Chance the Rapper’s giving a free concert early this evening, and Beth and I are going. It’s all happening outside the Virgin Hotel at Wabash and Lake, according to this Chicagoist piece. (The piece also links to a decent voter guide.) Presumably, it’ll mean street closures, but it’s for a good cause: Chance is doing it to remind people to vote Tuesday, if they haven’t already. Since we’re fans of Chance and voting, we’ll be there.
I’ve got some pretty strong feelings and thoughts about who to vote for, as we all seem to this year, but, please, just vote. Voting is an investment, it’s skin in the game. It makes you pay attention. It makes you accountable as a citizen. You think it’s a mess? Part of the problem—a big part—is that a lot of people don’t vote. And not voting won’t make it better. Even, say, a 65 percent turnout would turn things upside down for the next cycle. Because once you vote, the parties start paying attention to you.
And before you go to the polls, do just a little research—it takes less time than it does to find the best airfare. Go to ballotpedia.org or the League of Women Voters site to look up a sample ballot for your location. Here in Chicago, you’ll be voting for judges—if you want to know how members of the bar association rate the judges who are running, check out the Chicago Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluations. (You can download and print a pocket guide to take with you to the polls.)
Awhile back, Beth wrote about attending Hamilton. She prepared for the performance by reading Ron Chernow’s exhaustively researched biography. I listened to a great deal of it with her. One thing that was at once disturbing and inspiring: It was a big nasty mess back then, just as nasty and messy, in my view, as it is today.
Hamilton himself ginned up a pen name he used to write scathing criticism of his rival Thomas Jefferson. One of his accusations was that Jefferson was having an “affair” with one of his slaves—and that was true. And it was published in a newspaper. So some things don’t change.
Out messed up democracy is a lot like life: It’s a lot of striving, struggling, disappointment, occasional short-lived triumph, screwing up, surviving, and striving some more.
And it beats the hell out of the alternatives.
So don’t be a deadbeat: Vote.