Home Opinion OPINION: Democrats Discuss — Adjustment, safety and fighting for change: Politics amidst a pandemic

OPINION: Democrats Discuss — Adjustment, safety and fighting for change: Politics amidst a pandemic

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Meah McCallister is a member of the Ohio University College Democrats. She is a senior studying creative writing and minoring in political science. The following article reflects the opinion and views of the author and does not represent those of the Ohio University College Democrats.

Please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political.

In a time rocked by uncertainty, injustices and squabbling leadership, the thought of organizing campaign efforts sounds more than a little daunting. Everything is unstable at the moment, and it will likely be this way for some time, but that doesn’t mean that we can just give up in the battle for change.

This summer, I started an internship with the Athens County Democratic Party. Having worked with the party before, I already have a great working relationship with many of the wonderful Athens community members that give their time to try and enact change. In the wake of a global pandemic, I naturally assumed that enthusiasm for campaigning would ebb, volunteers would be scarce and planning would be stalled. However, the Athens County Democrats have never been more energized or focused.

My work began with the first Central and Executive Committee meeting for the party in May. While I hold the internship with the Athens Democrats, I am also a member of the central committee for the county. The first meeting since social distancing began was obviously a major adjustment for everyone. The meeting was conducted over Zoom and new members were sworn in. It was the first step in getting campaigning back on track.

While it is incredibly reassuring that our state’s leadership seems to be taking this pandemic seriously — especially in comparison to our national leaders — it is apparent that it is not enough. Gov. Mike DeWine has certainly made a distinction between himself and other Republican leaders across the country, seeing as he is still emphasizing the importance of social distancing and wearing masks. However, the number of deaths in Ohio is still rising every day, and it is evident every time I am in public that people do not seem concerned enough to wear masks.

In the midst of a global pandemic with lives being lost every single day, it seems ridiculous that wearing a mask — or simply believing in the virus at all — is now a political stance. Wearing a mask is not difficult, is not oppression and can save lives. It seems like a no-brainer. 

Pushing out the former director of the Ohio Department of Health, Dr. Amy Action — who was trying to save Ohioans — was a serious mistake. She was taking the appropriate steps to make a change in this state and it was one that we desperately needed. People cannot simply decide that this pandemic is over or that it is safe to ignore the guidelines put in place by health officials.

That being said, the Athens County Democrats are not taking any chances. We have adjusted to this new way of life, choosing to be smart and safe while we fight for change. 

After weeks of adapting, our office on 74 E. State St. is back open from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, we are taking the necessary precautions of requiring masks and social distancing while in the building. We have committee and subcommittee meetings over Zoom calls where passionate community members are planning and organizing. A surprisingly large number of volunteers are enthusiastic and ready to do any remote tasks that they can. We have phone and text-banking planned, postcards with information about voting underway, social media efforts ramping up, information about the safety of voting by mail being spread and so much more. This pandemic has shaken the foundation that we all stand on, but where some are dividing themselves with foolish stances on something so serious, the Athens County Democratic Party is more unified than ever. We will continue to fight for what is right, raise up voices and campaign for necessary and vital change in this country. Follow oursocial media, get involved and never stop educating yourself!

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