election checklist, week six & seven.

September 8, 2020
use your platform | election checklist

We have 56 days until the 2020 election in the US. That’s 8 weeks during which I’ll be trying my damnedest to get leaders elected who will move the dial toward equity, inclusion, and progressive policies that will do the least harm and the greatest good.

I love lists. I love checking things off of lists. I’d hazard the guess that lots of folks reading this do, too. So, every Monday until November, I’ll be listing one specific action to take in preparation of the election. Electoral politics won’t solve everything, but voting is a tool in the box and it needs to be sharpened, oiled, and ready for action.

Week Six & Seven: Use your platform.

A twofer to make up for my lack of post during our move last week:

I am voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I am not entertaining conversations about the incumbent.

A vote for the incumbent is a vote for racism, for misogyny, for a reckless disregard for human life. It is a vote against science and understanding. It’s a vote for isolation. It’s a vote against art and culture and education. It’s a vote against children and families. It’s a vote against the elderly, the poor, the ill. It’s a vote against democracy. It’s a vote against our planet. It’s a vote for chaos and disorder. There is no such thing as voting for a single issue in this election, or ever. If you cast your vote for the current administration because you are fiscally conservative, or because you oppose abortion, or because you want to preserve your unmitigated right to bear arms, you are voting for all the rest of it, too. 

Reasonable people cannot disagree on this.

In 2016, when I wrote that I was voting for Hillary Clinton, I was gobsmacked by the reaction in the comments section of that post. I was horrified, but I allowed the comments to play out, cowed by the feeling that I should allow people to voice their opinions, however much they differed from my own. I won’t be doing that this time. 

People often thank me for “using my platform.” I hope each person reading this realizes that each of us has a platform. I hope that this week (and last) and for all the weeks ahead, folks who come across my space online will be motivated to think about their own spheres of influence and the messages they are sending both quietly and right out loud. There is no such thing as being apolitical. There is no time for silence. I hope that many of you will use your platform—whatever that looks like—to voice a commitment to a United States of America that does not have the current administration at the helm. You don’t need to argue or debate with anyone. You don’t need to give space to hateful rhetoric. You may simply state, unequivocally, what it is that you stand for.


And don’t forget:

Check your registration.

Make a voting plan.

Send some postcards.

Complete the Census.

+ Look past the presidency.

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  • Reply Sarah September 8, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Heartily agree. Thanks for sharing your stance here.

  • Reply J Evans September 8, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    I am in complete agreement with every word you wrote. I hope you and your family are settling into your new home. Looking forward to posts and pictures of the new place.
    Have a beautiful and blessed day. Stay safe and healthy.

  • Reply Mary Beth September 8, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    Thank you so much for this! This gives me much needed hope.

    • Reply Michelle Morrone September 8, 2020 at 5:51 pm

      Yes to all of this! Thank you for your continuous care of our environment and ALL the people on it.

  • Reply julie September 8, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    thank you.
    thank you.
    thank you!

  • Reply Angela September 8, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    YES! My 82 year old mother, my husband, and I have been writing GOTV postcards through PostcardsToVoters.org, thanks to your suggestion in an earlier Election Checklist. We’ve also turned 5 other people onto that group, and they are all writing postcards too! It gives me something positive to do, which is rare for me in an election cycle. I usually just obsess over headlines and polls. This is much more constructive!

  • Reply Milou September 8, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    100% Agree!

  • Reply Judith Ross September 8, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Yes. Well said, and thank you.

  • Reply Sara September 8, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    YES. YES. With you one hundred million percent. Though I eschew stuff and am a small space dweller with three kids too, I could NOT handle one more ****p flag without countering. My Biden/Harris flag, shirt and coffee mug will arrive Friday. I will wear/use them *everyday* until the election; the flag is for my mom’s front porch.

    Thank you for these posts! My sister got the postcards and though I was too late for them, I was able to donate.

    We’re fighting the good necessary life saving fight. Keep it up.

