Every four years we, the American electorate, find ourselves bombarded with messages from “Get Out the Vote” campaigns telling us that we must vote because “this is the most important election of your lifetime.” For once this is true, and not mere hyperbole. While the vote in November may or may not be the most important election in our country’s history, it is by far the most important election that I have ever seen.
For me personally, this is because removing the current occupant of the White-House would remove power from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If ICE loses the backing of the president, then my dreamer brother in-law will have a chance to lay his head down on a pillow and not have to worry about the possibility that immigration officials will take him away from my sister and my nieces. Removing the current occupant of the White-House and replacing him with someone more LBGTQ+ friendly would ensure that my LGBTQ+ friends and family can continue to live openly and as more than second-class citizens. And as an educator myself, having a more education-friendly President (not te mention an education-friendly Secretary of Education) would allow me to not have to stop worrying about whether my career is endangered by anti-intellectuals who do not value education, let alone liberal arts education, for all people.
However, the dream of having of having a president that protects everything and everyone I love and restores goodness, decency, and acts like a leader that we can be proud of will only become a reality if the political establishment starts taking rural, Southern, progressive voters like me seriously.
Donald Trump has an army of dedicated followers who are highly motivated to support him in November. They think that he is their (for lack of better words) savior who will deliver them from the corrupting influences of socialism, atheists, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ people. There is nothing that can be done to win over that voting bloc over; the only way to defeat Trump is to motivate moderates and the left in the rural sections of America to get out and vote.
I am not the only liberal in Kentucky, and I am far from the only liberal in the South or Midwest. But we do not vote in the presidential election because – why would we? The Democratic party fails to support our candidates. They fail to listen to us. They write our regions of the country off as populated by “slack-jawed yokels” who hate change, the environment, and any person of color. Yet, we are a powerful and un-tapped voting bloc who want to bring about change and equality and we could do so if the Democratic party showed it was listening to our concerns.
Show us that you care, Democrats. Give us a reason to expose ourselves to our neighbors and risk being ostracized by our ultra-conservative friends and families. Show us that we may lose a few friends but many more will take their places to help protect us from the real repercussions of breaking conservative social norms in the rural South. Empower us and give us a reason to spend our money, time and effort to put someone who cares about all people in congress and in the White-House. Give us hope for the future.
This is a cry for help. There are so many of us in rural America who are watching this administration destroy our economy and destroy our planet, and it is killing us on the inside. We love our State and National Parks, and we do not want to see Coal and Industrial companies let loose on the land and the water that we need to survive. You, the coastal liberal, who wants to take back power need our vote so give us a reason to get out and vote. As we say in the south, we “need y’all” to use your political mojo and might to help flip some of these southern states and save everything that we love and care about.