My nine-year-old son was talking a mile a minute when he walked off the bus the other day. Animated, fidgety, he had stories from his day to share; but mostly he wanted to talk about choices in life. He is as likely to discuss philosophy as he is Spiderman.
He finished his snack and found me in my bedroom, about to take a class on my cycling bike. I didn’t have to say much because Henry has a great deal to say himself.
“You know choices are really important. I was talking to my friends at school about making choices. You should make good choices in life. If you make bad choices, you can lose everything—your family, your house, your job.”
Of course, I agreed.
“Sometimes the good choices are the hard choices,” he continued. “Sometimes it feels bad to make good choices.”
Taken aback, and moved, by his insight, again, I agreed.
“But you have to feel good about who you are. And your choices. I’m really happy with who I am.”
“I’m happy with who you are too, Henry,” I said.
“Okay.” He smiled. “Good talk.” And he walked out of my bedroom.
I never imagined I would live in a time when I truly wondered if people around my city, my neighborhood could be Nazi sympathizers. I did not imagine so many Americans would really vote for a racist in 2016; and I thought certainly by now all eyes would have been opened to the violence and illogical, celebrated extremism of the past two years.
Yet there are people who will choose fascism over democracy tomorrow (or will choose to not vote at all), who will choose to support an administration that mocks, traumatizes, and openly disdains as overall policy; some Americans will vote with admiration for an administration that flaunted a fake rabbi and prayed for its own party after the murder of Jews in their synagogue.
I know the sad and real possibilities of who may be around me.
Not everyone voting in support of this administration and its policies will vote for violence against Jews and people of color and Muslims and immigrants. But they will not reject it. And history is clear on where that leads.
I wanted to write something before the election about the importance of voting tomorrow. I tried to write and not sound so angry and desperate; I thought I could achieve a more neutral tone while making my points. It is impossible to plead for democracy and rail against bigotry and sound neutral. And in times like these, one should not feel obligated or wish to; our country will be saved with the raising of sane, compassionate, impassioned voices.
We must use our voice tomorrow in the most powerful of ways; we must make good choices–or we may lose everything. We must get to the polls and vote as Americans, beyond party, as if lives are on the line, our freedom in jeopardy; we must vote as if it will be our last free vote.