Democracy itself is on the ballot this November

by | September 4, 2020

Credit: Borka Kiss / Alamy Stock Photo

(*The views in this article are the personal views of Ryan, not the organization.)


I would regret keeping my mouth shut on this…part of me already regrets keeping it shut for this long.

The United States of America

I am terrified of what’s happening in the US right now – of the road we’re on and continue to head down.

My country is crumbling.

But few, within the US at least, seem to fully grasp just how far down this dangerous road we’ve already come…or how much worse it could get.

Democracy is built on “free and fair” elections. Yet the government is actively working to suppress the vote (more than usual) in a variety of ways.

Most notably, the hijacking and crippling of the United States Postal Service from the inside to prevent mail-in votes from being counted, according to the president.

And as far as I can tell, nothing is truly being done to restore the USPS for the upcoming election where mail-in voting will be at an all-time high due to the raging pandemic.

Lies and propaganda are the new norm (the president is averaging over 22 lies a day this year. There’s been 20,000+ since 2017). We have literally been told to not believe what we’re seeing, that “truth isn’t truth”, and that there are “alternative facts” by this administration.

Agencies have been gutted left and right. Loyalty is apparently the only qualifying characteristic you need for a job in government now. Money or nepotism helps too. But experience is totally optional…except for corporate lobbying experience actually – that seems to be a big plus.

Science, our best tool for acquiring knowledge and understanding how things work, is being both silenced and ignored. Not only does this worsen the climate crisis and human health via air pollution, but tens of thousands of people have needlessly died due to a failed COVID-19 response (with only 4% of the world’s population the US has 21% of the world’s deaths).

People have been kidnapped by unidentified agents without explanation in Portland and Kenosha while peacefully exercising their first amendment rights (arguably the most patriotic thing there is).

Dozens of journalists have been arrested or assaulted this year.

Violence, racism, scapegoating, and dehumanization is increasingly encouraged. The President has referred to immigrants and refugees as “animals”, “vermin”, “scum”, and said they will “infest” America. There have been bans, raids, and at least 6 children have died in US Border Patrol custody.

The last surviving prosecutor of the Nazi Nuremberg trials called separating thousands of children from their parents “a crime against humanity”.

The government is (self-reportedly) open to foreign interference in our elections…again. And it would be naive to hope they aren’t colluding again – as was shown to have occurred in 2016 by both the Mueller report and, more recently and conclusively, the bipartisan Senate report.

We’re likely going to have the (delayed) results of our election disputed and labeled as “fake news” and “rigged“.

Also, for the record, the only reason the “leader of the free world” is not in jail next to his personal lawyer right now for the crime he instructed him to commit is because he is the president and, according to some, a memo from 1973 effectively lets presidents be above the law.

Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the overwhelming and devastating climate consequences. I highly recommend you read Dave Roberts’s “A second Trump term would mean severe and irreversible changes in the climate”.

…I’m barely scratching the surface here. There are dozens of books already out highlighting all the deception, corruption, crimes, destruction, and warning signals.

But, shockingly, these blockbuster stories blow over as quickly as they come.

The media has normalized the crumbling of our democracy. They continually fail to call a spade a spade. Or cheating cheating, racism racism, criminals criminals, or rising fascism rising fascism.

They can’t – or won’t – see the forest for the trees. Our national denial runs deep.

The truth is scary to acknowledge and uncomfortable to voice.

But the truth is the truth. It matters. And it should be said plainly.

We need the speak the truth loudly and often. It just may end up preventing the complete collapse of democracy in the United States of America…a country whose ingenuity and supposed values are desperately needed by the world right now to help tackle the biggest problem facing humanity in the 21st century – the climate crisis.

This is deadly serious. Wake up. Reflect. Find courage. Speak up. Spread the word. Vote.

Did you know that a staggering 92 million Americans don’t vote? Or that 10 million environmentalists didn’t vote in 2016 who were registered to?

Now, I don’t blame anyone for being fed up with the two dominant political parties or the media. I am pissed at them myself.

But the 2020 election in the US is bigger than any of us.

And the next 59 days before the election are absolutely critical.

So let’s act like it.

Keep in mind that we are social beings. This means you are likely far more influential than you realize.

We need people to step up and turn this train around. Do it for yourself, your family, your community, your country, people around the world, and future generations.


  • Ask everyone you know if they’re going to vote. Encourage them to.
  • Tell everyone you know who you’re voting for and why.
  • Make sure you’re ready to vote.
  • Vote on or before November 3rd (take into account the crippled USPS).

And yes, this does mean getting out of your comfort zone if need be.

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” – Tim Ferriss

Consider this practice. And remember – we all have shared values. We just have to look for them. Easier said than done, but I believe kindness and never losing sight of another person’s humanity goes a long way.

And for those of you who don’t live in the US, but know people who do, please tell them what you think and what the news is saying about the US where you live. Our media is myopic. I think outside perspectives are very important right now.

Last thing – is a fantastic resource where you can:

  • Check your registration.
  • Register to vote.
  • Understand your state’s early voting and mail-in voting requirements.
  • Request a ballot to vote by mail.
  • Find your polling place.

And lots more. Share this resource widely.

This post was originally featured in the Crowdsourcing Sustainability newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter below!

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