We grew up reading that America was different from Russia because of our better government. I would not want to live in a country run by Vladimir Putin. But it seems more possible now.
Under Trump, we are watching four major blows to democracy: First, he lacks commitment to the rules of governing (Trump repeatedly calls our elections corrupt; historian Douglas Brinkley says no president has cast such doubt on our democratic system since 1860). Second, he denies the legitimacy of his opponents (Trump and his colleagues regularly claim that Democrats are not American, and those Republicans who no longer support Trump are called “scum”). The third similarity is the support of violence (Trump often suggests to his followers that violence in support of him is OK). The fourth similarity is a willingness to take away the rights of his critics (Trump has a long history of trying to intimidate or even shut down the press, even Fox News when it displeases him).
These are the same strategies Putin used to steal power and concentrate it. I wonder how long our democracy can stand such assaults. Some other democracies have fallen to authoritarian rule, but right now we can show our patriotism. Don’t be intimidated away from the voting booth by Putin-like tactics. Your vote is simply too precious.
In fact, early voting in-person is safe and quick in Washington County, Virginia. You can vote now, at the Voter Registrar’s Office and starting Oct. 19 at the Higher Ed. Center; both locations are open through Saturday, Oct. 31. Mail voting is also safe if you request an absentee ballot from the registrar and return it in a timely fashion.
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