  • Reply Alessandra September 8, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Happy to see your post today. In Canada, we are rooting for the USA to choose compassion, democracy, women, family, the environment, peace, community, health and love over anger, division, self-interest, hatred, violence and authoritarianism.

    These elections have a profound impact on us as well and we just feel helpless watching everything play out down there. I hope 45’s voter suppression tactics don’t work.

    I wish there was more we could do for our neighbours ♥️ Sending love and hope.

  • Reply Janet September 8, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    Well said. Good for you!

  • Reply Carol September 8, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you for your clarity and commitment, and amen to every word.

  • Reply Anna September 8, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Could not have put it more clearly and succinctly. Amen, amen, amen.

  • Reply Kristina September 8, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you, thank you! I love the way you put it and will proudly vote for Biden-Harris this year.

  • Reply Sonya Gropman September 8, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Yes, yes, YES! As I find myself frequently saying these days: this election is not about politics, but about humanitarianism, ethics, justice, and the survival of our country’s DEMOCRACY. please, everyone, do everything you possibly can to get out the VOTE. ✨✨

  • Reply Victoria September 8, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks to your suggestion Erin, I just put my postcards (via Postcards to Voters) in the mail a few days ago. This was my first time getting more involved in the cause (other than voting, of course). Thanks so much for your continued time and efforts. Your voice is heard!

  • Reply Kaitlin September 8, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you. I 100% agree.

    (Please ignore my previous comment. The “don’t” shouldn’t have been there!! I’m typing on my phone while holding my baby.)

  • Reply Amy Sjoquist September 8, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    I wholeheartedly and gratefully agree.

  • Reply Mari September 8, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Yes!!! We made the move back to the US because we wanted to join the fight. I’ve written over a thousand postcards and counting.
    Not going to lie, we have had moments of dreaming and applying to jobs in the UK. But we must stay, we must fight, we must never give up.
    Much love from DC.

  • Reply Victoria Ashmore September 8, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Thanks to your suggestion Erin, I just put my postcards (via Postcards to Voters) in the mail a few days ago. This was my first time getting more involved in the cause (other than voting, of course). Thanks so much for your continued time and efforts. Your voice is heard!

  • Reply laura September 8, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    This is an election year where I truly can’t imagine how any of us, in any party, could possibly disagree that the man in office must go.

    • Reply Kellyn September 8, 2020 at 7:33 pm

      I’m related to many who desparately want a second Trump term — and I feel tremendous shame and disappointment.

  • Reply Maggie September 8, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    I love the reminder that we all have a platform, no matter who we are.

  • Reply C September 8, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    Thank you.
    I don’t know whether I feel “cowed” or rather want to understand, reflect back what I hear, and see if common ground can be found and/or realizations can be had. I always, always struggle with the most effective ways to understand and be understood. Which way will make the most change based on the other persons own realizations and not merely me being frustrated, and bewildered? Of course sometimes it also comes down to self preservation and realizing that I/you simply don’t have the time/space/energy/heart for any more talk if it’s not Already supremely Evident. I honor your choices Erin. And your words.

  • Reply Elaine September 8, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    . There is no other choice – everything is on the line. Your words are perfect. Thank you.

  • Reply Liz September 8, 2020 at 8:18 pm


  • Reply K September 8, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    Very well put, Erin! 56 days of hard work ahead of us!

  • Reply LindaSonia September 8, 2020 at 8:30 pm


  • Reply Crystel Hardin September 8, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    Beautiful post. As always, thank you for your thoughtful words. I’m writing postcards to voters this week/weekend.

  • Reply Kaitlyn N. September 9, 2020 at 12:11 am

    There can be no other conscionable choice. You’re a true patriot. Glad you’re not letting anyone tell you otherwise.

