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A friend told me she does not plan on voting in November 2020. She's sick of the corruption in Washington, has lost faith in the system, and believes her vote will not count. Why should I waste my time going to the polls or mailing in a ballot, she asked. I attempted to explain why that was a really bad decision but she wasn't hearing me. Now, as I write this, I realize I wasn't hearing her either.

As the adage goes, voting is a right and not a privilege. Likewise, not voting is equally a right. Who am I to feel disappointed, even outraged, when someone pronounces they will not vote in the 2020 election? That answer comes to me easily. I have every right to feel this way since I am a person who votes. Those who don't vote insure that my vote, and the votes of others, will not matter. Is this a fair accusation toward my non-voting brethren? History confirms that it is.

In 2016, I campaigned for Hillary. I did the usual stuff: walked door to door, made phone calls, licked envelopes. I was disappointed when she lost the election but what really surprised me was how wounded I felt then, and continue to feel now, that she lost Florida. I consoled myself by reasoning that at least I had done my part and, because of my small efforts, she won Broward County where I reside. Then, the numbers started to come in. Hillary won the popular vote by approximately three million and lost the electoral college by 77 votes with 7 defectors, the most ever.  

My friend pointed to this as the reason why she felt her vote to be irrelevant. She further justified her feelings by stating 111 million other people feel the same way. (I don't know where she got that stat from). It then became clear to me that she, and others, fail to understand that electoral college votes are directly linked to the popular vote. But, I stopped short of explaining this to her. If I had gone that route, I would have said: if more people in 2016 had voted in swing states like Florida, and Florida had remained blue, then Hillary would have gained those electoral votes. The same for other swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, traditionally democratic states that narrowly went to Trump. If more democrats had gone to the polls, and Hillary had won some of these swing states, we would have had our first female president. While no one can predict the success of a presidency that never was, I think we can say with confidence she would not be the maelstorm of divisiveness that infects the Trump administration. 

I did not explain the electoral college to my friend since I didn't want to sound preachy, I didn't want to come across as patronizing, and she was enjoying her much needed rant. I now know I made a good choice. 

Truth is, after having had time to process her feelings and mine, I realize she is justified in feeling undermined and insignificant, and I feel the same way. I am among the many who feel like hamsters on wheels trying to make our way in a country where leaders have smashed our trust into millions of shards of glass. In the dictionary, this would be synonymous with the feeling of defeat. A feeling so strong that many believe there is no point in trying/voting.

I too wonder if my vote will matter in 2020, but this fear will not keep me from the polls. If the millions of people who do not want Trump to have a second term choose not to vote, he will definitely be our president for four more years. 

So what am I going to do? This election year, as in years past, I am going to become educated on the candidates on the national and local levels. I am going to cast the best votes I can, knowing in this election season--as in 2016--votes will mean nothing if every eligible voter doesn't go to the polls. Those who voted for Hillary were thwarted by those who would have voted for her but chose not to participate. For whatever their reasons--not happy with either choice for president, hatred of the Clintons--the result of such abstinance is staring us in our faces. I get that there are other reasons Hillary did not win, however the one thing we can control is our private moments at the voting booths. 

It is our right to vote. It is also our right not to vote. If you are one of the millions who say they will not vote in 2020, or you know people who feel this way, please consider voting or encouraging them to vote. This is imperative so the right to vote has meaning. I understand it feels like defeat before we even try, but at least we will have tried.

How about we make a deal? I'll vote. You vote. And we'll make each others' votes count. Then at least if we have four more years of Trump, we can consol ourselves that we did all we could to lead our country in a better, less divisive direction. 

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Joanne Lewis Blog


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Joanne Lewis Blog

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Joanne Lewis Blog

joanne lewis

When Joanne Lewis is not practicing law, she is writing. She pens murder mysteries, historical fiction and historical fantasy books and is the author of several award-winning novels. As an author, she hopes to entertain, to educate, and perhaps to enlighten. As an attorney, she is most proud of her work as an assistant state attorney and as a guardian ad litem representing the best interests of children.

Her books are available on Kindle, as paperbacks, and as audio books.

Her latest release is Bee King, a historical novel that is about the first person in the United States diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and takes place from the start of the Civil War until 1910. Just like the people who inhabited Five Points in lower Manhattan during the 1800s and the turn of the century, Bee King traverses the pentagonal streets where abolitionists battled copperheads, immigrants clashed among social, religious and political strife, and doctors and psychologists strained to help patients. Told in Five Points (sections), Bee King is dramatized through conventional literary devices as well as through newspaper articles, a manifesto, and other non-traditional tools.

The Forbidden trilogy consists of the novels: Forbidden Room, Forbidden Night, and Forbidden Horses. Forbidden Room is her best-selling novel.

In Forbidden Room, the first book in the Forbidden trilogy, new attorney Michael Tucker has few clients, yearns to be like his famous grandmother and cannot afford to move out of his parents' home. Sara Goldstein is an heiress accused of killing her uncle. When Sara hires Michael, he gets the chance to defend an innocent person, a beautiful lover and notoriety like his grandmother. But is it more than he asked for? Is Sara innocent or is she a murderer?

Forbidden Night, the second book in the Forbidden trilogy, delves further into Michael and Sara’s complicated relationship, as well as into Soldier Boy’s psyche, into their family histories, and into the creation of the carousel horses. The question posed in Forbidden Room, the first book of the Forbidden trilogy—Is Sara innocent or is she a murderer—is answered.

Forbidden Horses, the final book in the Forbidden trilogy, travels to the eighteenth century and takes place in Austria to reveal the troubled history of the creation of the carousel horses.

Michelangelo & Me is a series of five novellas in the genre of historical fantasy.

In the first book of the series, Michelangelo & the Morgue, seventeen-year-old Michelangelo defies religious and political powers in order to capture a serial killer who is murdering the artists of Florence. In Sleeping Cupid, the second book, Michelangelo’s believed-to-be lost statue narrates his journey from fifteenth century Florence, Italy until the present day where he lives in an attic in a sleepy Florida town. Future books in the anthology include Space Between, School of the World and Michelangelo & Me.

The Lantern is a historical novel about a modern-day woman's search to find a girl from 15th century Florence, Italy who dared to enter the competition to build the lantern on top of Brunelleschi's dome. Across time and space, three lives collide as they battle abuse, disease, fear and prejudice in pursuit of their dreams. Along the way, they intersect with some of the most famous figures of the Renaissance including members of the Medici, Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello and a young Michelangelo.

Wicked Good, a different kind of love story, begins in Bangor, Maine. Fifteen-year-old Rory is not defined by his diagnoses of Asperger's syndrome and Bipolar Disorder and lives life to the fullest. Archer, his adoptive mother, is Rory's biggest fan. Rory searches for his birth parents to find out why he is the way he is. He discovers his roots in Salem, Massachusetts where the Salem Witch Trials had occurred, and in Gloucester, Massachusetts where fishermen went down with the Andrea Gail during the Perfect Storm. He also learns his true roots are closest to his home in Bangor. As Rory discovers truths about himself, Archer learns about herself too.

Make Your Own Luck is the unforgettable and moving novel of Remy Summer Woods, a young attorney who refuses to believe thirteen-year-old Bonita Pickney killed her father, Patrick Pickney. Remy risks her relationship with her own father as well as her life to prove Bonita's innocence. Along with learning what happened the night Patrick was murdered, Remy discovers hard truths about her family and herself.

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