In the scheme of things, one of the most significant twelve-hour periods in a year occurs on the first Tuesday of November-- from six a.m. to six p.m. in most of the United States – Election Day. For this half-day in the majority of our fifty states, from dawn to dusk, a series of important events are put into motion that affect our future and our very existence.
For many years, it was my duty and honor as well as my job to play a role in the process of electing various officials to city, county, state and national offices. In those years, I helped elect, through advertising and public relations, men and women who would serve as our leaders. As I reflect on those campaigns, they assume even more responsibility today than I had imagined since I was engrossed in day to day operations involved in the election process.
Please understand, I knew the importance of our efforts at those critical times, and was certainly not alone in the electioneering . Often, there were many people who were engaged in campaigning. In fact, the process required dozens of professionals and well as volunteers. However, it was easy to become personally enamored with the personalities of those seeking the various offices, becoming emotionally carried away, as we toiled through the hours of meetings, polling, slogans, production sessions and arguments that were always a part of every election.
All of our efforts culminated in one twelve- hour period. The weeks, months and in some cases, years of toil boil down to half a day in November. In the earlier days of my campaigning, most often the investment in time was not matched with dollars spent. Even the most important Mayor, Congressional and Senatorial races didn’t generate even close to the millions of dollars invested today. In a number of campaigns for Mayor less than fifty thousand dollars was invested.
It wasn’t unusual in the early 1950s and ‘60s to find under one hundred thousand dollars allocated on a Congressional Campaign. Today, less than a million dollars would not be considered worthy of the effort. That begs the question, “What does a candidate really expect to receive when the investment in time, talent and dollars are so significant?” Hopefully, there are still a number of individuals who are altruistically motivated to seek an office, and are genuine in their desire to serve their fellow men and women. I sincerely hope so.
Back to my original premise. The twelve hours that are provided to select those representatives of our desires and wishes for the future are often taken lightly and do not generate the demand and attention deserved. Many of those November days see light turnouts at the polls. Having watched intently the returns as they pour in during the evening hours of an Election Day, I can attest to the fact that I often felt relief or enormous pain depending upon the results. However, I always wanted a heavy turnout. Let the majority rule. On the other hand, there is nothing in my life that compares with losing an election after hundreds of hours of demanding day in and day out effort. That is particularly true when you sincerely believe in the person or persons you are representing.
Over the years, I have worked for men and women of both Democratic and Republican Parties. In my analysis of those efforts, I believe I can justify my time spent on their behalf. There were a few, very few, that I did not believe were worthy and deserving of my total attention and commitment. When adding up the years those people served in the various offices attained, I believe their efforts and mine were merited.
Do not take the responsibility of your vote for granted. In our great nation, it is a right paid for through the generations by men and women who were willing to give their lives for the privilege of seeing our way of government grow and flourish. Make your TWELVE HOURS COUNT!