Voting Against Hate and For the Common Good
The Coalition on Human Needs was one of many groups to sign a statement condemning antisemitism, which will be run in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today. (A picture of the ad is below.)
We at CHN can only be grateful for the opportunity to join with others to speak out against hate. Week after week, we see the destruction that corrosive hate can inflict, and how easy it is to destroy innocent lives. Hatred of Jews, of Muslims, of African-Americans, of immigrants, of gays – many, many targets for those who depend on having targets.
But it is surely not enough to speak out and feel virtuous – we have to act. One action most of us can take is to vote. We can vote against candidates who feed hatred by the age-old accusations that powerful Jews are trying to control things, sending migrants here to “replace” whites. We can vote against candidates who ignite hate by lying about immigrants and what they seek by coming here. Your vote on/by November 6 is a gift, an opportunity to stand against those who make targets of vulnerable people and their defenders in order to entrench their own power.
Even in this highly charged, relentlessly pitched election, millions will leave the voting to others. We are pretty sure you won’t be one of them, but you can encourage turn-out – pick a campaign to help, or use texting tools such as those cleverly developed by MoveOn and other groups.
But you are not only needed to vote against hate. Vote for something. CHN is a tax-exempt organization, and we cannot tell you who to vote for. But we can urge you to tell as many people as you can that critically important issues will be decided: health coverage for millions of people, whether we invest in education, roads, clean water, child care, and affordable housing or give away more tax revenues through tax cuts for corporations and the rich. And in many states, ballot questions can make a direct difference in people’s lives. Will your state expand or restrict Medicaid? Idaho, Nebraska, Utah and Montana have ballot questions about that. Florida voters can expand voting rights; North Carolina voters can oppose restrictions on voting. Colorado will vote on whether to limit the high interest rates for payday loans, to protect people from falling into a debt trap. Arkansas and Missouri are voting on minimum wage increases. (See more examples of ballot questions and other issues at stake in state elections at Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity.)
You will find candidates who stand for real investments in meeting our needs and building our future. You will find others who stoke fear, or who work to undermine health care while saying they are doing the opposite. It really matters who wins.