By Becky O’Brien and Janna Siller
“The opposite of good is not evil; the opposite of good is indifference. In a free society where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty, but all are responsible.” These words are from the same sage, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Z”L, who taught us to wake up in the morning and feel the radical amazement of being alive, to seek happiness through wonder.
It is hard to know which is more elusive: wonder or a means for taking action against terrible wrongs this high holiday season. If we peek around the thick weeds that obscure, both are available to us, even now. Perhaps we can even combine the two, as Heschel described when he spoke of his march from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “It felt like my legs were praying.”
So, what can you do?
- VOTE! Go to the National Association of Secretaries of State’s “Can I Vote?” page, or do an internet search for “[your county] voter registration,” to ensure that your voter status is what you think it is and what you want it to be. Update if needed.
- Ballot and election options and details vary across the country. So, be sure to get the information that is correct for your county and state so you know what to expect about when and how you’ll receive your ballot and when and how you can return it.
- Tell three friends to vote and follow through with them to make sure they get their ballot in!
View these resources from The Climate Optimist newsletter – all about voting!
If you’ve got an appetite to do more, connect with your closest friends, your Jewish community, and wider networks across the U.S. from now until November by getting out the vote! Here are a few ideas for how to do it:
- The Voter Participation Center works brilliantly to register and get out the vote of key demographics who are underrepresented in voting: people of color, young people, and single women. VPC is aiming to register 500,000 more new voters (they’ve registered 1.1 million already) – and when people are registered, they are overwhelmingly likely to vote. Your donation is one of the most cost-effective ways for you to strengthen our democracy.
- Dayenu is encouraging us all to help get out the vote. Get more info and sign up to volunteer for a texting or phone banking event here.
- The Environmental Voting Project offers multiple ways to make sure people are registered to vote and are also coordinating texting and phone banking opportunities.
- Check out the Big Send from Vote Forward. This is a letter-writing campaign, and it is easy for you to do, anytime, anyplace.
The twin feelings of powerlessness and isolation have been ubiquitous in 2020. Move through and past that duo by connecting in community to save democracy and light a fire for political action on climate justice.
Becky O’Brien is Hazon’s Director of Food & Climate. Janna Siller is the Adamah Farm Director.
Additional resources from our friends at JCAN NYC:
- DAYENU GET OUT THE VOTE (GOTV): We hope to see many of you there for one last important push and get people to the polls!
- Look up your ballot before heading to the polls. If you’re voting in person, know what’s on your ballot and get familiar with down-ballot candidates.
- Vote early and avoid the lines at the polls.
- Check out the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Spiritual Resources for the Election Season to help you remain calm and present as we navigate these challenging days.
- The Protect the Results coalition is organizing a nationwide, decentralized mobilization with a clear demand: all the votes must be counted and there must be a peaceful transition of power.