When I was teaching college it was always interesting to me when I asked my students if they voted. A huge number of them never had and a lot of them showed no interest in it. Voting was something that other people did or even cared about. But here's a cool experiment to show them why it should matter. Have everyone stand on one side of the room and then have all those who do not own their homes (basically the renters) cross to the other side. Then send everyone who is African American (or biracial) over. And then send the women and the Native Americans. And if you have a green card - go over. Then everyone takes a look at who is left which is pretty much only those who are white, male land-owners (which in my classes translated into guys over forty). That's when you point out that these are the only guys who were able to vote back when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution. This made a lot of sense back then and I'm not knocking Washington and crew - it was 1787 after all. But it's always a wake-up call when you can make everyone realize how little control they might have had over their own lives if they were born in a different time.
And if that didn't work, then I'd just tell them to get off their butts, grow up, and take some responsibility for the world around them.
Everybody was talking about the election last weekend in Portland and Greg had an excellent idea about a cooperative blogging project on voting. Saturday night we worked out the details and decided to run with it. The plan is to run a One Shot event on Monday, November 3rd where all participants blog about why they personally think voting matters this year. You can write a post that touches on historical issues or policies of significance today. Anything you want to write about that expresses the idea that voting matters is fair game. The only hard and fast rule - and this is very hard and fast - is that you do not get to bash any of the four candidates for president and vice president.
No bashing, period.
This is a nonpartisan event. Write about the issues, not the people and hopefully we will avoid any and all flame wars. (In other words, save the Sarah Palin comments for your own blog on your own time.)
Lee Wind and I are going to handle running the master schedule with direct links to all participating posts. If you want to take part in this One Shot, then you must email your url to Lee or myself (colleenatchasingraydotcom or leewindatroadrunnerdotcom) by that Monday and we will then read your post, grab a quote and run both quote and link here at my site. You must also include the link to the master schedule at the end of your own post, so your readers can come over here and see what everyone else thinks as well. (I will have the master schedule post up on Sunday, November 2nd so it's easy to find and link to. Posts will be added to it all day Sunday and Monday as they come in.) In the end we should have a cool collection of thoughts from all kinds of people that will express how significant democracy is to our lives personally and to our country as a whole.
We are talking a pretty awesome American moment if we do this right.
Pass the word around on your own blogs and let everyone know. Anyone can participate in this event - it's open to all. If you have any questions send them my way (or Lee's) and be sure to check back here for a very special One Shot event on November 3rd.
Oh and hey - MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!!!!!!!!!!
[Post image from AIGA - see more here.]