November 3rd, The 10th Anniversary of My Near-Death

POSTED — Sunday, November 1, 2020

Re: Tuesday, November 3, 2020

For at least 150,000,000 people in the United States, today is the culmination of a long overdue reckoning. The U.S. Senate, which was gerrymandered according to race, gender, and class from the start by the so-called “Founding Fathers,” may have refused to find Trump guilt at the impeachment trial, but the voters in this country now have a chance to beat the odds of the GOP’s massive voter suppression efforts and to denounce the attempts of the current president of the United States to become a dictator-in-residence in Washington, D.C.

For me, however, November 3rd marks another turning point. In the summer of 2010, while I was teaching at Idyllwild, I began to feel brief, intermittent pains in my chest and all the way down my arms. I went to my doctor and reported these pains as they began to increase in intensity. Over a period of three months — August, September, and October — I received a series of tests, each of which I had to wait for the insurance company’s approval. The pains continued to increase. Finally, in the last week of September, I was told by my doctor that the problem wasn’t in my heart, but in my stomach. Two days later, I remember sitting on my sofa, weeping out of the pain I felt. I wasn’t weeping from emotional pain. I’m talking about the physical pain.

Finally, on November 3rd, 2010, I went to the hospital’s emergency room and demanded that they find out what was wrong. About an hour later, my wife Linda was informed that one of my arteries was 90 percent blocked.

When I noticed several months ago that Election Day in 2020 fell on November 3rd, I couldn’t help but think of America’s political health as being in the same critical shape as my occasion ten years ago. We are facing a life-and-death situation. It is literally true: “Vote as if your life depends on it,” because this time it does. Our votes will determine whether democracy suffers an infarction on November 3rd. The CEOs and billionaires who have benefitted from Trump’s largesse may not have listened to us as they went about plundering the social and environmental ecology, but a vote is about to be tallied that cannot be ignored. Surgery should not be delayed. As soon as our votes has diagnosed the problem, the remedy should be administered. (I believe that “votes” is a collective noun.)

As of November 1st, over 90,000,000 votes have been cast. Let us finish the job on November 3rd, and let us never again cease to be vigilant.

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