I’ve seen little, if any, coverage of the presidential election in my local papers and other sources. It’s as if White County and Georgia have little interest in the most important election, not just in my lifetime but in the history of our country. I’m asking you to put aside your distractions for a few minutes and think about what we are facing.
On a spring Saturday evening in 1976, I was having breakfast with my future husband and a few friends at Ma Gooch’s, the political hotbed of White County. Jimmy Carter, a homeboy, was running hard and struggling against Gerald Ford, the incumbent “accidental president.” During the discussions, I shamefully admitted that at age 26, I had never registered to vote.
One friend immediately got to a phone and called another friend. This second friend, a county official, had a key to the courthouse and met us there. In a short time, I was a registered voter. It was completely painless.
I made a $10 donation to Jimmy Carter’s campaign, he was elected, and those of us who contributed even this small amount received an invitation to the inauguration. Carter’s life before and after his presidential term outshines any other former president, living or dead, in our country’s history.
I’ve missed one state election in the last 40 years. For many years, I voted in the small courthouse in Robertstown. I remember once I was actually in the voting booth punching out my “chads” when the power went off. Someone put a penny in the fuse and democracy marched on.
Every four years, I try to watch the campaigns, debates and party conventions — yes, of both parties, at least during the openings and closings.
It’s never been more important to pay attention to a presidential race. Please inform yourself about the candidates and their platforms, and get your eyes off Twitter and Facebook. That’s not real information, it’s sound bites, and it’s no way to run a campaign or a country. Are we going to be getting Supreme Court decisions by Twitter next year? State of the Union addresses delivered in 140 characters or fewer? Declarations of war by Instagram?
I’m a woman of “somewhat advanced” years and a proud Democrat. Society has labeled me a minority, and deemed me uninteresting and uninformed. I could take the easy way out and conform to my label, but I have an extended family and wonderful friends and I care deeply about their future. If you’re fortunate to have young children in your world, impress upon them the importance of intelligent voting. Don’t just talk about it, do it!
In January, I hope to see the baton pass from one minority, Barack Obama, a black man, to another, Hillary Clinton, a white woman. Where else but in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave? We cannot forget the amazing accomplishments of these two people and take this for granted. The choice is clear. Just think about your sons and daughters when you step into that voting booth in November.