I recently posted much of an editorial by the editor-in-chief of the “Sierra” magazine who spoke with conviction about the seriousness of the upcoming election. In the same issue of that magazine (September/October 2016) Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club had an equally compelling editorial, which I shall copy in part below:
“. . . American democracy is under attack.
We’ve seen unregulated campaign funding corrode our political process. Legislatures are mired in bitter, partisan deadlock. We’ve watched Republican leaders tout voting restrictions as a mechanism to ensure electoral victory, while millions (often in low-income neighborhoods) wait for hours in line to vote. And — most incredible of all — the party whose very first nominee for president was Abraham Lincoln has now chosen an unapologetically misogynist racist to be its standard bearer. Today, Lincoln’s first inaugural address and its appeal to ‘the better angels of our nature’ would be met with sneering tweets.
“How does this affect the environment? Profoundly. President Donald Trump would be the worst setback for the environmental movement since . . .well, I can’t think of anything that compares. For those who remember the 80s, Trump makes James Watt look like Johnny Appleseed. If you care about the environment, our nation, or the future of the planet, this presidential election will be your most important vote ever.
“And yet, embattled though our democracy may be, I’m optimistic about its future. That’s because American politics and American democracy are not the same thing. One may yet save the other.
“In 1943 the great New Yorker essayist E.B. White . . .wrote ‘[democracy] is the line that forms on the right. It is the don’t in don’t shove. It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles; it is the dent in the high hat. Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half the people are right more than half the time.’
“What White was getting at, I think, is that our democracy is more than a system of governance devised by a fractious committee of rebellious colonists. Our democracy has always been shaped by our national character. It encompasses our rejection of pretension, our common decency, our fierce belief in fair play, and our stubborn optimism. . . .
“. . . . There’s another reason to be optimistic. The only way our democracy could truly fail is if we lose our faith in the future. Giving up hope only feeds the darkness. If failure’s not an option — and it isn’t — then neither is pessimism.”
Wise words. And his point that our vote in this presidential election is the most important vote we will ever cast is especially well stated. As Bernie Sanders has said repeatedly, this is NOT the year to think about reform. Much as that is needed, the defeat of a candidate who has repeatedly demonstrated his gross incompetence and ignorance is the top priority for anyone who cares about this country and not just about themselves. It cannot be stressed too much: our choice this November is between sanity and insanity.