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No Joke This Time: Count on Me Plus Three

Three people walked into a voting booth, I knew them all. One was a friend, another a family member, and then a colleague… replace the voting booth with a bar and it sounds like the start of a joke, right? Well it sort of was, what these three are slowly beginning to realize is they participated in a very big joke, one played on the entire country.

Just like a bad joke all three had bellied up to the media bar in 2008 and were asked “what are you looking for?”

My friend, concerned over the environment, said “if someone doesn’t do something about global warming, all is lost!” Obama poured him a glass full of hope from the tap and said drink up.

My family member, tired of the same old politicians, said “I want to see something different.” Obama slid a shot glass full of change down to her and said drink up.

My colleague, naïve but good-hearted, said “I want to see an end to war.” Obama unfazed by such a tall order gave him a shooter of hope and asked him to wash it down with a chaser of change.

Throughout the year the media cranked the karaoke message machine full blast drowning out all conversation; rocking the house with tried and true tunes, all Obama had to do was read the words from the screen. Then all three- my friend, family member and colleague stumbled light headed out of the bar and made straight for the polling place.

I thought the whole thing was a little humorous up until the moment it dawned on me they had been serious about voting for Obama.

I will not let it happen again.

There is a lot of discussion and even argument over the effectiveness of Tea Parties vs. GOP and candidate activism, but I feel my plan is far superior. The Tea Parties are vital for getting a message to Washington and encouraging others of similar beliefs to speak up, but how good are they at actually changing someone’s mind? Party and candidate activism are necessary no doubt but these are full time jobs that only a few have the time, inclination, or ability to pull off.

I shall not laugh off the shameless cheerleading of an agenda driven press this time and are making sure that those in my circle stay reality based- this is my Me and Plus Three plan. These are the people whom I trust and they trust me in turn. With them, I know I can be heard and make a difference. We can talk without arguing, we can admit our mistakes, we are open to logic, reason, and most importantly the truth. I no longer let them rest on an argument of hope or change anymore; instead I press for facts and ask them to look at results. The buyer’s remorse is already there for these three, but I make sure they realize their complicity in creating this mess and what they can do about cleaning it up. In 2010 and 2012 I will make sure they have a designated driver to the polls, because friends do not let friends vote Democrat. I am not responsible for just one vote, but now four.

In fact, this exercise has been empowering… I do not make it a habit to engage strangers in political debate, but these days I am apt to chime in on one already in progress. This is particularly true when conservatives in general are accused of being uncaring, backwards or racist, often trumping the entire argument with one simple statement: “Since you are calling me backwards, uncaring, and a racist, please explain.”

I am not an argumentative man, and normally speak out no louder than an occasional blog post, but I shall no longer stay silent in these matters because I see the Me Plus Three as an integral part of a winning equation for 2010 and 2012.

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