Oh, so you were impressed by that NY Times anonymous op-ed from the “resistance” inside the Trump administration? Well, President Barack Obama is not feeling it.
On Friday, Obama gave an amazing speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, encouraging young people (and everyone, frankly) to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. But that certainly wasn’t the only topic he covered, not by a long shot.
Perhaps one of the most important point he made throughout his speech was the lack of checks and balances on the President right now. The Republican-lead Congress refuses to take action or stand up to Trump, regardless of what horrible headline runs that day. And anyone who argues that there are folks inside the Trump administration who have our backs? Yeah, that argument is pretty much bullshit. Obama said,
“The claim that everything will turn out okay because there are people inside the White House who secretly aren’t following the President’s orders, that is not a check — I’m being serious here — that’s not how our democracy is supposed to work.”
“These people aren’t elected. They’re not accountable. They’re not doing us a service by actively promoting 90 percent of the crazy stuff that’s coming out of this White House and then saying, Don’t worry, we’re preventing the other 10 percent. That’s not how things are supposed to work. This is not normal. These are extraordinary times. And they’re dangerous times.”
As you probably know, there was a very controversial op-ed published anonymously in the NY Times about this exact topic.
The op-ed was written by a senior official in the admin who claims,
“Many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
But Obama is right; this is not nearly enough to counteract all the evil Trump has done.
And that’s why we have to vote. If we care about the fate of our democracy at all, then it’s imperative we uphold the core of that democracy: checks and balances. For those who unwaveringly resort to the Constitution as their bible, they should remember that the founders of this country didn’t set up three branches of government so that one branch could do the President’s bidding, or, even worse, sit idly by doing nothing.
I realize that for many Americans, there are roadblocks to voting. But there are some solutions. If you work multiple jobs and can’t get to the polls, you can apply for an absentee ballot and vote via mail (it’s not just for folks who are out of state!). If you don’t have any transportation to the polls, Lyft is ready to help you out with free rides for underserved communities and 50% off for everyone else (it’s estimated that 15 million Americans didn’t vote in 2016 because of transportation issues, so this is a big deal!).
Of course, this doesn’t solve all of our problems. Many states have brought back restrictive voting laws, including laws that require photo IDs to vote — which most affect the homeless, the underprivileged, and the elderly. Nine states have enacted such laws.
Other restrictive laws have reduced the early voting period (Nebraska, West Virginia, Georgia), made it more difficult for those with a criminal record to vote (South Dakota, Iowa, Florida). Many of these laws have roots in restrictive voting laws put in place during Jim Crowe.
So yes, it can be difficult for everyone to get to the polls, or even get to enact their constitutional rights to vote, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. And damn it if there aren’t a growing number of people who are ready to help you.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she’s not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.