“These are the times that try men’s souls,” wrote Thomas Paine, words that sharply reverberate today. In the midst of a catastrophic and chaotic pandemic he facilitated, President Trump is now attempting to steal the presidential election.

He makes no secret of what he is doing and there’s a reason for that. Trump knows he’s down in most polls and wants those voting for his opponent to believe their ballots won’t be counted, thus discouraging Joe Biden voters.

The president has enlisted the Justice Department and the U.S. Postal Service in his nefarious scheme while constantly bellowing about “millions” of fraudulent mail-in/absentee ballots. But as FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before Congress last week, his agency has found no evidence to support Trump’s bogus claim.

The Brennan Center for Justice notes on its web site that its, “seminal report, The Truth About Voter Fraud, conclusively demonstrated that most allegations of fraud turn out to be baseless…numerous other studies, including one commissioned by the Trump administration, have reached the same conclusion.”

Every previous president has bowed to the decision Americans make in the voting booth, accepting the result when the people speak. Even Al Gore, who watched Supreme Court conservatives award George W. Bush the presidency in 2000, graciously conceded because, as he said, it was what was best for America.

Trump has repeatedly declared there may not be a peaceful transition of power if he’s defeated, heads I win, tails you lose his calculation, as if he alone decides who the president will be for the next four years. For him, it’s what’s best for Trump, not America.

There has always been a measure of apathy and cynicism among the electorate where voting is concerned. But this election is more consequential than any other in our lifetimes. We are on the cusp of becoming a fascist state, one ruled by a dictatorial president who has shattered our democratic norms and institutions while ignoring and even flaunting the law.

Lest you believe he will somehow mellow in a second term, Trump’s past behavior is the best predictor of what he will do with four more years and that’s a frightening prospect. We patriots cannot, we must not allow that to happen.

We are the firewall, the only force that can stop Trump on November 3. We do that by ignoring the president’s blather, the nonsense mouthed by his media lapdogs, the Russian disinformation all over the internet, and we vote.

We do whatever it takes, no matter how long it takes, no matter how many obstacles Republicans throw in our way, and we cast that precious ballot for Biden and down ballot Democrats, because Trump’s GOP lickspittles, including Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, must be held accountable for the damage this president has done.

First, we make sure we are registered to vote. Then we locate the polling place to which we’re assigned. We have our identification ready. We vote early if possible.

If we’re casting an absentee/mail-in ballot, we request it now if we haven’t done so already. When we vote – and this is vital – we make sure the ballot is filled out exactly as prescribed. If we fail to do that, the ballot will be thrown out. When you mail the ballot, be sure it has the correct postage and it arrives well before election day. In Cobb County you can also use ballot drop-off boxes. Find out where they are today.

“The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman,” Paine continued. “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

Paine was thinking of the coming war when he wrote those words in 1776. He knew talk of liberty was cheap, that there was no substitute for committing one’s all to throwing off British rule. During that war, there was abject discouragement among the patriots who chose to fight the most powerful army in the world; the bitter winter at Valley Forge comes to mind, a time when everything must have seemed hopeless.

Nobody is asking voters fed up with Trump to endure such a brutal ordeal. But Americans who think their vote won’t matter or those who simply don’t care should take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by those on the battlefield that ensure they have a vote at all.

This is not a time to shrink from the service of your country. It’s a time to do your patriotic duty and resoundingly vote Donald Trump out of office.

Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, writer and author who lives in Kennesaw. You can contact him through his website at kevinemmetfoley.com.



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