It’s the first week in May 2016 just six months until the next Presidential Election.
I am sitting in the Marriott Courtyard bar in Bethlehem, PA having a cocktail after a long sales day. A nice woman on the wait staff-- combo bartender/cook/waitress is taking my order. She is probably in her 60’s. She pours me a Johnnie Walker Black. I mean a generous pour, rocks and a splash. I am liking her already! I order my 12 wings plain with ranch dressing, carrots and celery. The drink comes first. We chat. We are watching CNN.
We see some polling stats on TV and now the Johnnie Walker is starting to take its effect. I said “who are you voting for” and she said “well, I don’t vote.” I said “come again?” She said “I don’t vote.” I said “why?” She said she stood in line for over an hour in the last Presidential election only to get to the front of the line to find out she had to register. Her license wasn’t enough. I thought to myself really? Oh my goodness. So Houston, we have a problem. It’s an education problem.
I take out my IPhone and I look up voter registeristration in the state of PA. I found the website www.votespa.com. I wrote it on a cocktail napkin and slid it across the bar. I pointed to my two eyes and then pointed to hers. Get on a computer, go to this website and register to vote on-line with your license.
I said again, I am curious “why don’t you vote?” She looked at me and said “I don’t know.” I said when you know better you do better. Find your voice. She sure knew who she didn’t want to win! I told her if you don’t vote you can’t complain when decisions are made you don’t like. Because she was a woman we talked about how women were given the right to vote in 1920. Before that it was just men. We talked about women’s issues and those folks working hard for women’s rights, equal pay and civil rights in general. It’s been a long hard fought battle. This was her opportunity to exercise her right.
I told her I would be back at the hotel in the next six weeks or so and to expect me. I told her to make sure she was registered. She looked appropriately afraid, because you know how scary I am. I mean Dynamite comes in small packages.
I said with Johnnie Walker’s help and because I couldn’t give it up, this is your given right to vote. It would be helpful to make your vote count. Be it Democrat, Republican or Independent. Don’t deny yourself the right; don’t miss the opportunity to vote your truth. Please, of all things do not be a non participant in your own government. It makes a difference, it matters, and YOU matter.
Then I went to the Latino woman working at the front desk who had been at the bar earlier. She said she piles her whole family in the car and together they go vote. Then they go out to eat. I said Amen sistah you can’t beat that with a stick!
I asked her to help her friend get registered. Sometimes we have to hold hands and show each other the way. There’s nothing wrong with that.
I sighed, my work was done. I wandered off to the elevator thinking to myself what a great country we live in. We have the ability to disagree, to protest, to rally together and to participate in our government regardless of our affiliation. Exercise your right. Be empowered by it. Go to sleep knowing you have a voice because you do.
If you have children in college help them get the absentee ballot. Talk to them about the significance of being able to participate in our government. Talk to them about the struggles endured to allow women, African Americans and Native Americans to vote because it certainly was a struggle. As Gandhi said, be the change you want to see in the world.
Never give up on your ability to participate, to promote change and goodness.
I encourage all opinions, but my opinion ya’ll when it comes to the end of this election cycle on Nov. 8th is…
“It’s ladies night.”
Download that on ITunes!