By Senator Lena C. Taylor
Most of us are on election overload right now. Mailboxes have been inundated with campaign literature. Candidate’s faces, messages, and promises stalk our every move. No matter where we turn, television, computer or cell phone, they will find us. Social media doesn’t feel social and online shopping isn’t worth all the pop-up ads right now. And before you say it, allow me…. Yes, I’ve got some nerve! However, this all feels very different.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, “political spending on the 2022 midterm elections will shatter records at the state and federal levels”. Estimated spending, on this midterm election, could reach $17 billion after it’s all said and done. In fact the last time we saw this kind of spending was in 2018, when midterm spending hit $14 billion dollars.
All of that money is being used to grab our attention, move persuadable voters, and motivate occasional voters to show up at the polls. Early reports of voter turnout around the country indicates that it may be money well spent. Despite false claims of voter fraud and increased difficulties in registering to vote, decreased access to polling locations and ease of the process, determined early voters are showing up in droves. Citizens, with beliefs tightly held in hand, are showing up looking for change. Many believe their vote is their ticket to transformation.
Constituents need to understand that their vote is just the being of achieving accountable government. When we awake on November 9th, the real work begins. The effort to create a representative and responsive government requires us to do more than just show up and vote. Ongoing and sustained resident involvement is necessary. Whether it’s attending school board meetings, neighborhood association discussions, or making your way to a legislator’s office, residents must understand that Election Day is the first step.
Dr. Martin Luther King said ““One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and it’s fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”
Wait, was Dr. King talking about being “woke” in the 60’s? Well it means the same thing today, that it did back then. Stay alert as a voter, be engaged as a citizen, and remain aware of the policies and decisions that are being made on your behalf. Strong headwinds are coming our way.
In addition to inflation, public safety, reproductive freedom, affirmative action in higher education, and voting rights, democracy is also on the ballot. The midterms are a practice run for the 2024 presidential election. Citizens must set the tone for how we will proceed, and this election is just the beginning.