It’s time to Break It Down!
In 1918, Charles E. Weller created the phrase, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the country.” Sidebar: That it was less than two decades out of the 19th century, we can overlook the phrase not including, “and women. “While it may be tempting, given the timing (the end of World War I), to believe those 16 words were the foundation for a patriotic rallying cry for Americans at the war’s end, the true and underlying story is significantly less dramatic. In reality, Mr. Weller was neither a conquering general, nor a pontificating politico. He was a teacher; his subject, typing. The phrase was popularized as a typing drill, and its use extended at least 50 years, as I was familiarized with it in my 1968 Typing Class. Thank you, Mr. Weller (and Mrs. McCullough).
Fast forward another 50 years or so, 51 years, to be precise, and we find ourselves at a critical point in our history. If you live in North Carolina, today is the first day of One Stop Absentee Voting, colloquially known as Early Voting. From now until November 5th, Election Day, I do not believe I can convey any more important message than VOTE!
Yes, I know it’s not a Presidential Election; it’s not even a midterm. Yet, it’s important for several reasons.
First and foremost, people were beaten, tortured, and killed, all in an effort to fight for, and eventually earn the right for We The People, all of us, not just male, landed aristocrats, to exercise the franchise. We should be irresistibly forceful in our insistence on voting, each and every time the opportunity avails itself.
Second, in North Carolina alone, men and women will be elected to office in 503 cities, towns, and villages, nine school districts, and 17 special districts. It is often asserted that for all the talk about the Presidency, for most of us, the most impactful politicians are those on the local level. Don’t get lost in the sauce and miss the simple and truthful elegance of that truism.
Third, there are any number of people and groups who have invested heavily in making it more difficult for you to vote, and by you, I mean persons duly authorized to vote, but whom are often presented with special challenges to do so. This is an age-old ruse, and has included a wide array of pernicious tools, e.g., property ownership, poll taxes, reading/writing tests, and famously, being required to recite the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, verbatim. The current iteration features voter suppression tactics, including voter intimidation, reduction of the number and/or varying the location of voting sites, and widespread misinformation about the location of polling places…to name a few.
Fourth and finally, voting is akin to a muscle. The best way to grow one’s propensity to vote…is to use it. The more one votes, the more likely one is to vote the next time the opportunity presents itself. Unlike with Mr. Weller, this is not a test, typing or otherwise. We are perilously positioned on the precipice. More than anytime in recent memory, “Now Is The Time For All Of Us To Come To The Aid Of Our Country!”
I’m done; holla back!
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