It’s here. It’s time to vote.
As you do so this year — and you must do it — please consider these voices of islanders, who have written commentaries for The Beachcomber during this most turbulent and difficult year.
Our neighbors, in writing their commentaries, were responding to the events of 2020, which have brought us all a still-raging pandemic, skyrocketing unemployment, environmental crisis, racial injustice, civil unrest and a deepening sense of dread about the future of our country.
Their commentaries were not written for the purpose we are excerpting them for today, of course. Some were written from a decidedly non-political stance, while others engaged in direct discourse about our leaders and issues of our day.
But we believe that the following passages from these commentaries have a purpose here. They are a snapshot of our year, and, we believe they also express hope for our collective future.
Think of these words as your voter’s guide as you do your duty to help our country find a way forward.
“I will cast my one vote for the person who will protect our people, our democracy and our environment. I will support that candidate with all my heart and energy. Because I don’t turn my back on those who don’t share my privilege. Because democracy needs to endure over authoritarianism, dictatorship, corruption and oppression.” Kevin Jones, “It’s Time to Unify for the November Election,” June 25 Beachcomber.
“If we open ourselves to the understanding that we are literally all in the same story, each suffering in our own way, we may find genuine ways to help heal and protect each other while restoring a genuine sense of humanity in ways that bring more meaning and more soul to the world.” Michael Meade, “A tipping point for humanity,” June 4 Beachcomber.
“We cannot be truly human if we are living under oppression, and we cannot be truly human if we choose to oppress other human beings.” Renee Henson, “Up to us all to dismantle white supremacy,” July 2 Beachcomber
“A job is more than a job. It’s a matter of dignity, the ability to support yourself and care for your loved ones.” Deborah Diamond, “Unemployment impacts the island community,” Sept. 7 Beachcomber
“It is essential to be an ally, a listener, a learner, an observer. To cheer on your brothers and sisters and family of color. But don’t stop there. It’s not enough to stay on the sidelines. Remember your children are watching and learning from what you do. And for many of us, our grandchildren are watching as well.” Janie Starr, “Being an Anti-Racist means sticking around for the long haul,” July 23 Beachcomber.
“Problem: Climate change is our next global emergency, with a death toll in human life estimated at many, many times more than the global pandemic we are currently facing.” Shane Jewell, “Four reasons Vashon needs a pedestrian main street,” July 9 Beachcomber.
“We want to see our leaders work together to pursue policies that help the average American, not the billionaires or the politicians’ well-connected cronies. We want a return to civilized, respectful political discourse — not the insult-laden tantrums and dogmatic intransigence that these days pass for debate. And we want a President who is kind, respectful and empathetic.” Phil Clapham, “The Moderate Majority,” Oct. 8 Beachcomber.
“America should be a place where everyone wins. This won’t happen without a consistent effort to build an anti-racist society and it won’t happen without you.” Trish Dziko, “Let’s dismantle racist structures for our children’s sakes,” June 11 Beachcomber.
“I pray for Vashon, that we would not find our virtue and strength in ideological homogeneity, but in neighborliness and generosity. I pray we as individuals would listen twice as much as we talk — and that when all the fighting, arguing and voting is over, we would realize we still need each other.” Mike Ivaska, “We still need each other,” Sept. 17 Beachcomber.
Breathe deep. Exhale. Now vote.