Our Perspectives on the Latest Issues
For the past two years now, a good many of the blogs I’ve created land on the importance of voting – do we really need another one? There are a great many crucial and upcoming matters on the near-horizon for PennFuture that we can talk about here. Among them, Pennsylvania will begin hearings soon on joining and shaping the very important climate-pollution-reducing program called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). We also have tough state budget conversations coming right around the corner in mid-November.
But nothing has captured the focus of most Pennsylvanians like this election season. Election Day, November 3, 2020, is nearly here.
Since the lead-up to the primary, this election cycle has been characterized by adapting to new pandemic-induced realities and risks around how we cast our votes. Voters and would-be voters have received straightforward and basic information about new voting and registration formats, but from a bewildering array of sources. Many sources say the same thing but in differing ways. Multiple players and sources can be problematic and feed into another more ugly characteristic of this election, and that is the amount of unreliable sources, intentional disinformation, subtle undermining, and outright lying to try to discredit voting, this imperfect but still best action we have to participate in our democracy.
We have all walked a very long path to this election. There is excitement, fatigue, anticipation, dread, and a sense of just wanting this election to be over as soon as possible. I must, for the time being, live in a frame of hope and trust that the American people will come through for democracy, for our environment and on the sides of justice, equity and prosperity for all. We must all embrace the likelihood that in order for every vote to be counted, it will take some time, and that means patience on all our parts.
While we wait, let’s reflect on the incredible volunteers, organizations and workers driving this election, on all sides. They are doing everything they can to facilitate access to voting participation.
PennFuture’s Democracy for All team has remained energetic, creative and focused, with their gaze toward communities of color. These communities, who in addition to the strength they are bringing to the Black Lives Matter movement, and in addition to the loss they endure – along with brown communities- as heavily impacted by this pandemic, must now navigate new voting “rules” that rightly create suspicion and distrust.
In the end, if the people come to believe that voting doesn’t matter, our democracy will dissolve, and with it, a key paradigm around which a statewide environmental advocacy organization like PennFuture has been built.
The outcomes of this election hold high stakes for our environment, and for addressing and ending the injustice and inequity that plague so many of our fellow Pennsylvanians.
So given the possibility for disruption after the election, PennFuture will be weighing its options for engagement, should advocacy be needed. We may find our organization heading back to the courts, or engaging with various elected officials if they become involved in post-election interference, and supporting those that need our assistance.
We will keep you informed through The Bark, Democracy for All, and the offerings of our partner Conservation Voters of PA. And we will be asking for your help in the advocacy we may need to pursue. Until then, stay positive, stay healthy and if you haven’t already, vote!