This is it.
If you haven’t done it yet, please go vote.
Next Tuesday, November 3, is Election Day.
It’s too late to vote by mail now, but if you live in New Jersey, you can vote early — at this point, early-ish — until November 2. You can find a list of early voting sites at vote.org.
If you wait until November 3, which we have been told is perhaps less Election Day this year than the end of Election Days, you might encounter long lines, but in return you will get the tingle that comes from doing something right and knowing that it will be counted right away. You do that at your regular polling place. Early voting ends on Sunday, November 1, in New York State; either do that or brave the lines, like your peers in New Jersey, and come away having done the right thing.
This election is evoking more emotion, more fear, more rage, more despair than seems to have been called up in living memory. Even in the Jewish community, we are deeply divided; although about 70 percent of the Jewish world is firmly pro-Biden, sentiment in the Orthodox community is far less settled.
But once this is over, we are all going to have to live with one another. Shuls with Hatfield/McCoy members will have to figure out a way to have them work together instead of devolving into icy silence at best, bespittled shouting matches otherwise, if they are not to split apart.
We have to remember — as if we could forget — that covid-19 and death and disease are the backdrop to this election. Bad to worse, frying pan to fire — how do we do this?
We are going to have to hang onto our basic decency, no matter how devalued it has been in some influential quarters. We are going to have to resist the urge to retreat to our own camps — although that is enormously complicated by the fact that covid has forced us not to camps but to tiny claustrophobic windowless-except-for-Zoom tents. We are going to have to remind ourselves that science has created a world of marvels for us, and that we must not abandon it for superstition or bravado. We are going to have to be able to go back to the cemeteries where we buried our lonely dead and put stones on their graves to remind ourselves that we remember. We are going to have to be able to go back to shul and not flinch when someone sings. We are going to have to be able to hug the people we love without checking their voting record first.
But before any of this can happen, we are going to have to figure out how to deal with our own feelings — relief that will shade into wild joy if our side wins, absolute total despair and abject fear if we lose. We are going to have to remember that those voters who supported the other side will be experiencing the exact opposite of what we’re feeling. We will have to figure out either to relax and celebrate without gloating — finally to unclench our teeth — or how to come to adjust to a terrifying new reality.
But before any of that, we each have to vote. If you don’t vote, you have lost any right to feel anything other than shame.