With Election Day happening next week in the United States, I hope that my readers in the States are making plans to vote, have made plans to vote, or have already voted. While there is no presidential election on the ballot this year, unlike last year, many of us have races at the local and state level—races involving representatives who, if elected, will in many ways have a greater impact on our day-to-day lives than who is elected as President of the United States every four years.
However, with Election Day coming up, I think we should talk about more than just the importance of voting. We should talk about the importance of parents having not just themselves, but also their kids, involved in the political process.
But why? Hasn’t it been said that the two topics to avoid at the dinner table are religion and politics?
While I understand why people want to avoid talking about politics at the dinner table (politics can be so stressful, frustrating, and at times infuriating), it is important to talk about politics at dinner (and other times), including and especially around your children, so that they can get exposure to:
Who their representatives are, at all levels of government
What some of the major issues are, at least from the perspectives of the parents or guardians
Who is running for office, and therefore who they may find themselves being represented by, in the future
What the process of voting and deciding on which candidates to vote for may look like
In addition to talking, there are other things that parents can do to expose their kids to the political process, such as:
Listening on television to news stories about candidates in various races (with the caveat that some news sources offer more balanced coverage of the races than other sources)
Watching a televised debate for a political office with kids
Taking children with you to the polls
Taking children to see legislative activity going on, whether it be at the local, state, or federal level
Some kids may end up largely agreeing with their parents’ political stances while others may end up largely disagreeing. And some may end up somewhere in between. That is to be expected, but what should not be expected is to not talk about politics with a kid one is raising, so that they end up being ill-informed on politics and the people running for various political offices when they are all grown up.
After all, the goal is for the children to grow up as kind, caring, and well-informed citizens of the areas, country, and world they reside in. Not doing all we can to ensure this would be an injustice to the kids and to the world.
We found out today, November 7, 2020, that Former Vice President Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States.
I am glad that Biden won. While his record is not perfect (far from it), I believed that out of all of the candidates for this position, he was the one most capable of leading the country justly through these difficult times. While I know I have written on here about issues with Biden’s past record, I do wish that his presidency is a successful one. To take from the words George H.W. Bush wrote to Bill Clinton upon Clinton becoming President, his success is now our country’s success.
I also know there is a strong possibility of Republicans holding on to the United States Senate. If that is indeed the case (depending on how the runoff elections in Georgia go), I recognize that I will need to be realistic with what Biden is able to address, given the partisan environment with American politics at the moment. But, I shouldn’t get too ahead of myself either, as there will be two runoff elections in Georgia to help determine control of the Senate.
Election results aside, I think that there are a few thank yous that a lot of us, myself included, owe in light of the election that recently happened.
First and foremost, thank you to we, the American people, for turning out in such high numbers! Reports seem to be indicating that the turnout for this election is the highest it has been in generations. Hopefully, this level of engagement with our elections will continue well beyond 2020.
A thank you must also go to people who’ve worked the polls and counted the ballots. Without the work of these people, it would not be possible to have an election.
I thank those involved in overseeing the operations of this election. Many Secretaries of State (regardless of political affiliation) as well as local Boards of Elections have operated this election, in the middle of a pandemic, about as smoothly as one could reasonably expect. Furthermore, in light of baseless claims of election fraud from President Trump, many involved in overseeing this election have gone to great pains to be transparent about the election process (even to the point of doing things like having livestreams of places where votes are being counted). I hope this transparency will increase the faith some of us have in American democracy—a faith that seemed to be on shaky ground heading into this election.
My final thank you goes to all of the people outside the United States who have expressed thoughts for, and in the case of people of faith, prayers for, us as we go through this election. These have been tense times, so I appreciate the thoughts, well-wishes, and prayers.
Speaking of thoughts and prayers, I will end this post by requesting that people hope for (and, if you’re the praying type, pray for) a smooth transition of power from President Trump to President-elect Biden. I am sadly not confident that the transition will be smooth or that Trump will even accept the fact he lost this election, but given the challenges this country currently faces, a smooth transition of power is desperately needed.
Author’s Note: I am aware that the Trump campaign has made numerous legal challenges regarding the election results. I am also aware that Trump himself has not conceded as of the time of my writing this. However, what I hear from legal experts (which I am not) is that the legal challenges from the Trump campaign are highly unlikely to change the result of this election (even if said challenges succeed, and the overwhelming majority of challenges are not succeeding from what I hear).
Second Author’s Note: I will not publish a post next week as Veterans Day is next week.
Third Author’s Note: This post was written recently, so I apologize for any typos that may appear here.
 Currently, Democrats have 48 seats (a tally that includes two independents who caucus with the Democrats). The elections for both United States Senate races in Georgia are going to a runoff. If Democrats win both races, their 50 seats will be enough to control the Senate because Vice President Kamala Harris serves as the tiebreaking vote.
Back in February, I said that on my blog, I would publish posts on major issues relevant to the election that are either misunderstood or not talked about as much as they should be.
By working on such posts, I found myself getting some insights into the upcoming election for President of the United States that I would otherwise not have. Because of those insights, as well as the fact that my blog talks about injustices that need to be addressed, I thought I would end these posts by talking about who I will vote for and why.
I’m voting for Joe Biden because, of all the candidates in the race, I think he gives the best shot at playing a role in addressing injustices. His past track record, while imperfect, gives me that belief.
