Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why I Will Be in the Voting Booth on November 4th?

It is hard to know what specific issues people ponder when they enter the voting booth. Which specific issues put them over the top for one candidate or another? It differs for everyone I am sure and even at this last minute, some people are thinking about the future and earnestly trying to make the right decision.
If the predictions are right, the long lines today, will give us a lot of time to think about our vote.

Although I write a career blog, I couldn’t resist the urge to put my thoughts on paper to express why and for whom I am voting today! There are truly career lessons everywhere.

1. My vote today will be for all the women who have struggled for centuries to balance their need to work and to care for families. For women who have been overlooked in the workplace, whose voices are never heard, who do get equal pay for equal work and who were too tired or scared to fight for that. Say what you will about Sarah Palin or Hillary Clinton, these are women with a point of view who have put themselves out there for our scrutiny and sometimes even our ridicule. Whether or not you consider them intellectually equal or competent, they both have shown us it is possible what can happen if you are brave enough to say, “Yes”, when asked.

2. I vote for those who show up every day to perform, even in the face of stereotypes that would seek to diminish them personally. Be they men or women. Barack Obama’s candidacy reaffirms what many of us who are immigrants have always known - that to succeed you don’t just have to be good; you have to be two or three times as good. We know the bar against which we are measured is higher, as it should be. After all, we have to prove we are worthy of being called – “American”. Unfortunately, that same high bar has been used to measure those born here, but still considered different. I vote for those whose ideas were brilliant, but never acknowledged; those who worked hard, but were never applauded and for those who were passed over and overlooked because they were different. I vote today to reinforce, that stereotypes are just barriers to be broken.

3. My vote today is for those of us who are brave enough to reach “across the aisle”, so to speak, to develop and nurture strong relationships with those who might not look like us, but share our values. I vote for all who are willing to take a chance on the goodness of people, knowing that even after all the hard work and the crowds go home, we might still not be good enough, for reasons over which we have no control – be it race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age or sexual orientation.

4. My vote today is for all the 72 year olds, like John McCain, who know that there is still more to give and more to do to keep this country strong. For all those seniors who are still willing to answer the call for greatness, regardless of age. For all those seniors who never get weary or tire, because they feel their mission is a noble one. It is truly inspiring to me that John McCain traversed this great country, visiting up to seven states within 24 hours of the most significant election in US history.

5. My vote today is for all generations past – the uncles, the aunts, the grandparents, the parents who never even dared to dream the possibility, much less experience the reality of an African American or American Woman in the White House. For those who marched, who died and on whose shoulders we stand as we continue to explore this great experiment that is America.

6. My vote today is for my children, a young man of 17 and a young woman of 16, who are too young to vote, but so aware as are many at their age. Both are first generation Americans, Ja-mericans as we call them, meaning those of Jamaican parents born in the US, for whom the options have never been greater. I vote for them so they can continue to live in an America, where being American means something, both inside and outside this country. I vote so that they can see the greatness of America where power is transferred, without bloodshed and without violence as it should in all free societies. I vote to show them, that as Americans, they too will have a responsibility to support this great nation, participate in this democracy and protect the rights of it’s citizens to free expression. All our futures depend on it.

Go vote. The real work begins tomorrow!

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