As we move toward the November 2022 elections, we find that more than a third of the electorate live in a fantasy world that is being manipulated by politicians who care little for this country and much about their ability to remain in power.  We also find that “religious factions” are jumping onboard this same train to manipulate their own adherents to believe things that have been proven again and again to be unquestionably false.

I’ve lived on this planet for almost 70 years, and I have never before seen such brazen efforts by those in power (not necessarily in office) to overtly preach a gospel of lies to followers they assume haven’t the intelligence to discern what is real from that which is not.  Do these citizens find in all this false rhetoric affirmation of their racial bigotry, their “righteous” misunderstanding of their savior’s ministry, their misguided beliefs about their right to weapons, their right to do whatever they want to do regardless of the impact on others?  I believe they find all of these.

Our political world of differences is no longer that.  We are at a time in the history of this nation in which we are defining our moral future, not our party affiliation.  We aren’t weighing fiscal conservatism against  government programs for the vulnerable in our culture, we are weighing in on whether this nation should be a white, male-centered, each person for themselves country, or a country that embraces our differences, that is peaceful, and that desires to use our wealth to make a positive difference in the world.

Since its inception, the word “united” has been anything but accurate in describing this country.  This is not a subjective assessment.  Even the most cursory look at our history speaks strongly to this.  A more in-depth examination only serves to reveal the extreme divisiveness that has defined us since the nation’s founding.  That has never changed, and it is unlikely that it ever will.

What that means is that, short of breaking up the “United” States and forming small countries based on ideological and moral beliefs (maybe not such a bad idea), all we can do is battle at the polls to see whose vision will be realized.  Even though the January 6th insurrection and the blatant efforts at voter suppression have made many question the power of our votes, they are all we have.

We cannot “unite” this country by prevailing in an election, but we can, at very least, make a statement about where our values lay for the majority of us.  That makes the November, 2022 elections of critical importance.  Those of us who believe our path as a nation is better served by affirming equal rights for all genders, all races, and all sexual orientations are in the majority, but this only makes a difference if we all vote.  Those of us who believe in single payer, universal  health care are in the majority, but that only makes a difference if we all vote.  Those of us who believe in gun laws that reduce the obscene level of gun violence in our country are in the majority, but that only makes a difference if we all vote.  Those of us who believe in facts, not in fantasy, are in the majority, but that only makes a difference if we all vote.

At both state and national levels, the politicians who carry the vote in the coming elections will define how we are seen by the rest of the world, at least for the immediate future.  All that we can do, ethically and nonviolently, to assure an outcome that supports our vision is to exercise our rights as voters.  It is more than vital that that we do so this November.

Dana Williams

Belfast