This is a test of our liberal democratic system.

Note: When I was thinking about writing about the importance of voting in the mid-term elections, I wanted to do it with humor. Sadly, there is nothing humorous driving my vote this election cycle. 

This isn’t about welfare. 

This isn’t about abortion. 

This isn’t about taxes. 

This isn’t about traditional Democrat versus Republican ideals.

This is a test. 

This is a test to see if we can make it as a liberal democracy. 

I’m not talking about right-and-left politics. I’m talking about continuing this 242-year-old experiment. This form of representative government that believes in political competition and supports economic freedom, civil rights and personal liberties. That kind of liberal democracy. 

This is a pivotal point in our history. Look at what we’ve become in the last two years. 

This president has uncorked simmering hatred that taunts empathy and compassion and kills those who are different. He threatens critics and cozies up to foes. 

Our representative form of government is under attack by voter suppression and an enemy nation executing cyber warfare — both of which favor one party over the other. 

Economic freedom means tax breaks for the rich, the benefits of which don’t seem to trickle down to the working poor who struggle to earn a living wage and pay for health care. 

Civil rights and personal liberties battle each other when we are afraid to go to synagogue, yoga or school. We have lost our way when it is more important to get the semantics of assault weapons right rather than finding a way to keep them from people who shouldn’t have them so we can save our children and ourselves. 

These aren’t even the worst of our problems. There is an existential threat we ignore at our own peril. 

If we don’t act now, climate change will be irreversible and it won’t matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican. 

We have to fix our politics. We have to ask ourselves, is it better to win the battle or the war. The war is bigger than a woman’s right to choose, taxes, who should pay for health care or the Second Amendment. Reading that might make some of you mad and I’m not suggesting we stop fighting for what’s right. What I am suggesting is we have to look at the big picture. 

This will make even more of you mad: Remembering the big picture probably means voting for a Democrat. Hold your noses if you must when you vote during these mid-terms. Keep it a secret from your family and friends if you will be ridiculed. This election is that important. 

Why? Because we have a president who is going unchecked. Our system of checks and balances isn’t working. Our elected officials are not holding the president accountable. The only check on his power is from the media, who he maligns as a tactic to create doubt in those who really want to believe that the president should always be respected and never criticized. 

Make the right choice so we can go back to arguing over politics as usual. We have to pass this test. Put another way: The Roman Empire had another 261 years on us. We aren’t that special. But we could be.

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