that was ever likely to happen. Remember, it was the Assembly Speaker who said after the 2018 gubernatorial election, “If you took Madison and Milwaukee out of the state election formula, we would have a clear majority — we would have all five constitutional officers, and we would probably have many more seats in the Legislature.” So, there was never any doubt that our election would be postponed; when Milwaukee and Madison don’t participate Republicans win more.
This is why we must be diligent and steadfast when it comes to voting on April 7. Our literal lives depend on it. I am encouraging everyone to exercise their right to vote. Whether you choose to take part in drive-up early voting available through April 5 at the Zeidler Municipal Building, 841. N. Broadway, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday – Sunday. Or should you choose to vote on election day (April 7), please be sure you do your due diligence and make your voice heard.
Gil Scott Heron said, “The revolution WILL put you in the driver’s seat; The revolution will not be televised; will not be televised, will not be televised; The revolution will be no re-run brothers; The revolution will be live!”