Today is All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, as we normally call it. It is a supposedly scary time, when ghosts and goblins run amuck, horror movies prey on our deepest fears, and people choose to be frightened through haunted houses or scary parties.
But while the horrors of Halloween are in some sense manufactured, there is a true fear that is in the air, a real terror that is at our doorstep. There is something to be truly frightened of this Halloween season, and that is the prospect of significant numbers of Americans not participating in this year’s Midterm elections. The outcome of the thousands of national, state, and local elections will determine the future and direction of the United States for years to come. While all elections are important, this year, our very concept of government, our ideas of laws and justice, our very concept of democracy, is on the ballot.
This election is more than simply deciding which political party has the best fiscal policy, or whose views on education or international affairs you agree with. In this election, we will have to decide what it means to be an American. We will have to decide who gets to benefit from all the blessings and opportunities this country has to offer. We must decide if the idea of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” applies to all who reside here, regardless of where they come from. Do we have the right to privacy? Are we free to make our own decisions regarding our health? Do we have the right to peacefully protest? Do our children have the right to read books that are found in their school libraries that reflect their worldview and experiences? These and other fundamental issues will be decided by the politicians we elect on November 8th.
Often times when we vote, we may select people from one particular party, or we are swayed by the negative, often inaccurate political ads that we see and hear on TV, radio, and social media. But I encourage all of you to look up each candidate and review their platforms to see if their views align with yours. For example, inflation is a major issue that is on the minds of most Americans right now, but do the candidates have a solid plan to address it?
Too many Americans are disengaged by the political process, and that is truly frightening. They are disenchanted and disappointed by politicians in the past, but what they fail to realize is how truly powerful they are with the power of their vote. Yes, we may be disappointed by how politicians have failed to address our needs, but the vote is one of our most important remedies. We can vote for new policies. We can vote for a new direction. And voting isn’t the only power we have. We have the power to hold those politicians that we elect accountable. Even after elections are over, we can go to government meetings, participate in town halls, write to our elected officials, and join organizations that fight for our rights.
This election, home-grown terrorists are doing their best to make our sacred right, the right to vote, something we should be afraid of. In some states, they are attempting to intimidate voters from casting their votes. The made-up monsters of Hollywood have become real. As Americans, we cannot let these terrorists win. If you are afraid, bring a friend with you to vote. Call your local Board of Elections or the police if you feel you are being intimidated or bullied out of voting. Whatever you do, don’t give up your right to vote. Early voting has begun in North Carolina and will continue until this Saturday, November 5th at 3:00 p.m.
Horror and fear rely on people not recognizing their power. Voting should be joyful, liberating, and satisfying. Encourage all your friends and family to vote, your neighbors, your co-workers, your faith-based community, and all of your social network. We cannot allow America to turn into a place where we live in a constant state of fear, where we are terrorized on a day-to-day basis, a place where the joys and freedoms we have enjoyed for the last fifty years become nothing but a memory. We have the power to change the world. Vote by November 8, 2022.
- Dr. Erin H. Moore is the Executive Director of the Center for Racial and Social Justice at Shaw University