  • Reply gm September 9, 2020 at 12:53 am

    Totally agree. And I’m a pro-life, Catholic Democrat— anyone who thinks a Republican president or even a Republican-dominated Supreme Court will put an end to Roe v. Wade is kidding themselves and falling for the right-wing culture wars. Repealing Roe v. Wade would just send it to the states, and most would uphold it— I remember reading that a repeal of Roe, which single-issue voters on this issue hold as their goal, would reduce abortions by 10%. They’ve been fooled into thinking it would be down to almost nothing, and the party that courts their votes hasn’t bothered to correct that delusion, We can reduce the number of abortions, which I think most reasonable people would agree is a good goal to have, by supporting birth control access, quality childcare, financial support for low-income families, healthcare for all, school lunches, equal wages for women especially women of color, paid family leave— not by supporting Donald Trump. That’s why the number of abortions in the US hit its lowest point since 1973 in 2015, under a real president, President Obama.

    • Reply Lindsay September 9, 2020 at 9:46 pm

      I’m glad you aren’t planning on voting for Trump. But if we actually care about women having control over their bodies, the starting point of conversations about abortion cannot be anything other than: free abortion on demand. Abortions for any woman who wants one, for any reason. (And the idea that women get third-trimester abortions just for fun is a) absurd and b) still a matter of bodily autonomy, however uncomfortable this might make us feel). Once we’ve secured equal access to abortion for all women, then I’m fine with talking about how we reduce the number of abortions, because, in general, reducing medical procedures through preventative measures is a good thing. But until the right to an abortion is absolutely secure, I am profoundly uninterested in worrying about the number of abortions. However many abortions happen, that is at least as many (though likely fewer) than the number of abortions that women needed and wanted to have.

  • Reply Monica babich September 9, 2020 at 1:01 am

    Amen, sister

  • Reply B September 9, 2020 at 3:49 am

    Wishing you well from Australia. Looking forward to feeling safer even from over here. Please vote for a person with good mental health.

  • Reply Sue September 9, 2020 at 6:28 am

    Wonderfully put,.

    A I am British and live in the UK I can only hope and pray that things go the right way during your elections this time. To sit and watch on our news and read on social media about what is happening in your wonderful, powerful country and see how THAT man, I cannot bring myself to type his name, is bringing everything you used to stand for to it’s knees with his Tweets and idiotic speeches, and to see the flag waving T supporters fawn all over him makes me sad beyond belief … and scared for the future of all the good, decent people of your country.

  • Reply Pat S September 9, 2020 at 11:22 am

    YES!!! A thousand times YES!!!

  • Reply Maya September 9, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Yes, for the sake of our children, yes!

  • Reply Mags September 9, 2020 at 1:57 pm


  • Reply Jean September 9, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    Thank you for the work you do. I understand moving on from discussion with those who hold that Trump is in any way a justifiable vote, and continue on with all the work and action that you take on so many issues. At the same time, those discussions are still needed and can be done by those of us who know many close to us (and the closest of family – parents and in-laws) that are voting Trump for various reasons, ranging from they actually like and support Trump to life-long Republicans who cannot deviate party-line vote. For the latter, one cannot strip the person of Trump from the party, because due to the support of and the other side of silence from the Republicans, he has now become the Republican party and the party promulgates the dark racist, sexist, hate and fear mongering alive in this country. And this party has allowed such propaganda and rhetoric, that knowing those that support Trump, this noise becomes truth for people (propaganda does work). However, those supporting this party and movement are not to be left off the hook. I will stop my father-in-law from making a racist joke and make it into a discussion whether he likes it or not, I will reply-to-all to family members who send right-wing propaganda emails with an educational (truth filled) rebuttal and also let the college aged nieces and nephews receiving this that we must stand up and use our voice and hold people accountable, I will not let my parents off the hook when they detest Trump but still vote party-line and will continue to discuss and listen and question and at the end conclude with a vote from Trump is an approval and support for all that you detest and makes you a voice for that and not your true values that you raised us with and we hold true today. Democracy. Humanity. Honesty. Respect. Caring and Charity. Empathy. Understanding of Position. Truth. Accountability. Continue on, all, and keep those voices and action strong!

