Here in the US there are two things dominating the conversation: nature and politics. We had this little storm called Sandy blow through this week. It was a historically massive storm, stretching from Georgia all the way up into Canada, that battered the eastern mid-Atlantic seaboard and New England. New Jersey and New York took the brunt of it and the destruction is overwhelming. Entire towns wiped out. The iconic Atlantic City boardwalk—the home of billions of summer memories—is gone. Subway stations in New York City are filled 15 feet deep with water and rubble. A swath of over 100 homes burnt to the ground in the neighborhood of Breezy Point. Millions are without power. Hospitals have been evacuated. It is mind boggling.
The other distraction is a little thing called a Presidential election. Unlike Hurricane Sandy, we know when they are going to happen and they come along every four years whether you want them to or not. Sandy hit us with howling winds and dumped impressive amounts of rain and snow across the region. The election has had its share of howling wind too, from both camps. I live in the battleground state of Virginia where the race is particularly tight so the deluge of political ads has been relentless, like a Chinese water torture.
The two storms converged this week. Both will have lasting impact. As writers we use our words as a means to express ideas and ideals, to inform and entertain. Our words are our voice. If you live in the US you have a choice in five days to use your voice or to sit silent. I have avoided (and will continue to avoid) using this blog as a political megaphone. I stay away from political rants. While this may come uncomfortably close to touching upon politics I will nonetheless take this opportunity to urge every eligible American citizen regardless of political affiliation to vote on November 6. Stand up and be counted. And if you chose to sit idly by you should not expect to take part in the conversation after the election.
Because of the devastation left in Sandy’s wake the act of voting will be a challenge for many. Make the effort. Take the initiative. Ask for a friend’s help. Get to your polling place. The election is razor thin and every voice, every vote, will make a difference. Vote. Thank you for your patience. I will now put my soapbox back in the basement.