• Stephen Buckingham

Democracy Task Force Launches Statewide "UU the Vote" Effort

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

“THESE are the times that try [human] souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he[/she] that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Thomas Paine, 1776

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all, disrupting our previously normal lives, forcing us to take precautions, and isolating us from one another. It has impacted our livelihoods and finances, schools and careers, and even our entertainment and social activities.

How we deal with it now will determine how we live after it has passed. Will we make the necessary personal sacrifices to slow its spread, keep ourselves and other safe, and provide the needed resources for our health providers and other essential workers? Will we remain in community with our fellow human beings to serve our mutual needs and help others survive and thrive? Will we hold our elected officials accountable for their leadership and maintain our democratic institutions, including assuring that free, fair elections are held in 2020?

While we are all stressed by the pandemic’s dangers, it has also provided us with opportunities, and we should seize them with enthusiasm. We now have many chances to show generosity by contributing our time and/or resources to support groups fighting the virus and providing for those with specific needs for food, shelter, education, and mental/emotional support. We are also often reminded of the value in reaching out to friends and family to offer support and comfort. These are things we can all do to weather the immediate crisis. But there is more that we can do.

While the pandemic peaks and subsides (as it will undoubtedly do), we can act now to shape the world on the other side of it. We can work to assure that our democracy survives as well. The 2020 election campaigns have been dramatically curtailed, with candidates suspending all gatherings and door-to-door canvasing, and even primary elections have been postponed due to possible exposures that could result from in-person voting. Efforts are underway to implement mail-only voting in many states, and campaigns are scrambling to find ways of reaching prospective voters remotely. This has been happening on a state-by-state basis, with no national strategy yet devised.

In spite of the virus’ restrictions, we believe it is time to seize the moment and take strong action to shape the November election. Our goal is to enlist Maryland UUs in a sustained effort to increase the numbers of people voting for candidates who support our values and positions on issues. We ask that you join us in this important effort.

We know that many Maryland congregations are already working on UU the Vote activities, and we are asking local leaders to join our team to help coordinate and support efforts throughout the state (and in neighboring states as well) by filling out this congregational survey. In addition, anyone can join our Democracy Task Force here, to get plugged into what is happening, help guide our work, and provide messaging, materials and support for congregations. You can join our Facebook group here. Please note, you may have to like our page before you can join the group. Facebook groups are a good way for you to share events, articles and happenings in your congregational area.

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