Take part in the ultimate protest by voting on Nov. 6

Sharon Canner, 75, and her husband Steve Canner, 81, of Reston, Va., hold up letters spelling

Sharon Canner, 75, and her husband Steve Canner, 81, of Reston, Va., hold up letters spelling "VOTE" during a protest of the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court with the group Herndon Reston Indivisible, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, outside of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

When Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court and sworn in during a private ceremony, I watched protesters flood the streets once again.

The throngs of angry dissenters reminded me of the protests that took place after Donald Trump won the White House. They reminded me of the protesters who crowded into airports to oppose Trump’s ban on travelers from several majority Muslim countries. They reminded me, quite frankly, that none of these political events could have happened if Americans had fully engaged in the ultimate protest — the vote.

The vote is the moment when the people decide on policies . The vote is the instrument we use to shape our future. The vote is the voice that cuts through political jargon. And on Nov. 6, during critical midterm elections, the vote will represent the most meaningful way to protest and bring about change.

For those who claim their vote doesn’t matter, I would argue otherwise. Take, for example, the 2016 presidential election. Those who did not vote in that contest did indeed cast a ballot.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

By refusing to vote, they chose to see thousands of immigrant children snatched from their parents at the border. By refusing to vote, they chose to have a man facing multiple sexual assault allegations elevated to the White House. By refusing to vote, they allowed a man facing similar allegations to be appointed to the Supreme Court for life.

So while I understand the anger of those who disagree with the country’s current direction — and applaud their right to protest in the streets — the policies won’t change unless Americans vote en masse.

While dissenters protest, life-changing cases are working their way through the courts. When those cases make their way to a Supreme Court that now has a firm conservative majority thanks to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, I doubt that America’s most vulnerable constituencies will come out on top.

It pains me to say it, but here is what I believe. With the court’s conservative majority ruling on key cases, affirmative action will be gone, police brutality will be justified, voter ID will be required, civil rights will be slashed, women’s rights will be discarded, and consumer protections will be stripped.

With the disappearance of each of those rights, there will be protests. But protest is reactionary. If we are to take control of our county’s destiny, we must vote.

Vote like your children are depending on you. Vote like your rights are at stake. Vote like your life is on the line, because, in my view, it is.

As a member of a right-leaning Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh has a lifetime to try to undo everything my ancestors died for. But in four weeks, America has the chance to balance the scales. We can shift the legislature to the left, thereby providing the kind of political variety that makes our government work best.

The only way to do that is to vote.

You want to protest racism? Vote.

You want to express your anger about sexual assault? Vote.

You want people who better represent you? Vote.

Men like Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh get all the power in the world when people like you don’t vote.

But on Nov. 6, you and all the rest of us can take some of that power back. And all we have to do is embrace one word — vote.

You can hear Solomon Jones weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon on Praise 107.9 FM.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal