Game seasons for the NBA, MLB and NFL may be at risk in what history will remember as “The 2020 Pandemic”; however, the biggest game of all is underway — the contest for who will lead a nation of 320 million people into the future. Election 2020, one of the most highly anticipated and consequential presidential elections in American history, is just weeks away.
Democrats and Republicans will host the nation’s first virtual conventions these next several weeks in what promises to be a fiercely contested election. Our COVID-19-crippled nation will also be at (uncivil) war for the next 80 days with each side mustering all the words of persuasion, inspiration, media attention, popularity and money they can. More Americans will find their way to the mailbox or polling booths than ever before and then, sometime around November 4, the votes will be counted. There will likely be a “winner” and a “loser.”
As the world watches, our allies, enemies and those who are undecided will also voice their opinions about whether America has won or lost the election. Will our democracy emerge victorious, hopeful and poised to regain some of its footing in the world? Or will we be seen as an even more fragmented, polarized, cynical and chaotic version of ourselves?
No matter who wins the election, we Americans will lose if we go about the business of electing our next president acting like cult members, morons, catastrophic flame throwers, and/or gangsters.
Here are several things you can do to ensure that America as a whole will win.
This is perhaps the most important thing you can do as a citizen — and there are a several reasons why. You are blessed to live in this country. For better or worse, this is where you live. Your nation is counting on you to vote and it’s your responsibility to do so. Some of us talk ourselves into sitting it out, believing our vote doesn’t matter. We may think “What’s the use?” because we live in a red or blue state, wanted Bernie or Elizabeth to win or think that trash talking the election is the only answer. Make sure you’re registered to vote; and know how, where and when to do so. If necessary, call your local election office to find out.
2. Vote for America
Vote your heart and conscience. Even if you’ve already made up your mind about who you’re going to vote for; even if you belong to a political party and get most of your news from the channel that is aligned with that side; and even if you can justify your decision based on something you’ve been brainwashed to fear, or the stock market, step back for a moment of brutally honesty and a healthy gut check. Search your soul to determine which candidates best represent your values, our nation’s best interests and your children/grandchildren’s safest and best possible future. Voting for America means voting for those who best ensure that you, your family and community have the safety, justice, prosperity and peace we all desire.
3. Pledge to Do Whatever You Can to Strengthen Our Nation After the Election
Don’t be a sore loser and tell everybody you’re going to move to Canada, Australia or New Zealand because our country is going to hell. If you said four or eight years ago that the country couldn’t survive the guy that was just elected and you were going to leave, you would have been mistaken. Republicans said we couldn’t survive Obama. Democrats said we couldn’t survive Trump. We only can’t survive that which we don’t deal with collectively as a people. Don’t give up on America! Continue to fight diligently for what you believe, accepting that the large majority of Americans who voted for the other guys also love this country. They may have views that are radically different from yours, but they also want what is best for our nation. Stay the course!
4. Educate Yourself About the Root Causes of Division in Our Nation
I strongly recommend Ben Rekhi’s soon-to-be-released documentary film, The Reunited States of America, based on Mark Gerzon’s breakthrough book about what connects us as Americans and how to rebuild our nation by replacing polarization and hatred with and compassion and unity.
5. Find the Common Ground on Which We Can Build a Better America
Build bridges of understanding, compassion, respect, justice, and equality, as articulated in the American Constitution. Talk with your neighbors, family members, friends, and coworkers in respectful tones rather than allowing social media to leave you with a one-dimensional view. Do what you can to strengthen the infrastructure of your neighborhood, community, family, and organizations, so that America becomes the better version of itself on every level.
If ever our country needed a selfless expression of loyalty, faith and support, it is now. Each one of us is accountable. And each one of us can make a difference. We are either part of the problem — perpetuating self-righteousness, hatred, darkness and division — or part of the solution shining a light on our better angels and lifting one another and our nation to greater heights. America wins when we decide to become the best versions of ourselves.