It seems like an annual ritual, we take a moment to reflect, and then wonder where the year went. Not that many weeks ago I was enjoying a physically distanced camping trip with friends, and now I am looking at pictures of this year’s Liberty Hunt successes. For a while there I thought Covid-19 would cause the year to drag on, but it seems as if all the wishing that 2020 would be over with has worked, autumn is just about here.
The beginning of the fall season also signals that it is once again time to put our focus on elections. While it would be typical for me to hop on my soapbox and declare that we as the working class, as Unionists, should be laser focused on politics every month, I know that like many other topics, it will be an argument for naught. Though, it would be easier to abandon the lecture if it were not for the fact that our political system is so integral to our everyday lives. More so as Unionists because we all know the famous words from Walter Reuther, “There’s a direct relationship between the ballot box and the bread box, and what the union fights for and wins at the bargaining table can be taken away in the legislative halls.” It is frustrating to see brothers and sisters in the workplace, in leadership, and even in organizing, fighting the good fight just to then go vote against ourselves.
The pundits and polls say we as Americans are more divided, more dug in, than ever before. While I typically ignore most of the shouting on social media and opinion news outlets, I am keeping a tab on this report, because it is telling us about our behavior as a society. It tells us that regardless of the amount of time we spend encouraging each other to ignore the hype, ignore the red herring, we are not. It tells us that the calls to put your contract, your safety, and your financial wellbeing before those sensationalist topics, we are not. It tells us that no matter how many times we are told to not forget the lessons of the past, we seem more than willing to cruise right back into the Gilded Age. And no matter how many times we hear the call to be eternally vigilant and that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people, we find ourselves voting against our wellbeing as working-class Unionists.
So, this is the challenge, what do we do when everyone is dug in or too busy with themselves? The answer is… go vote! If it is true that a vast majority of us have our minds made up, then we must all fulfil our civic and UAW Constitutional duties to vote. Not so fast though, we cannot just take care of ourselves, we must get out there and activate the community. From now until November 3rd it must be our daily goal to get friends, family, and neighbors primed and ready to vote. Whether it’s in person voting or taking advantage of the improved absentee ballot system we Michiganders voted for in 2018, the responsibility is ours to make sure voter turnout smashes records. Also, consider volunteering as an election worker, because the fact remains that typical election workers are of the age which makes them more susceptible to the Covid-19 virus. Luckily for many of us, we have contractually bargained days off for election day. Let’s Get Out the Vote!