I had mentioned last week that I was going to discuss the book The Art of Choosing in this week’s blog entry, but because of circumstances and a heavy work load this past week I have not yet finished the book. I’d rather wait until I’ve completed it to give my impressions and share some of the conclusions I will have reached as a result.
But I do want to talk about choice, a specific choice, which will be coming up soon for all of us here in the U.S., but which many people may forgo. I am talking about voting on November 6th; this is a very important election for all of us, and will determine the country’s direction for some time to come. We need to make the choice as to what kind of country we want this to be, and every vote is important. Starting today, and each weekend until the election, I will be calling registered voters on behalf of the President to urge them to be sure to vote and not let apathy keep them from casting their ballots.
I first became involved in a political campaign in 1970 when, at age 16, two friends and I volunteered to help elect John J. Gilligan as Governor of Ohio. We were too young to vote ourselves, but we cheerfully wore green banners and straw hats and passed out leaflets, encouraging people to vote for then-candidate Gilligan (who went on to win and did become Governor of Ohio). It was an exciting time and we felt gratified to have a part in the campaign. Then in 1974 I became involved in the campaign of Charles “Pug” Ravenel for Governor of South Carolina. I typed memos and answered phones in the campaign office, went door-to-door and talked to people about the candidate and urged them to vote. In this case, Mr. Ravenel was disqualified late in the campaign due to seemingly not having met the state’s 5-year residency requirement and therefore did not complete his run, but up until that point it was a gratifying experience.
After that, although I voted and encouraged others to do so, I didn’t become involved in another campaign until 2008. I decided at this point I wanted to become a part of history, and volunteered to make phone calls to get out the vote. I enjoyed doing this, as I like talking with people, and it was truly an eye-opening experience, mainly because of the misinformation and outright lies people were choosing to believe about then-candidate Obama. I spoke with many people in my area and was floored to discover that these college-educated folks persisted in choosing to believe some emails they’d received with this misinformation, rather than checking out the facts for themselves. I lived in a heavily Republican district at that time and felt rather like a salmon swimming upstream during the campaign, though Florida did go for President Obama that year.
I hadn’t planned on becoming involved in the campaign this time around, but because of a growing realization of how pivotal this election is, I felt I had to volunteer. I now live in a heavily Democratic area and my state will very likely go for the President, so most of my calling will be to registered voters in swing states, such as Florida and Ohio, to strongly encourage them to make sure they cast their ballots. If you are a registered voter in the U.S., VOTE!
(Note: I do not plan to become involved in a political debate in this blog, so comments that are intended to start one will be deleted)