Thinking isn’t agreeing or disagreeing. That’s voting.
~ Robert Frost
It’s that time again: Time to be an engaged citizen.
As an engaged citizen, I implore you to check out Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention.
I’m not suggesting you actually vote for Obama — that’s up to you. I’m only suggesting you be informed — that you think for yourself, no matter who you intend to vote for — and collect your information right from the horse’s mouth, as it were.
A lot of hooey is dished from politicians’ mouths during campaign speeches, but if you listen to them yourself, you get to decide what’s hooey and what’s not, rather than letting your friends or the dreaded media tell you (as a former member of “the media,” I can tell you there is a lot of group think going on, but not all media reps think alike or have any interest in conspiring– or the time to do it).
As I mentioned last week, if it was already on your evening schedule, this post is not for you.
But if you didn’t even know the Democrats were meeting this week or you didn’t know Obama had to accept the party’s nomination (“isn’t he already president?”), please pop some popcorn, dress comfy and spend a few minutes listening to the most powerful man in the free world — your world — lay out his plans for a second term.
Barack Obama is running for a second term as president of the United States. A six-word resumé for him would be this: Big thinker, attorney, former Senator, black. He’s running against Republican Mitt Romney (and a number of minor party candidates even I can’t name) for a second term as president. The election is in 60 short days on Nov. 6.
I’ll repeat what I wrote last week about watching Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech: I completely understand why you think your vote doesn’t matter or why you might believe all politicians are greedy and deceitful or why politics is more boring than watching paint dry. But I think voting is a privilege and a duty of being an American, and if you’re going to vote, you really ought to be informed. A lot of other campaigns may be boring and not worth watching (such as the one for village clerk or state representative), but determining who the man who becomes president of the United States is important.
I am not here promoting either candidate, only that a citizen’s minimum effort in electing a president should include:
- Watching Romney’s speech. Check.
- Watching Obama’s speech tonight.
- Watching at least part of one presidential debate.
- Voting on Nov. 6.
This is not too much to ask in return for the American infrastructure and freedoms you enjoy every day.
In conclusion, I’ll put my Minnesota native tongue firmly in my Illinois resident cheek as I share this quote:
In most places in the country, voting is looked upon as a right and a duty, but in Chicago it’s a sport.
~ Dick Gregory