If President Donald Trump is re-elected next week, our nation will not crumble into dust or incinerate in a raging hellfire.
You may hate him, you may have what you think are legitimate reasons for hating him, and you may honestly believe that four more years of Trump means zero more years of the United States as we know it. I promise you, that won’t happen. The best of the United States can endure the worst of Donald Trump.
The same can be said of former Vice-President Joe Biden. He will not turn our nation into a socialist, Stalinist dominion. He will not open the prisons and turn your suburban home over to violent criminals. He will not tax you back to the Stone Age.
Whatever you imagine his worst impulses are, our nation can survive them. I promise.
I’m not saying it isn’t important who you vote for. It is. Politicians call every election “the most important election of our lifetime,” and usually that’s a load of garbage. This time, I think they’re right. Lives are literally in the balance, and how we as a nation enter the rest of the world — and more importantly, how the rest of the world sees us — is on the ballot.
But let’s just cut out the frenzied hyperbole. Whatever all the TV and radio ads have been telling you, Sen. Joni Ernst isn’t going to end social security and leave elderly people in the ditch to die. Her opponent, Theresa Greenfield, isn’t going to lead violent race riots down your local main street and burn down the local shops. I’ve met them both. They’re nice people. They have no interest in doing those horrible things. Even if they wanted to do those horrible things, they wouldn’t have the power, or the opportunity, to do them.
I have my preferred candidates, and issues that I’m passionate about. I have a good amount of knowledge and strong opinions about everyone on the ballot this year, at every level. I’m not going to try to convince you to vote for the same people I voted for, because I don’t think it would do either of us much good. From what I’ve read, almost half of you have already voted, just like I have. The rest of you have already decided, and your minds aren’t likely to be changed by some guy at the local paper who thinks he’s pretty smart.
You’ve seen, heard and read more than enough political ads already. You’ve taken dozens of sheets of paper out of your mailbox and stuck them into your recycling bin without even reading them. At this point, I can’t tell you anything you don’t already know, so I won’t.
What I will do, however, is tell you what I hope.
I hope, when you cast your ballot, that you think about what’s best for your community, and I hope you vote for that. I hope you vote for the business owners who are scrambling to stay afloat and make our community a better place to live.
I hope you vote for the nurses who are committed to keeping us alive, and easing the pain of living. It’s hard for them. The doctors, too. Some of them are the reason I’m still breathing, and I’ll bet that some of them are the reason you’re still breathing, too.
Vote for my grandkids, who spent their weekend with Gramma and Papa, and reminded us why we’ve worked so hard our whole lives, and why we’ve always strived to just keep breathing. Always, it was for them, we just didn’t realize it.
I hope you vote for a local man like Christopher Anthony, who’s just a regular guy, but spends time finding ways to recognize and honor living veterans of wars that kept our nation, and the world, free.
Or a guy like Art Zanotti, who was one of those veterans. He marched into Rome as it was liberated, then settled in Charles City, where he and his wife, Mary Ann, spent a lifetime making this a better place. I hope you vote for all the people who are like those two.
Vote for our local pastors, who are so creative as they find ways to provide worship and fellowship and still keep their congregations safe and healthy. Vote for Iowa farmers, who endured the derecho this summer and endure international trade difficulties every summer. Bottom line — they feed us. They feed everyone. Vote for that.
I hope you vote for our local cops, and firefighters, and first responders. You know you should, and you know why.
And your local teachers. Some of them are scared out of their minds of getting COVID-19 at school and bringing it home to their families. And yet, they are so determined to teach your children that they came up with a plan to teach them well, in spite of the fear, in spite of the adversity. Thank them with your vote.
These are the people who make this country great, and these people are the reason this country will survive, no matter who wins the election. And no matter who wins the election, these people are still going to be there, doing what they do.
I just hope you vote to make things a little easier for them, that’s all.