I’ve been wrestling with the idea of voting. If you want one candidate to win, it seems counterintuitive to urge those supporting a different candidate to get out and vote, too. Republicans in North Carolina and Florida certainly do their best to suppress the vote in African American communities. On a cold, calculating scale, that appears sensible. Prevent your opponent’s voters from voting and you win. In reality, it is incredibly damaging to democracy and to the very concept of America.
I was starting to think that encouraging everyone to vote, even Trump voters, was wrong-headed. I don’t want Trump as president so why would I want his voters to get out and vote? The answer is that people need to be, and feel, part of the process. America is what it is because a lot of people choose to share the same belief. America only works if we believe in it. Not voting is not participating which leads inevitably to a sense of resentment which can easily become hostility.
While it’s difficult for me to say this, I do want every racist, misogynist, bigot, and any other malcontent to get out and vote. I want them to take part in the process, and hopefully, lose. They need to know that they participated and that their ideas were rejected. That in turn also serves to reinforce the power of voting for those who believe in the highest ideals of America.
Democracy works if we believe in it. That means everyone, no matter how angelic or vile, must vote.