Democracy in action is an amazing thing to witness. And yet, I think it’s easy to lose sight of what “in action” really means.
Many of us proudly vote, and then proudly pat ourselves on the back for being responsible citizens—for using our vote as our voice. We share our thoughts over dinner or on social media, speaking out about the things that are important to us.
But sometimes words aren’t enough.
I find this somewhat ironic, because as a marketer, I make my living crafting impactful words. And yet, this realization crystalized for me with the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a woman who awes me—a woman I am barely worthy enough to consider a mentor.
She was ridiculously smart, and she certainly knew a thing or two about crafting impactful words. But (fortunately for us) she never stopped at the words. She showed up, pitched in, and contributed, every day of her life. And she’s helped me understand that democracy brings with it a responsibility to contribute to the democratic process.
At Clariant Creative, my team and I are trying to channel that inspiration and honor her memory this year by actively contributing to our democracy.
We’ve made a vow to ourselves to go beyond the rhetoric of democracy and actually DO something to help it work. This has nothing to do with politics or our own individual political views. Rather, it’s about the need for each of us to step up, pitch in, and contribute to something bigger than ourselves.
And so, on November 3, we will be closing down Clariant Creative for the day as each of us goes out into our communities to take action.
We’re not doing this to impress, because truthfully, it’s not as grandiose as it sounds. We’re each doing relatively small things.
Here are some of the ways we’re contributing:
- Working phone banks, text banks, and writing letters to registered voters leading up to Election Day to make sure the people in our communities know where and how to vote.
- Donating supplies to our local election commissions.
- Volunteering our time on Election Day to serve as poll watchers and election judges.
- Participating in ride share programs on Election Day to make sure every voting-eligible citizen can get to a polling place.
Each of these things will take at most a few hours of our time. And that’s okay. If everybody does a few small things, we can make a big difference. We can help our democracy run the way it’s supposed to.
Why is this necessary?
- In the 2012 presidential election, more than five million Americans had to wait in line more than an hour to cast their vote.
- In 2016, two-thirds of election jurisdictions reported trouble recruiting enough people to staff their polls.>
- 58% of poll workers are over the age of 60. Many are hesitating to volunteer this year out of fear of COVID-19.
All of this makes it incredibly important—every year, but particularly this year—for everyone to do their part to make sure our democratic process works.
So. Now that you know all this, how will you contribute to our democracy?
Of course, please vote. But we also encourage you to think beyond the voting booth. How can you do a little bit more?
Here are some resources to get you started:
- VolunteerMatch can connect you with organizations in need of various kinds of help at election time.
- The S. Election Assistance Commission provides information on how to become a poll worker in every state.
- Rock the Vote offers several ways to get involved with mobilizing your local community.
- When We All Vote needs help with voter registration events.
- VoteRiders needs help educating voters about voting laws in their jurisdiction.
- VoteForward provides free templates for writing letters to voters to help increase election turnout.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Start searching for opportunities to help in your own community, and I bet you’ll be surprised by what you can find and how you can help.
I know that each of us has our own political views and opinions, but I think we can agree on one thing: We’ve all had enough words.
It’s time to act. We can all do something.
Collectively, let’s fulfill our responsibility and help make sure our democracy works.
We’ll be posting this article on our social media platforms. Please join the conversation there and let us know how you’ll be putting democracy into action this year. Help us keep the inspiration flowing!