A View from One Middle-Class Midwestern Precinct

Barry Dredze
4 min readNov 6, 2022
Township Contingent lined up for a 4th of July Parade in the Precinct (photo: collection of the author)

Election Day 2022 slowly approaches while Halloween rapidly fades in the proverbial rearview mirror. The News business has spent all year pushing a narrative that a Republican congressional flip is a foregone conclusion. Lately, I’ve seen stories about Republicans “closing the gap” with Democrats. Have fun on Draft Kings and Fan Duel with analyses like that.

Fight-or-flight contingencies have frequently and involuntarily been racing around in my head since I finished the last lap around the precinct where I have been running for and elected (unopposed) as Democratic Committeeperson every two years since 2006. The job of a precinct committeeperson can be described as knowing where your voters are and getting their hearts and minds and butts to the polls. We are well past the canvassing stage, or knowing where our voters are, and are deep into the get-out-the-vote (GOTV) stage, in which I am trying to keep the precinct Blue as it has been since only two years ago, and with brand new district maps since then. My struggle is that, even if all goes well here in Big Blue Illinois, there is maybe half a country out there that seems to be fine with being led by a fascist death cult.

It is heartbreaking to consider just how dim and easily fooled that large elements of the American electorate can be by lining up to willfully vote away the public policies that have been in place since FDR, policies that made this one of the greatest nations in the history of human civilization. Faced with open threats to the very proposition that all people are created with equal opportunities in their pursuit of happiness, way too many of us appear to be all too willing to take a huge step toward civil suffocation under a formal system of Every Man for Himself.

Triggered by the JB Pritzker button on my denim jacket, the bagger at the checkout station of our local grocery remarked that “he’s got to go.” I asked why. For a million reasons, the union worker said. I asked him to name one. After stammering a bit, he answered with the new cashless bail policy passed under the Safe-T Act. Republicans have been hammering away about how the legislation going into effect on New Year’s Day is a “get out of jail free” card for killers and rapists and would result in scenes from The Purge playing out all over our nice, quiet…

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Barry Dredze

Just another mortal, tweaking my cognitive map on the fly.