The last few months have been draining. With tomorrow approaching, it felt like there was no escaping the election, whether you were scrolling through Instagram or catching up with friends and family. So many of my FaceTime dates with loved ones were intended to be lighthearted escapes from the pandemic, but took a more serious turn when we discussed privatized healthcare, white supremacy, women's reproductive rights, and other, taboo-to-me topics I'd never truly felt comfortable addressing before 2020. I found myself spending so much time reading graphics, watching IGTVs, and refreshing Twitter that it bordered on unhealthy. And while it has been exhausting and, at times, seemed hopeless, I've never felt more empowered, educated, and sure of my own stances on issues I'd more or less just passively agreed with in the past.
All that to say: While I'm relieved that we've finally made it to November, I'm also grateful for the wave of advocacy and engagement I've witnessed amongst peers, colleagues, family members, and even Internet friends I've DMed with. Let's keep that momentum going. And even though we likely won't have answers by the time we head to bed tomorrow, I can go to sleep knowing I've done all that I can to make my voice heard and my vote count. No matter the outcome, there’s still so much to be done, and the work doesn't end here.
While I've deemed the following five posts as the most influential to me, this is, of course, a fraction of what's out there. If you have the emotional energy, I'd love for you to share the most powerful post, video, graphic, or photo you've seen in the comments below so we can educate, inspire, and motivate anyone who may not be voting to head to the polls tomorrow. And if you haven't been as active or involved as you'd wished you'd be, these posts might be a good place to start. Here are five of the most impactful things I saw on social media regarding the election this month:
This tweet is pretty self-explanatory and I'm hoping that by placing it first, anyone who has made it this far into the post that doesn't consider themselves political might reexamine and reframe that narrative. While the issues at hand may not affect you personally, there is so much at stake for so many people, and I encourage you to vote with empathy.
Vote Save America's social media content has been instrumental in my political education in 2020. I had a tough time choosing between this graphic, this post, and this checklist – but in the end, I felt the breakdown above made a compelling case to vote for Biden and Harris (with a few pieces of humor thrown in there)...even if Biden wasn't the Democratic nominee you were hoping for.
If you're curious about his plans or stances on issues like immigration, taxes, US poverty, and LGBTQ+/womxn's rights (which, let's be clear, are simply human rights), you may find these slides useful. Though I was initially a bit disappointed when I scrolled through and didn't see lists on their plans for racial equity (but found this NPR article on both candidate's key priorities helpful), police and criminal justice reform (more on that here), or combatting climate change (more on Biden's ambitious pledge here), VSA has provided more information on their website.
There's a pretty stark contrast between each of their respective priorities, and though I wish all of Biden's policies leaned significantly more progressive, I was eager to vote for him in person over the weekend, and see what exactly I was voting for.
All of Brian's IGTVs surrounding the election are useful and informative (like this video on the "Red Wave" and this one on how the GOP steals seats in Congress). They pack a punch with detailed explanations in just a few minutes, and since I know many still haven't finished or sent off their ballot, I hope it will help avoid mistakes and ensure that our votes are received and counted.
This year, like he says, it's more important than ever to vote like someone is trying to take our right to vote from us...because in some states, right now, they are.
1. Missing the deadline. If you're voting by mail, it's too late to send it through USPS. Take your ballot in person to a drop box or a polling place to ensure it's counted.
2. Missing signature. Some people forget to sign their ballot—triple check before sending it off.
3. The signature doesn't match the one on file. To avoid this, sign in blue or black pen on a flat surface with your usual signature.
4. Incomplete or illegible ballot. Write clearly and follow all the instructions (like filling in the bubbles instead of using a check mark).
5. Wrong return location. If you're putting your ballot in a drop box, make sure it's an official drop box in your county, sanctioned by the state. Some need additional requirements (like a witness signature, secrecy envelope, having your ballot notarized, needing to include a photocopy of your ID), so do some additional research!
The presidential race has gotten so much airtime, and as someone who never felt really informed about local politics, this graphic (along with this hour-and-a-half-long IG Live) helped demystify them for me.
Shakirah Simley, the Director for the Office of Racial Equity San Francisco, and Jen Winston, a writer and speaker, teamed up to give a thorough breakdown of the various branches of local government (embarrassingly, I had no idea that it includes legislative, executive, and judicial, too) and the decision-making power they each have. While federal elections are crucial, mayors, the city council, supervisors, and alderpeople write laws, oversee budgets, and make hundreds of decisions that impact everyday life.
Read the slides above or scroll to minute 12 on the Live if you'd like to hear Shakirah explain it in further detail or if you want to feel a lot less helpless and hopeless this election season. It's not all intuitive and can feel discouraging, but this is an excellent jumping off point for anyone else looking to dive deeper into the intricacies of our government, along with its processes and practices.
I've been following Katie for a few months and admire her activism, particularly around the election, and my instinct told me that her values align pretty closely with mine. I saved her 2020 California Voter Guide before even receiving my ballot, and spent last Saturday combing through it, along with the 11-page document for progressive voters she shared in her bio. Fortunately, my instincts were right, and I was so appreciative that she took the time to gather it in one, easy-to-access place.
This is a little less relevant to anyone outside California, but I used Katie's PDF with the LA Times' endorsements, the Democratic Socialists of America's Los Angeles guide, and Leslie's voting notes on California races to fully form my choices up and down the ballot, and highly recommend all four for any California Democrat feeling lost or confused and like you're running out of time.