During the 2008 election cycle my parents were at first a little leery of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. He was young, fairly untried, and they felt more comfortable with Hillary Clinton's experience and with a former president as her husband they saw it as a two-for-one deal.
Still, once Obama won the nomination, my parents were on board. Not because he was black, though admittedly the historical nature of the election did speak to them, but because they were drawn to his call for change.
My mother, aunt and 80-some-year-old grandma got out and volunteered for voter registration efforts. They made calls, went door-to-door, signed people up at kiosks and churches and did their part to ensure that their candidate would win in November 2008.
One of the things my mother encountered several times during her voter registration push were ex-convicts who thought they couldn't vote because they had served time. But once my mother probed further she would find out that they were no longer on parole and (in my home state) once you get out of prison and complete the parole period, your voting rights are restored.
When she informed them of this, many of them cried. Cried. ::pausing while you take that in:: Cried because they could vote.
My mother's youngest brother has always been the black sheep of the family. He voted for the first time in 2008. He was 50-ish.
Late last year my mother and aunt (Grandma had to bow out this time) resumed their voter registration efforts. Why? Because in a casual conversation with that uncle above about midterm elections, he asked why he needed to vote again, wasn't 2008 enough? ::pausing again while you take that in::
Mama and Aunt Laura figured that he might not be the only person out there who held that view, so they revved up and started visiting homes all over the state and making calls and doing their part.
Now, if those two 60+ aged ladies with high blood pressure, sugar diabetes and other creaks and cracks can walk around in the hot and cold weather in the backwoods and unpaved roads of a Southern state to register voters, you can get to the polls and pull the lever or mark the X or punch the chad or whatever it is they do at your polling place, today.
So, I ask again, it's election day, what are YOU going to do?
::drops mic, steps off soapbox::