"Do I have to?" That's a question that we hear from our kids, our employees, and sometimes we even ask this question of ourselves. As we near November 8, I find myself whining and asking, "Do I really have to vote?"
I had the opportunity to spend a week in our nation's capital last month and the upcoming election is at the center of debate. I heard opinions (whether I wanted to or not) from every taxi driver, shop owner, and tour guide I encountered. When I'm asked personally, I avoid the answer. Regardless of which lever I pull, I'll surely head home for a scalding hot shower to cleanse myself, right?
So, what's the point? Well, my industry friends, the point is that nearly 350 years ago, brave men and women took up arms, some as simple as farm tools, to fight for independence and democracy. An estimated 25,000 Americans lost their lives in the fight for our freedom leading to our first election in 1788. Unfortunately, not everyone qualified to vote. It took another war and another 620,000 deaths to lead to the rights of blacks to vote. The first black vote was cast in 1870, but it was another fifty years before a woman could vote in this country.
Fortunately, war was not required to precipitate the signing of the 19th Amendment in 1920, but I'm sure there were many kitchen table wars between husband and wife while brave women like Susan B. Anthony lead protests on behalf of the sisterhood.
As a social media driven society, Americans vote for everything from Pepsi v. Coke, to TheVoice We love to weigh in with a thumbs up or a thumbs down. We race to give our opinions on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Untapped. But ask us to register to vote or go to the Polls to cast our vote for a representative, we're a little apathetic to be kind. It may be true; our choices, especially this go around, may not be representative of the best America has to offer, but this is what apathy does. It allows mediocrity to rise and we get what we get. We have to own it.
And, just so I don't make this all about the Presidential election, remember that these people (the President, Senate & House of Representatives) all decide more than the fate of our foreign policy and our supreme court. They decide the fundamental business, tax and regulatory climate that either puts food on your table or takes away your license and closes your shop doors. Don't leave your future in the hands of those who do vote but don't share your values.
Less than 50% of eligible voters turned out for the 2012 election. Roughly 9% of eligible voters actually voted for our two presidential candidates in the primaries. Imagine what the power of the remaining 91% could do!
So, I humbly ask you to join me at the polls on Tuesday, November 8. (Make sure you're registered!) And vote. If one of your candidates is on the ticket, great; your job is almost done for you. Just choose that candidate and pull the lever. If you aren't a fan of either candidate, then write in the most qualified person you know. You have that right and many men and women have fought and died to make sure that right remains yours. It's only hopeless if you give up. Never give up!
Martin Luther King, Jr said, "Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter." Leadership matters! Get out and vote and make sure your friends, family, employees do the same. Vote for the leader that best represents your values and then, if you feel the need, take a hot shower. Democracy is a never-ending and sometimes dirty battle!
Sandra Bruce is currently the General Manager of Milady, a division of Cengage Learning, Inc., located in Clifton Park, New York, USA. Sandra has managed all facets of the Milady business including product development, marketing, business development, and international strategies for more than 12 years. Currently, Sandra is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of Milady’s overall business. Holding various roles within Cengage Learning since 1995, Sandra is always striving to deliver innovative solutions to customers in both the academic and professional markets. Sandra has represented Milady on a variety of national and international association boards and committees:
□ American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS)
□ Cosmetology Educators Association (CEA)
□ National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC)
□ National Accrediting Council of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences (NACCAS)
□ International Cosmetology Licensing Organization (ICLO)
□ National Association of Barber Boards of America (NABBA)
□ Barbers International
Sandra holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management & Economics (BSBME) from the State University of New York Empire State College.
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