It’s fahking freezing here in Philly today—forty-five degrees, which we all know is basically thirty-two degrees, because there’s no rounding up when it comes to the weather. You ever notice that? NO ROUNDING UP IN THE WEATHER. Forty-five is not close to sixty, it’s close to death.
But I’m not here to talk about the weather. That would be the cheapest thing one could write about before Election Day…ever. But I was thinking about the weather, because I was thinking about the concept of tipping points. Water doesn’t turn to ice until it reaches that critical tipping point—thirty-two degrees—that suddenly changes everything. But up until that point, no change happens from forty-five degrees, to forty-four degrees, to forty-three degrees, to forty-two degrees, and so on. Water just stays like, well, water. And in fact, if you were forty-two degrees, you might start to feel a little bit like a failure, right? WHY ISN’T IT HAPPENING? WHY CAN’T I FREEZE THIS WATER??? I SUCK!!!!
And yet, forty-two degrees still has the most critical role of all. Water can’t become ice without it…even though you can’t see any change at forty-two degrees. But forty-two is still a must-happen, no-fucking-joke part of the process: you can’t get to thirty-two without first going through forty-two first. It’s a fundamental part of turning water to a solid. Ice won’t be made without it…even though forty-two can’t see its own effect. (Talk about no job satisfaction!)
The same applies to voting, folks. You might not be able to see the effect that your one little vote has, but we can’t get to the tipping point without your participation. It’s physically impossible. You are forty-two. And your vote is an essential part of the chain reaction that occurs to move us from one place to another.
Nothing about your vote is little. It’s a life-and-death part of a delicate system that depends on the proper ingredients to function correctly. You know, like trying to bake a cake without
cake mix flour? One cup less, and it throws everything off.
And one vote less, and our entire democracy is thrown off, just the same.
So if you are feeling exhausted / over it / what’s the use-ish? If you aren’t planning on going to vote tomorrow because you hate both candidates? If you’re thinking it won’t matter anyway? If you’re convinced you’re wasting your time working within a rigged system?
Apathy is the realest enemy of all.
They’re counting on you to say “fuck it, not like it matters.” They’re counting on you to let everybody else worry about this. They’re counting on you to make excuses and be too busy. They’re counting on you to rig the election.
Show the hell up tomorrow.
It won’t take long.
Go to iwillvote.com, enter your address, and find your local polling place—mine is literally just around the block, at a cute little church. They’re often at places like churches, so you don’t have to be intimidated. It’s way easier than you think: you walk in, fill out a card, and walk out. That’s all it takes. And every neighborhood and county has their own, so you’ll be with people in your local area…not hoards of people from all over the place.
- You can’t wear any political gear for either candidate. No hats, tee-shirts, etc. I know that seems kind of surprising, but it’s been the rule for forever.
- My friend Zack even got hassled for wearing a Black Lives Matter tee shirt, but ultimately prevailed. (The Washington Post posted the video of the exchange here.) That said, I wouldn’t risk it.
- Bring identification.
- Wear a mask.
- If you’re in line by the time the polls are closing, you can’t be turned away. Here in Philadelphia they close at 8pm.
- If you run into any other difficulties casting your ballot and aren’t allowed to vote, you can call this non-partisan hotline dedicated to protecting your rights. The number is 1-866-OUR-VOTE—put it in your phone right now.
Be forty-two in order to vote in forty-six.
I’m personally counting on you.
This, like everything, is how you become unfuckwithable. Like I write in my book:
You must be fearless enough to do the work every day, and you must do it without fail, and you must do it with a clear and excited heart. You must keep showing up. You must trust that if you drive the car one mile every day, eventually you will get to California. This is the simple math that the Dream Zappers like to ignore:
Do thirty push-ups a day, get stronger.
Paint enough watercolors, become an artist.
Raise your hand enough times, become a linchpin.
Whatever you want to do, you can accomplish it with good, old-fashioned cause and effect. We like to glorify it with romantic notions of “I WAS MEANT FOR THISSSS!” but the reality is far less glamorous. Nobody likes hearing that, because it makes us feel less extraordinary. It invalidates our significance. Simply sitting your crotch in a chair and doing the work every single day implies that maybe we aren’t so remarkable at all— that maybe time is the real hero.
But the odds aren’t about luck: it’s about nerve. The nerve to keep going, even when “reasonable” would suggest otherwise. There’s a life hack for you: don’t stop, even when your hands are bleeding.