First Monday of early voting. After breast cancer surgery at the end of August, the first place I drove to was the early voting location on Miller Avenue. Anxious to drop off my mail-in ballot although I should have felt confident to mail it through our U.S. Post Office. It had a first-class stamp on it. The seat belt was uncomfortable. The fear of exposing my body to the COVID-19 virus was outweighed by the fear of my vote not being counted. More than 207,000 fellow Americans have died from COVID-19. We can put a stop to the spread of the virus by voting for a responsible executive branch. We must decide to protect each other by wearing effective face masks and keeping 6-feet apart. We cannot allow private militia groups like the “Proud Boys” to intimidate voters. I thought that only happens in Haiti and Belarus.
“The Proud Boys” are a white supremacist extreme militia who threaten civil servants and the people’s right to peacefully vote and protest. They have been banned from Facebook and Twitter for racist calls to violence. Watching the current president ask his supporters to “watch over” people who vote during the first presidential debate was chilling. We have rules to protect the privacy of voters and protect people from vigilantes. Our registered voters and patriotic volunteers young and old should not have their health or mental well-being jeopardized by extreme anxiety. The courts banned efforts like this in the South for decades. Only 18 months ago, the ban was lifted since we supposedly don’t need it anymore.
Olivia Troye, the COVID-19 task force lead, indicates that the president has a “flat-out disregard for human life.” Elizabeth Neumann, a top official of homeland security, is warning the public to the real dangers of white supremacy. She said: “Trump shifted the debate to a call for violence and hatred.” Kathleen Belew, a historian of white power movements and professor at the University of Chicago, said Trump’s remark to “stand by” was a green light and “catastrophic.” The Oklahoma City bombing was orchestrated by Timothy McVeigh of the white power movement.
We must all take our vote as seriously as the courageous women who were caged at Lorton State Prison and force fed for demanding the right to vote. It has only been 100 years that women have had the right to vote. Honor their legacy by voting early.