To all those who don't want to vote next week, or do anything to get others to vote:
It's not about your personal relationship with Barack Obama.
It's about the country and its domestic enemies. All of the enemies of every US citizen. Your enemies. Our enemies. The enemies of our enemies.
It is indeed about your issues, whether racism, bigotry, corporate greed, war, poverty, oppression, or (preferably) all of the above and more. But it is not about whether Obama disappointed you by not fulfilling whatever promise you might value above all the others Right Now This Instant, in the face of implacable Rightwing opposition and dysfunctional Senate rules.
It's about eternal vigilance in defense of liberty, and about the slow but inexorable march of public opinion away from fear and hatred, and toward the goals that still remain only partially fulfilled:
to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity
If you aren't in it for the long term, you aren't in it.
We still have talk of secession and nullification against the Union; unjust laws in a sometimes unjust legal system; uproar and threats of violence across the country, with occasional bombs and assassinations; illegal war; class war on the poor, workers, and the middle class; and many restrictions on our Liberty, with constant threats against us and our Posterity.
So I don't just vote. I blog, I work on issues (e-mail spam, voting software, Free Software, Creative Commons, public funding of elections, education, poverty), I GOTV.
Whenever I phonebank, a few people hang up on me, which is nothing to do with me. Check them off as Refuse (ha, ha) on the phone list and go on to the next phone number. I never expect to convert the die-hards.
It's the undecideds and misinformeds we're after in GOTV. Undecided whom to vote for, misinformed about candidates and issues, undecided whether they will vote at all, undecided whether to vote early, undecided whether to get a yard sign, undecided whether to volunteer...
And also the people who have difficulty voting. People who need a ride to the polls, or a chair while waiting in line, or help getting an absentee ballot. People in difficult territories, like Indiana, where we have to remind voters of the requirements of the "Papers, please" rules on letting people in to vote. People who have been given misinformation, like Latinos in Nevada being told "Don't vote, what has Obama done for you?" by Republican operatives.
I will also be out on election day watching for people in need of assistance, and the possibility of Republican/Tea Party mischief at the polls. (I have been an election inspector running a polling place, but I consider plans for voter suppression a more serious problem this time.)
Every time I phone bank, I get several clear chances to help someone decide, to inform someone, or to overcome an obstacle. I also get a few yard signs placed, and sometimes find a volunteer to do more of the same, just waiting to be asked.
Here in Indiana, I can tell people about lobbyist Dan Coats vs. sheriff Brad Ellsworth for Senate; Blue Dog Baron Hill vs. Todd "Social Security is a Ponzi scheme" Young for House; Vop "Voice of the People" Osili working to make it easier to start businesses in Indiana vs. Charlie White, under investigation for illegal voting in a district he had moved out of for Secretary of State. Do you want someone in charge of voting procedures who doesn't follow voting law himself?
Our guys are nowhere near perfect, but as VP Joe Biden says, "Don't compare me with the Almighty, compare me with the alternative!"
Nate Silver says that his analysis of the available polling shows that if the polls are wrong by 2% on the "enthusiasm gap", if that many more Democrats show up, we can tip 18 close House races (pink on Nate's district map) and hold the House. And there is strong precedent for such errors. Most memorably,
Dewey Defeats Truman (not)
Now, are you part of that 2% that the pundits missed, and willing to recruit more, or are you content to be in the missing 2% that the pundits predicted, sitting on your hands on the sidelines bleating, "Obama didn't do everything I wanted!" and "It's not my fault!" while the Right trashes the Constitution, the economy, and the future of the entire world?