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Each of us possess ALL the influence October 30, 2012

Posted by paulstella in Uncategorized.
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Chalk reminders about Election Day greeted me on my walk to work Monday.

I’m looking forward to this Thursday and a visit by President Obama for a campaign rally on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. “Please wait,” I say to my right-leaning friends. I hardly intend a partisan rant here, which I know the majority of us who fall anywhere along the political spectrum detest. So please hear me out.

I moved to Colorado in September from electorally irrelevant New York. Since turning 18, I’ve always cast a ballot for president in New York. I was reminded of that while packing for my move and locating a Walter Mondale campaign button, which I acquired as a college junior. Yeah, my track record for picking winners was tainted from the get-go.

Moving to a “swing state”—maybe 2012’s most swingin’ swing state—has added an extra level of intrigue to campaign season for this voter. I appreciate knowing my vote ‘could’ tip the balance. But regardless of that, I feel no more passionate this year about exercising my right—my privilege—to help choose our nation’s leader. I’ve always cherished this great American tradition.

Truth be told, Election Day has come and gone for me. Mailed in my ballot a few weeks ago.

This year, I have been educated on one of the more troubling aspects of residing in contested territory, consuming—over and over again—propaganda that is flooding the airwaves. Ads from both sides say more about the motivations of those who bankroll these messages than the plight of average Americans they profess to defend. It’s easy to assume the financially powerful, whose numbers are remarkably few, command all of the influence in directing our nation’s future.

But yesterday, as I left my car and walked the relatively short distance to my office at CU-Boulder, I found a source for inspiration underfoot. Messages, written in chalk, reminded pedestrians that Election Day is Nov. 6 and encouraged us all to vote. Every 15 yards or so, a new message shouted up at me.

Ready to ‘rally’ on Thursday

That sidewalk scrawl speaks more to me than the entirety of the highly produced and polished ads that continue to hold my TV captive. It says that, come Election Day, each of us has ALL of the influence, in equal measure. One vote. And no single vote, no matter who casts it, is more powerful than the other. It’s why America, despite all of its dysfunction, remains so great.

So in learning about the President’s rally on campus this Thursday, I was a little surprised to hear a few of my coworkers sigh.

“What? You’re not excited?” I asked.

Turns out this will be presidential visit #3 to the Boulder campus this campaign season. So while I’m ready to get knee-deep in the hoopla (Name that 80s song!), my colleagues see road closures and numerous other inconveniences—complicated by preparations for this weekend’s CU homecoming activities.

Bring on the inconvenience, I say. I’m living history.

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1. Thom Craver - October 30, 2012

Well said, Paul!

“We Built This City” by Starship from the album of the same quoted name.


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