This letter is paid content. We must remove Donald Trump from office. Voting alone is unlikely to accomplish this because Trump has been flatly stating that he will challenge the legitimacy of a Joe Biden victory. Demagoguing constantly for months, without evidence, that mail-in balloting will result in massive fraud, he has framed a narrative for a brazen play to stay in power. No past President has been willing to defy the outcome of an election and use his considerable executive powers to subvert the will of the people and the rule of law. He has the unwavering support of an obeisant Republican Party, a lawless Attorney General, a supplicant Supreme Court, a widely watched propaganda news network (Fox), and a rabidly militant base. His Malignant Narcissism (adutytowarn.org) renders him incapable of acting on behalf of anyone but himself and the fury to defy any opponent by any means, without regard to consequences and without remorse. He is the definition of a tyrant and it is tyranny that we must resist - just as our revolutionary forefathers fought King George and his redcoats.
Trump’s minions have been organizing a voter suppression crusade to deploy 50,000 “poll watching” vigilantes (called “Trump’s Army”) to harass and intimidate voters in primarily black and Hispanic precincts on election day. Such practices were originally deployed by the National Republican Party in 1981 under the name of the National Ballot Security Task Force. A Federal lawsuit the following year, citing violations of the Voting Rights Act, resulted in a consent decree prohibiting any such activities. This ruling held for 30 years until a judge recently lifted the decree - essentially because it had worked - declaring that there had been no violations and therefore it was no longer needed! The gates are open and the barbarians are here.
We must muster ourselves to defend democracy. I opened an independent bookstore (Fair Trade Books) here in Red Wing 7 years ago and our mission has always been to inform and enrich public dialogue and engagement. This moment, this election, calls for that mission to rise to a new level - otherwise business as usual could mean acquiescing to a hostile takeover of our republic. Therefore, I am closing my store for the week of the election and possibly longer in order that I may exercise my rights and privileges as a citizen to resist any attempt by Donald Trump to steal the election. Proactively, I will be present in a minority precinct in Minneapolis to assist voters and to resist any attempts by anyone to interfere with voting. If we’re lucky, the vote for Biden will be overwhelming and Trump will not be able to conjure the credibility for any attempt to delegitimize the results.
I believe this election will be decided, one way or the other, by public opinion. Either by counting all the ballots cast or by counting people in the streets. We all know good people who support President Trump and we make common cause with them in decrying the general failure of all politicians to meet the needs of society. I speak for many Biden voters when I say that I’m not expecting anything great from a Biden administration. So this is not a fight amongst ourselves as Americans, it is a struggle that none of us ever expected to make in our lifetimes, taking a stand, putting ourselves on the line as citizens in order that democracy of, by and for the people does not perish from the earth. You may think this is alarmist, but I ask you to be ready and willing to act (peacefully!) if you see the intolerable unfolding.