Years ago I worked for Los Angeles’ County’s central labor council, which is the political organizing body for the local AFL-CIO. It was an exciting time and I learned about grassroots organizing and political mobilization. Probably the most powerful message for me is that we are incredibly privileged to live in this country, flawed though it is, and to have the right to make our voices heard in a peaceful manner.
Many of our union members were immigrants who fled countries where they did not have the right to vote, enough food and water, education for their children and basic health care. It was always so moving for me to watch new American citizens vote for the first time. In fact, it was my honor at times to help drive people to the polls. The weekends leading up to election day are known as GOTV, or Get Out The Vote. We would head into neighborhoods with historically low turnout, and knock on doors. I visited places I never knew existed in my own hometown and talked to so many people who were grateful for the opportunity to participate in their government. It was probably one of the most formative experiences of my adult life.
I’ve become passionate about the voting process and encourage everyone I know to make sure they vote, particularly young people, who often feel disenfranchised by a cumbersome system designed to discourage people from getting to the ballot box. Today, more than ever, it is imperative that everyone who is qualified, gets registered and then goes to the poll. This is the primary way to make our voices heard and to decide who we want working for us. When so much feels out of our control, the one thing we can control is our own voice. So today, wherever you are, think about what it means to live in a democracy. And if you live in a state that has a primary, make sure you Get Out The Vote. Our future depends on you.
About Barbara Dab
Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She is the current Editor of The Jewish Observer of Nashville, and a former small business owner. Barbara loves writing, telling stories of real people and real events and most of all, talking to people all over the world. The Jewish Observer newspaper can be read online at www.jewishobservernashville.org .
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