The big fear is that America’s checks and balances won’t be enough to stop authoritarianism. It’s up to us to stop it. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Be a superhero for your country: Vote!

http://sfexaminer.com/category/the-city/sf-news-columns/broke-ass-city/

Well here we are. The most important election of our lives is just a few days away and our country is tumbling towards chaos. Stress eaters are shoveling food in their faces, stress starvers are on hunger strike. The two years since Donald Trump was elected president have been harrowing, with the past couple weeks leading to a violent crescendo. It feels as if we are on the precipice of an evil we won’t be able to come back from. I really need a massage.

It is not alarmist to say that Trump and his lackeys are doing everything they can to lead our democracy into authoritarianism. When he speaks at rallies it’s like he’s playing the Greatest Hits of Fascism. Singling out ethnic groups like Muslims, Latino immigrants, and blacks, and telling his followers that these people are the root of their problems? Check! Undermining the entire journalistic establishment by calling anything critical of him “fake news”? That one is a classic! Threatening to use Executive Orders to change the Constitution? That went triple platinum!

Voting is the bare minimum

While the people who founded our country were incredibly flawed, one thing they did right was set up a system of check and balances in order to stop something like Trump from happening. And right now those checks and balances are creaking and wheezing under the strain being put on them. The big fear is that those safeguards won’t be enough to stop authoritarianism. Which means it’s up to us to stop it.

As I mentioned in my column a couple weeks ago, simply voting is not enough. It is the bare minimum. We can all be doing more to get contentious districts to swing left. You can go to SwingLeft.org and find out how to canvas, phone bank, text bank, help people get to the polls, donate money, and so much more. Because if we don’t, it will be our own faults that the Republicans keep the House and the Senate. Look I know everyone is busy, but saving our Democracy is better than watching whatever new Marvel show is on Netflix, because saving our Democracy makes us the superheroes!

Trump supporters,redirect your rage

Even though this is liberal San Francisco, I’ve seen the comments section on the Examiner’s website. I know there are some Trump supporters who read this paper and so I’d like to address them.

You have valid concerns. The system has let you down. The system has let all of us down. The people at the top keep getting richer while average working people stagnate or become poorer. Even if job numbers are up, wages are not and the dollar has less buying power than before. You’re anxious about your future and that of your family. Yes, I get it and I’m with you. Even though I’m on the left and you’re on the right we have so much more in common than the people in charge want us to believe.

Instead of being angry at the immigrant who is willing to work your job for less money, you should focus your rage at the boss who didn’t value you enough to keep you. The GOP has spent 40 years empowering these bosses by destroying the labor unions that previously kept wages high and fought for workers rights. These same people are giving tax breaks to the boss who gave your job to someone else, yet they’ve managed to put the blame on the other worker who is just trying to do the best for their family too. Immigrants aren’t taking your jobs, the bosses are, and the GOP is rewarding them for it. And every vote for them helps them squeeze you even more.

Fuel the Blue Wave

I do believe that there are some sane and rational people who support Trump because they think his administration will benefit them economically, but are disheartened by his tactics and his messages. To those of you I say, “This is the most important moment of your life.” If there is no Blue Wave, if the Democrats don’t take over the House, things are going to get worse. Trump will see it as a mandate from the people and he will amp up the kind of hateful and dangerous rhetoric that I think inspired the recent mailing of pipe bombs and killings at a Pittsburgh synagogue. If you think those were bad, just wait, things will get much worse and attacks like these will happen far more often.

So everybody who reads this: please do more than just vote for progressive candidates. Spend these last few days before election day trying to get out as many voters as possible. You might just help save our country.

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com and join his awesome mailing list to stay up on the work he’s doing: http://bit.ly/BrokeAssList. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in the Examiner. US

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