Just Do It

The time is at hand. Tomorrow, if you live in the States and just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past six months, is midterm election day.

 

If you haven’t already voted by mail as we all do here in Napa County, or if you’ve sent in your absentee ballot, then good on you. If not . . .

 

. . . Stop reading right now and find out where your polling place is and make a plan for tomorrow. If you can’t get to the polls, I promise you there will be a local volunteer who will provide transportation. Not registered? Don’t assume it’s too late: your state may be among the ones that could allow you to register on Election Day itself and vote with a provisional ballot, which is 100% better than not voting at all. The New York Times has a handy guide of voter registration rules for each state.

Actually,  I’m confident the people who read this blog take their obligations as citizens seriously, wherever they live. The struggle for many of us isn’t voting, it’s dealing with the crushing dread that election day elicits. Still feeling bludgeoned by the last time, many of us approach the voting booth like airplane crash survivors boarding their next flight.

theartofmanliness.com

 

So, dear reader, I advise taking all necessary precautions to see that you get through the day in reasonable shape. Call this my election day survival guide.

Once you have voted, be kind to yourself. Take care to titrate your dosage of TV news and election returns. I suggest no more than five minutes every two hours, and nothing within one hour of bedtime. Much better to Netflix The Haunting of Hill House  instead. You’ll sleep better, and you will need all your reserves to deal with the day-after analyses that will be coming at you like a blizzard from pundits who have spent the past weeks avoiding predictions and are now eager to reveal  their brilliant hindsight.

Go about your usual routine as best you can. This is a good day to enjoy your favorite comfort foods; for me, that will mean a humble but satisfying repast of tomato-basil soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

With an adult beverage. This is not the day to be a teetotaler. Just don’t overdo it.

Throughout the day, take short meditation breaks. Sit somewhere peaceful, surrounded by nature if at all possible. Pay attention to your breath and not to your Twitter feed. In fact I encourage you to avoid social media altogether, with the exception of cute kitten videos, which you are free to consume as needed. 

Doesn’t that feel better?

All joking aside, it takes guts to participate in the political process on any level these days. But if we don’t, we could lose the opportunity altogether. It’s  horrifying what’s happening already in Georgia and North Dakota.

One of the very few upsides to the current ugliness of our political landscape is that it shatters our illusions, such as the assumption that our ability to vote is guaranteed, a done deal. If we can vote, we must. No matter what.

 

So thank you for getting out there and doing your duty, and if you have any tips for managing political angst, please share them. We are all in this together.

5 Replies to “Just Do It”

  1. Anni

    We always vote in person. We like to watch our ballots be fed into the collection box, certain that our votes get counted. We also want to personally thank the poll workers, usually neighbors. Jarion and Mom have both worked as poll workers, Mom for many years as a precinct captain. It is also an opportunity to greet friends and neighbors, pat a few dogs, and appreciate all we have, while understanding the importance of our participation in the democratic experiment that is the United States of America.

    Reply
    • Jan M Flyn

      You know, I really miss the whole going-to-the-polls on election day experience. Voting by mail is convenient, but it does lack the patriotic, community-building zeal of doing things the traditional way. And then there is always the possibility of things getting lost in the mail, even if slim.

      Reply
  2. Laurie

    Here in PA, unless you specifically request an absentee ballot, you must vote at the polls on election day. So 20th century! I am still suffering PTSD from the 2016 election, but I will certainly make the 1-mile trek to my local fire station to cast my vote. If only I could convince more 18 – 25-year-olds to do the same thing! I am anticipating needing some of your good California wine to get me through the day. I am, buy the way, volunteering at our grass-roots phone bank for 2 hours tomorrow in an effort to get out the vote! I am looking forward to trying to shame some young folks into voting! 😉

    Reply
    • Jan M Flyn

      You know, I really miss the whole going-to-the-polls on election day experience. Voting by mail is convenient, but it does lack the patriotic, community-building zeal of doing things the traditional way. And then there is always the possibility of things getting lost in the mail, even if slim.

      Reply

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