There’s an old saying that you should never discuss sex, politics or religion in polite company. People tend to have very strong views on these subjects and discomfort can arise when we enter into discourse about these topics.
Important decisions will be made next week
In the United States, a very important election will take place next week. Not only will we select a President and Vice President to run our country for the next four years, but also there are state and local elections to be decided. We are selecting our leaders… those who will have significant influence over our personal, state and national economies, our freedoms and rights, and our relationship with the rest of the world. That’s big stuff. That’s worth talking about, even in polite company!
Enduring the campaign storm
Are you tired of all the negative campaign advertising? I am. It’s frightening how much money is being spent on TV/radio ads, direct mail, internet advertising – mostly containing political messages about how bad the other candidate is, rather than the issues and solutions.
I found the presidential debates to be informative yet a little painful to watch, as all of the candidates stepped over the line of civility to do “battle” with their opponent. No doubt the candidates thoroughly prepared for these debates. Groomed, coached and scripted by their “handlers,” the candidates did reveal reveal their character in these debates.
Watch this YouTube video on the history of presidential debates and the important role that they play. Below is my favorite insight:
“In a time when the campaigns are so carefully scripted, the televised debate is the unscripted moment where maybe the real personality or the character of the candidate shows through.” – Sam Tanenhaus, book review editor, The New York Times.
Help shape the future – VOTE
In this blog, my goal is not to tell you how to vote or who or what to vote for, but rather to encourage you to exercise your right to vote. In fact, you have a responsibility to vote and your vote matters!
Over the weekend, I attended the Connecticut Money Conference for Women, co-hosted by YWCA Hartford Region and the Office of Connecticut State Treasurer, Denise L. Nappier. CEO Deborah Ullman opened the conference by making a plea to the 400+ attendees to “Help shape the future, VOTE! Get to know the candidates and their stances on the issues that matter to you.”
In the 2008 presidential election, an estimated 130 million Americans or 64 percent of the electorate turned out, making 2008 the year with the highest percentage turnout in generations. It will be interesting to see if the voter turnout exceeds this level in 2012. Of course, YOU can help make that happen by making a point to get out the vote next Tuesday.
Here are a few suggestions on how to prepare yourself to vote next Tuesday:
- Make sure you are registered to vote. Contact your town hall or city council and make sure your name is on the list of registered voters!
- Know where your voting station is (location) and their hours of operation
- Block out time on your calendar to vote on Nov 6th. Don’t wait until the end of the day. Voting is more important than any meeting you could attend that day.
- Encourage others in your network to vote. Use your social media sites to post the positive message “Get out the VOTE.”
- If you manage people, allow time for you and for them to go out and vote. Reduce the meeting load on voting day.
- Do research ahead of time to learn more about the candidates in your local and state-wide election. Understand the issues and where they stand on them. Vote for people, not just political parties.
- Bring a photo ID with you to the polling station.
- (optional) Take your children with you to the polling station, so they can experience the voting community. This is modeling a best practice. Discuss why voting is an important part of civic duty with your children.
- Wear your “I Voted Today” sticker proudly
- Whoever wins the election, make a commitment that you will work with that leader, not against him/her. We have real problems to solve. Collaboration and compromise are essential for progress.
Your Networking Goal for the Week
Between now and election day, make it a point to encourage as many people as you can to vote. Talk about the issues and find out where other people stand. Share your views, ideas and concerns with them. Respect other people’s opinions by listening to their political views without interruption or argument. Yes, we can be civil to each other and still talk about politics. Be grateful that you live in a country where freedom of speech and your right to vote is granted. Honor that privilege by voting on November 6, 2012. Let your voice be heard.