Wednesday night I got a phone call from the 202 area code in the United States on my mobile phone. Since I don’t personally know anyone in Washington DC, my first thought was that someone in the current fascist regime has finally got round to persecuting me for my online anti-Trump activism, such as it is. I braced myself for threats of forced repatriation, and instead got a pleasant but halting woman from Democrats Abroad, a service that exists for the purpose of assisting people like me to get people like Donald Trump safely out of office. In other words, the good guys.
She was following up on my application for an overseas absentee ballot. She wanted to make sure that the registrar of the county of my last state of residency was cooperating with my application for an absentee ballot. But her principal concern was with the problem I faced in getting my ballot mailed on time. Apparently, whatever systemic problems the post office is having are magnified for mails coming in from abroad.
It was her opinion, backed by statistics, that mail-in ballots are vulnerable from overseas, particularly Europe. It turns out that most Americans living in Europe are politically liberal, and the Republican monsters now in charge of the American post office know this. So I am what you might call, in their eyes, the international equivalent of the urban voter, and if Donald Trump and Louis DeJoy can frustrate or block my vote they most certainly will try.
It brought home to me in a personal way the truly horrific state of despotism in America today. I grew up in a land where the possibility of its democracy being actively thwarted by the very government sworn to protect it was unthinkable. Whenever aberrations to that ideal (like Nixon) were present, they were roundly condemned on both sides of the aisle.
In the midst of a global pandemic, runaway unemployment, racial unrest and a collapsing economy, Donald Trump’s most prominent topic of record is the false narrative that mail-in ballots are fraught with corruption. His message remains, that if he loses the election it means (and can mean nothing else) that the election was rigged. That rigged status will be a direct result of the “fraud” that occurred by mail-in ballots. The message was carried and confirmed by Kayleigh McEnany, who has never once in her life voted any other way but by mail.
It’s a chilling thought that my ballot will cross a hostile ocean, the same U-Boat imperilled one Churchill crossed to Newfoundland in order to meet Roosevelt. But this time, instead of from Nazis, the peril comes from my own government. It is an overwhelming feeling of helplessness to be threatened by the Republic that nurtured the very democratic sentiments that compel me to vote.
It is the first time in my life that I have ever voted and felt, not that my vote might not count, but that my vote might not be counted. Trump is right about one thing, voter fraud really is a thing in this election, but Trump is the fraudster. Trump is going postal on the postal service. He is the one who wants to invalidate as many mail-in ballots as he can, and then, should he lose, claim the cause of his loss was because of the very ballots he’s so actively trying to thwart. It’s Orwellian doublethink for Orwellian times.
Trump doesn’t even rise to the dignity of the summer soldier or sunshine patriot. He is a malignant adventurer out for himself, looking for plunder and self-dealing. If my vote never makes it to the registrar in its adventure across the water I promise you one thing, it won’t be for want of trying. If we hurl enough votes against the arachnid in Washington, enough of them will make it and be counted. So be absolutely sure to vote. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.