An Election Day That Is Critical and Inconsequential

Nobody knows what’s going to happen, today, and it seems that most of those making predictions are mainly giving explanations for why what they hope happens will, in fact, happen. Trump supporters are looking at increased support among minority groups and the plainly displayed enthusiasm across the country. Biden supporters (or, more accurately, Trump opponents) are saying how the president is going to lose because he didn’t do enough to draw their votes. (Of course, having watched them over four years, one suspects there was actually nothing at all he could have done to successfully do so.)

Whatever happens, it remains unbelievable that people really want government this big, making elections this important. The word, “big,” is used in two senses, here.  Our government is big as in invasive and extremely powerful.  This fact makes it a matter of critical importance whether the people at the head of it agree or disagree with you.  We’re not merely electing managers or people to make decisions about a limited number of shared concerns.  We’re electing people who will determine whether or not — and how — to tell you what you can and cannot buy, sell, do, say, and (increasingly) believe.

This leads into the second sense of “big,” as in breadth.  There was a time when Texas could be Texas and California could be California. Increasingly, we’re being forced to choose.  People who believe it is important for the government to tell you to do or not to do a particular thing are apt to think it is important for government to tell people everywhere to do or not to do that particular thing.  Thus, every concern becomes a national concern.

With all of the above said, however, the sheer reality of the concern suggests one way in which it doesn’t really matter who wins today.  Economically and with respect to our short-term rights, yes, the election matters a great deal.  But even victories for freedom this time will be fleeting if we don’t start organizing and educating.  Whoever loses this battle, ignorance and tribalism are winning the war, and that is something we must remedy.

Even here in deep-blue Rhode Island, we can’t give up (if the election goes one way) or be complacent (if it goes the other way).  The civic disease is spreading quickly, and it is best fought locally, and it is arguably best fought where it is strongest.  We have to get like-minded people active and working together, and we have to get unlike-minded people thinking about what they believe and understanding why we think it is incorrect.  We have no other option.  Everything else is just buying time.

In the meantime: Go vote!


Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?

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