Posted by: Brad Nixon | November 3, 2020

Election Day 2020

As I write, it’s a few hours until Election Day dawns in the United States on November 3rd.

Perhaps you’ve seen it mentioned in the news.

As a native-born American citizen, I suppose I ought to at least acknowledge that I’m aware a critically important event is reaching its climax.

As it happens, that date will mark the completion of my 11th year of blogging, which began November 4th, 2009.

When I began Under Western Skies, the social media cyberscape was radically different. Facebook, Twitter and Google existed, but with nothing like the all-encompassing sway they exert now. Uncountable other online entities — now frequented by billions of people — were years away from their debut. I was by no means in the first or second wave of worldwide bloggers. Still, the number of people one could reach in 2009 was vastly smaller than the several billion potential readers now online, everywhere, 24×7.

Although my approach to the blog has shifted over the past decade-plus, the nascent social media world was already replete with commenters, pundits and observers of the entire range of human life. Even then, I assumed no one on the planet needed one more voice added to the “current affairs” cacophony.

My “About” page still features a version of my initial approach:

“Politics and religion are not favored subjects.”

The ensuing 11 years seem to’ve borne me out. The online noise level’s risen, the constant battering by voices from every conceivable — and sometimes incomprehensible — perspective has grown more voluminous and omnipresent.

I, meanwhile, have continued to write about interesting places to visit in the American west, books, language, architecture, and that little place in Los Angeles no visitor will ever see. To the outside observer, it’s as if I’ve never noticed that maelstrom of social media swirling around me.

Not so. It’s a choice I’ve made.

Throughout these 11 years, nothing has tested my resolve to avoid diving into the socio-political drama more than the current state of affairs in the U.S.

I remain convinced that if Under Western Skies is to distinguish itself in even the slightest manner, it won’t be by campaigning for freedom of speech, access to healthcare, the inherent rights of all citizens, or the protection of natural resources, wild lands, and the compelling struggle to hold back the looming tide of global warming. It’s not why my readers are here, and it’s not my beat: at least not directly. Others have it covered, from innumerable angles. I hope I suggest my mindset in my writing. If not, then I can only hope the articles are interesting, in and of themselves.

I do wish that, by some means, social media had remained what I thought then it might become: a way to connect. It’s been that for me. This blog has expanded my world. I’ve met innumerable people — virtually — from almost every nation on the planet, with only a literal handful of exceptions.

Since you’re reading, that includes you. Thank you, again, for visiting.

I fear, though, that cyberscape is sorting us into bubbles, smaller and smaller, less-inclusive spheres of interest, erecting walls instead of leaping over them.

I’ve written — for example — about efforts in the U.S. to preserve wild lands and native species. As a result, I’ve met bloggers in the U.K., Poland, Kenya, the Philippines … almost everywhere, who share that interest. I could never have imagined it in 2009.

My blog has crossed borders that I still cannot cross in person without a visa and special permission from a U.S. Consulate. It’s crossed other borders that were once — literally — iron-clad, that have fallen in my lifetime.

Although I have not commented here, I know this election may be the defining moment for — at least — my generation of U.S. citizens. I’ve maintained that I’m not writing here about my personal life and convictions, nor did I set out to write one of the countless number of blogs that are posed that way.

I’ll keep reading, writing about what I read, continue looking up and recounting interesting word etymologies. Once the pandemic recedes some time in 2021, The Counselor and I will travel again, and hope you’ll be interested in seeing what it is we see.

I’ll be interested in what you’re seeing, too, once we can move about.

Although I didn’t foresee it in 2009, writing about etymology has become a recurring theme here, since it’s one of my interests. Here’s a bit of word talk, just so this post has some substance, and not mere chatter.

dem-a-gogue: n. A leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace.”

From two Greek terms for “leader” and “people,” although now freighted with connotation.

Here at the end of this blog post, I’m hard up against my self-imposed 1,000 word limit, but find I need to say something more. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, perhaps the following will serve.

Typically, here, I show a photo of some vast landscape under a western sky.

This is a western scene, but I’m in a city, not hiking or exploring, but stating what I believe to be the case. I made the rule, and I get to break it, too. I haven’t lived 69 years to regard this as just another Election Day.

That’s what I say.

Happy Election Day. I’ll see you tomorrow for the 11th anniversary of Under Western Skies.

© Brad Nixon 2020. “Demagogue” definition from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, © Houghton Mifflin, New York, 2000. Photo © M. Vincent 2020 used by kind permission.


  1. I hope things go alright in the USA, I’ve heard that so many businesses are boarding up because people are concerned about civil unrest. Its crazy how much the political climate has changed in the last 10 years. I think the politics in Canada is a lot more civil, and we are doing decent at managing the Corronavirus. If the USA can shift so drasticly in just 10 years, it can happen in any country. The thing that concerns me the most, is that if either side wins there will still be 50% of the population who is greatly disappointed and that things the election results are illigitimate. Plus Donald Trump will add fuel to the fire and make a bad situation much worse. He has constantly tried to spark division and is using anger to rille his base up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean, thank you, sincerely, for your concern. Yes, the level of civil discourse has disintegrated here to a considerable degree.
      Yes, I think there will be SOME disruptions. I urge you and everyone to remember that only the disruptions will make the news, however few. The tens of millions of Americans who vote peacefully will not appear in the news. The saying in the journalism biz is, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Not all is dark. At least not yet. Carry on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, those are usually pretty rare cases when riots happen etc. But it is still very concerning.


      • Agreed.


  2. What it “looks like” on the surface, on mid Election Day, is a nation about to tear itself apart. I sincerely hope that is NOT the outcome.

    What is clear that, somehow or other, the USA needs to comes to terms with the way that voting is done….. it needs serious reform!

    For a federal election there needs to be a common process across the federation for voting, that cannot be “gamed” by individual states or political parties…. a real universal franchise, where voters cannot be disenfranchised by a plethora of clearly shonky methods.

    Other democratic federations manage to do it successfully!


    • Thank you, Bill. I understand. I know it looks like utter chaos. Bear with us now. We have work to do.


  3. Will today be July, 1969, or Sept., 2001? I’m an Independent Voter; but my heart is racing, I’ve been sweating as I watch the returns come in, and my hands are ice cold. In my 48 years of voting every election, I’ve never felt like this before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keep voting. Let us remember the words of Winston Churchill: “When you’re going through hell, keep going!”


  4. I’m not sure I’ve ever read your personal philosophy about your blog. This was most interesting and informative! Keep up the good blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doing my best. May be warmer there in north-central Indiana today than it is here in southern California. Cold front blowing in from North Korea or somewhere. Enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is quite (unusually) warm here today. I always enjoy your posts and am trying to catch up…slowly.


      • Have heard from brothers south of you (Carmel) and east of you (Vermilion, OH), laughing that it’s warmer there than here. Call me in February, and we’ll see how we’re doing then.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I imagine they took advantage since they don’t get much opportunity to rub it in about the weather. I also imagine you’ve done that plenty yourself during the winter months. 😉


      • Unspoken family code (4 siblings) is that you don’t take credit for local weather you don’t control. Includes warmer winter days in California, but also lovely Spring days or beautiful Fall days with autumn leaves in the Midwest. Promotes peace in the family.

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL ok. I have 6 siblings…I get it. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

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