On the issue of ableism and disability justice, Biden cosponsored some important legislation on this issue. He was a Senate cosponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was landmark legislation for people with disabilities. Earlier in his Senate career, he cosponsored the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which required equal educational access in all public schools for kids with physical and mental disabilities. While there is still much to do to make all corners of our country as accessible as they need to be, the passage of these laws, which was made a bit easier by Biden’s support and cosponsorship in both cases, was nevertheless useful. His support of such legislation gives me hope that with disability rights issues, he would reject the argument that something is “too expensive” or “too impractical” to be made accessible—arguments I often hear against making certain things accessible.
Those who are familiar with human trafficking issues would know that arguably the most important piece of American legislation when it comes to anti-human trafficking laws is the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA)—without its existence, traffickers couldn’t be prosecuted as easily, and victims wouldn’t be protected as easily. The person who introduced the reauthorization of the Act in the Senate in 2008 was…Joe Biden. As someone who used to help with anti-human trafficking education myself, I think it’s important for me to set the record straight on this issue because it has only come up in this election in the context of a sex trafficking conspiracy theory (one that Trump has praised the supporters of) that has complicated the work of organizations that are trying to combat human trafficking.
Speaking of Biden authoring things, while his authorship of the 1994 Crime Bill was controversial in many ways, one major positive of that overarching bill was the Violence Against Women Act, which among other things helped establish a Domestic Violence Hotline. A hotline that has come of great use during the pandemic exists in large part due to Biden’s efforts.
On environmental issues, Biden, while not perfect, is still eons better than Trump. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has a scorecard that grades politicians based on which environmental measures they do or do not support, as well as which environmental regulatory rollbacks they do and do not support. Biden’s lifetime score is 83%, which is not as good as the 91% held by Bernie Sanders or the 96% held by Elizabeth Warren. But, his main opponent is Trump, who in LCV’s own words, said about Trump’s environmental grade in his first year in office that: “However, to simply award Trump an ‘F’ does not come close to capturing both the breadth and depth of his administration’s assault on environmental protections and the harm it is causing communities across the country – all to provide favors to the wealthiest corporate polluting interests.”
These are some of the positive things on Joe Biden’s record, and I’m not even coming close to mentioning all the positive things (just a few that should be highlighted). However, as I said, his record is not perfect. I mentioned his Crime Bill on my blog, which is part of a larger dubious record he has when it comes to racial justice issues; there’s also the fact that he supported restrictions that prevented openly gay individuals from serving in the military, supported the Defense of Marriage Act (restricting marriage so that it’s between one man and one woman), and poorly handled the Anita Hill hearing, to name a few of the more problematic parts of his record. A charitable view of Biden’s record is that when someone is in public service for nearly five decades, there are bound to be some major mistakes within that record. A less charitable view would look at his record as evidence of his being a person who would add to injustices, instead of resolving them.
I tend to take a line down the middle—yes, he’s been in public service for a long time, but he does have some injustices to answer to. He has answered by expressing regret for how he handled the Anita Hill situation as well as for past anti-LGBTQ+ positions and the Crime Bill.
More cynical individuals may think that such expressions of regret are just for political expediency and/or are woefully inadequate; I most certainly understand the cynicism because politics can be so cynical at times. However, unlike President Trump, Biden has demonstrated the capacity to not just apologize but back it up with actions to show that he has learned from past mistakes. Of note was the fact that not only did he end up regretting his past positions that were unsupportive of LGBTQ+ rights, but he backed it up by: a) supporting same-sex marriage and b) forcing President Obama’s hand on support of same-sex marriage (by the admission of Obama administration officials). On a number of issues, but particularly racial justice, I sincerely hope that Biden demonstrates a similar capacity to back up his remorse for certain past stances of his (such as authoring the Crime Bill) with action (such as trying to find solutions to the issue of mass incarceration against people of color that many believe he helped create).
Even with the positives I found with Biden, some may be wondering why I’m not suggesting voting for a third party or not voting at all. Especially since I live in New York, some might argue that I could do either without having an impact on the election.
The answer is that I am voting third party, as I will be voting for Biden on the Working Families Party line (a third party that exists in some states, including New York). I think that it is important for me to vote for Biden and I think it is important for third parties to have a voice as well—by voting for Biden on the Working Families Party line, it’s the best of both worlds as far as I am concerned.
I also never considered not voting. I never considered that for two reasons: first, because I was able to distinguish key differences between Trump and Biden on issues that matter to me; and second, because I want my voice to be heard on local elections too (even though all my seats locally are heavily Democratic overall).
So there’s my breakdown of how I judged between the two major party candidates, and how I decided to vote for Biden. While I’m not as enthusiastic about Biden as some people are, I’ve concluded that it’s the best choice out of all the choices presented to me in this election from the standpoint of addressing injustices. And, given the fact that Biden seems more willing than Trump to follow the science when it comes to COVID, it’s a choice that I hope will save some lives.
I will be interested to hear others’ thoughts on the election, though! Feel free to comment below.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this post are my opinions alone and does not represent an endorsement by any organization with which I am associated.
 I know many people have already voted. But this post is directed at those who have not already voted (or those who have but are curious to hear what I have to say).
 I am focusing on his past track record because I think looking at a track record of nearly five decades can be instructive in determining what sorts of issues he may stand for in the next 4-8 years—potentially even more instructive than looking at his platform.
 I am not going to use tons of space in this post talking about Trump. There are lots of posts on the internet talking about Trump’s negatives. Instead, I’m going to use space here to talk about some positive elements of Biden’s record, because it’s important not just to vote against someone, but for someone.