    • Reply Lindy September 10, 2020 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you Jean . This is the reality. Our reality sadly.. At this moment the Senate didn’t pass the skinny bill and my unemployment of $55 a week ends. Abuse I only am getting paid on 2 classes even though I teach 21 a week. My husband unemployed too.
      Thanks for reminder not to let people get to comfortable in their positions.. I like to ask questions. My brother has alienated people being incredibly aggressive. I also know a few T’s and don’t discuss where I can. People will vote for the Supreme Court for sure.
      How I some it up.. I would want that personality near me with a 10 foot barge pole.
      And I just keep thinking of the Holocaust.. it’s a slippery slope.. or a downhill avalanche.

  • Reply Janean September 9, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    You did not mince words. Thank you. May we all radically love ourselves and each other through the honorable act of voting for Biden/Harris.

  • Reply Lindsay September 9, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree that there are better ways to spend your energy than arguing with those who fundamentally deny the worth and legitimacy of some lives. A number of years ago, I was a member of a student Palestine solidarity organization, and I would regularly hand out flyers for events with other students at my university. I quickly realized that there was no point in talking to someone who would broach no criticism of Israel, and that doing so would only mean I didn’t get to connect with people who actually wanted to learn more and get involved. The same goes for Trump’s supporters. They are not people we need to (or can) persuade, in part because if only a small percentage of non-voters felt compelled to vote, the Republicans would be routed. That said, there are plenty of people who have very legitimate reasons for holding deep reservations about voting for Biden, even if they would never in a million years vote for Trump. Victims of sexual assault, for example. I could never argue to someone who has experienced rape that they should vote for someone who has been credibly accused of rape. (And unless we only care about “Me Too” when it is convenient, reasonable people have to acknowledge that by all measures that matter, this *is* a credible accusation.) With Harris, certainly victims of our criminal injustice system may well hesitate to vote for someone who believed it was just fine to lock up them up and throw away the key. None of this is to discount the profound crisis of democracy that Trump represents. I have never voted for a Democrat for president, because I have voted instead for candidates that shared my values. I have always rejected the premise that I owe the Democrats my vote even though they have never done anything to earn it (besides not being Republicans). I still reject this premise. Even so, and perhaps it is age or parenthood, but (and I am almost embarrassed to admit this to my younger self; the last lines of Phil Ochs’ “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” come to mind) I will vote for Biden in November. HOWEVER: we are absolutely committing to another Trump in another four years if we do not pair our injunctions to vote for Biden (because who else can we vote for) with an insistence that we do everything in our power to force him to make the kinds of changes that will actually address the profound state of crisis we are in (and were in, and have been in, for decades). It is unconscionable to insist to anyone who cares about our future, and the future of our children, that we must vote for Biden/Harris unless we ALSO insist that we will have to do so much more. Bernie put it well in his DNC speech–vote for Biden and then fight like hell. There is no reason to expect change on the scale we require from the Democrats without pressure from below. Please don’t just commit to voting, or getting out the vote. Commit to the change we need–reparations, Black Lives Matter, the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, a living wage, reproductive justice–and commit to the fight (and it will be a fight, no matter who is in office) to make it happen. The people who despise Trump but who cannot vote for Biden and Harris are NOT our enemies.

  • Reply Anna September 10, 2020 at 7:02 am

    Thank you Erin! I live in Europe but have family in the US, so am following everything and just hope that the nightmare will be soon over. Rooting for you!
    And good luck on your move:)

  • Reply Lindy September 14, 2020 at 7:26 am

    I love how you will not even talk about President Trump. How close minded of you! If you never hear the other side, you will never make an informed decision. I am not saying that you should vote for Trump, just that all sides should be carefully examined before making an educated decision.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 14, 2020 at 8:14 am

      Oh, no. He’s been full considered and determined to be entirely unfit for office.

    • Reply Rebecca September 15, 2020 at 3:49 pm

      I also LOVE that she will not even talk about him.

  • Reply Rebecca September 15, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Agreed, wholeheartedly! Anxiously waiting to receive my ballot and vote Biden/Harris.

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