By Senator Lena C. Taylor
The 2016 presidential election was decided by 77 electoral votes. While that may seem like a lot, the devil is in the details. Upon further review, we now know that seven electors ignored the wishes of their state’s party and voted for someone else. Electoral votes were cast for Faith Spotted Eagle, who is an Indigenous leader, Bernie Sanders, Colin Powell, John Kasich and others. As for the remaining 70 electoral votes, well that’s another story. All said, the numbers that most voters remember is a figure somewhere between 73,000 – 79,000. Those numbers represent the ballots Trump amassed in three states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, to squeak out a win.
In the nearly four years that have passed, the 2016 outcome has proved consequential. Disrespect and disregard are encouraged at the highest levels of government. Bending the rules and breaking the will of principled men has become the norm. Truth is seen as sport, manipulated to justify an end. Promises are spoken to be broken and shame is reserved for someone else.
We have been promised health care replacement plans, that have not materialized in nearly 12 years. We learned that the hands of American leaders were raised in support of abducting children from immigrant parents. We were told that everything was fine, when COVID-19 was allowed to have our countrymen lay alone and dying. We have neighbors who are losing everything because the winner of the 2016 presidential election is okay with making the rest of us losers. Losing jobs, homes and health care because of incompetence, mismanagement or indifference.
We have been convinced to distrust each other, our democracy and science. Selfishness is peddled as the American way, where individual needs outweigh the collective good. Hate has been normalized, guns in state houses welcomed and threats to legislators are incorporated into rally chants. We have spent the last several years in an alternate reality, where military service is mocked, POW’s are made fun of and flag-hugging citizens cheer for the perpetrator of those acts. Instead of “Make America Great Again, many of us hope to “Make America Sane Again.”
The road to sanity and restored respect, within our nation and around the world, starts with a vote. Civility, tolerance and the ability to live peacefully within our borders, starts with a vote. True regard for those that serve this nation, risking limb or life in our military, starts with a vote. A responsible national plan to contain and stop COVID-19 starts with a vote. The ability to save our economy, help small business, stabilize our educational institutions and protect the health of this nation, starts with a vote. And it is with that understanding, that we must all make a plan to vote. While 6.6 million Americans have already cast votes for the upcoming Nov. 3 election, we have more work to do. We can’t be deterred, unprepared or allow anything to prevent us from making our voices heard.
If you haven’t done so, make a plan to vote now by visiting https://myvote.wi.gov.