I am very proud to say that earlier this week, I went to one of my identified early voting sites
in metro Atlanta and cast my votes in the mid-term election of 2018! This year's voting experience has seemed more vital than even, as our country and our democracy is facing real challenges on many fronts. Now maybe more than ever the voice of the people needs to be heard not only in demonstrations/social media bursts or blog posts( yours truly totally included) but at the voting booth all across our country and across all ages, demographics, etc! Our country and our democracy needs us to vote now!!
Walking out of the polling location, I had a complete flashback to a moment coming out of the 2000 election where I was taught a very valuable lesson on this same point, that the voice of our country needs to be heard through the voting booth. It was in 2001 or 2002 when I was a senior marketing executive at Coke, where I was sent to a meeting held at Home Depot headquarters to a meeting of Atlanta based companies being convened by Norman Lear. For those who don't know, Mr. Lear is an award winning ( Emmy, Peabody, National Medal for the Arts, Kennedy Center Honors, etc.) writer, director and producer who was the creator of the TV shows "All in the Family," The Jeffersons," "Good Times," "Maude," to name just a few. He had convened this meeting to gain support from Atlanta based companies for a personal project of national interest. Compelling and mysterious... I was hooked!
As we gathered in the board room at Home Depot, we all quickly caught a glimpse of what the meeting was all about! Norman Lear had purchased one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence ( a life size facsimile was in the center of the room) and he wanted to take it on tour across America and he wanted our support. While I was totally blown away by the presentation, I sheepishly asked what his objective was for the tour. He quietly responded that " a healthy democracy is an active democracy" and that the sole purpose of his tour was to expand voter registration and turnout. He reflected back to the 2000 presidential election and commented that it was a major setback for our democracy that the election had been decided by a few hundred "hanging chads" in Florida while voter turnout nationally was only 54% of eligible voters... as he said the voice of the people was not "heard" in 2000.
While we can't go back eighteen years, we can take action now! This is a moment in our county's history where we need less complaining and MORE VOTING! Less anguished social media threads aghast at the latest tweet or commentary and MORE VOTING! Fewer journalists or amateur blog writers wringing their hands at the state of our democracy (again me 100% included) and MORE VOTING! Talk to your friends, your neighbors, your kids and their friends and find ways to encourage and help them to vote! Get absentee ballots to your kids in college (and even to their friends!) Help folks find their way to their polling locations or send around directions to early voting sights ( as my friend Pete did with the links above) but vote yourselves and help others to vote!! Vote to help our country and our democracy.... Vote for America!
postscript: walking to my car yesterday at the polling spot, a fellow voter in a Braves t-shirt slapped me on the back ( a total stranger so I was a bit startled for sure) and said "this is a great day in America!" While I have no idea of his name, background , political orientation, etc. I agreed with him ... any day we get a chance to vote is a "great day in America!"