After many months of talk, it's finally time for action! Regardless of your choice for either the Democratic or Republican nominee, The Optimist urges you to take a few moments today to exercise your most important right as an American.
Democracy starts with you. If you don't vote, you forfeit your voice.
The Optimist already cast his vote today, heading down to P.S. 110 on Monitor Street in Greenpoint to do so. The election inspector who signed me in described turnout so far today as "fabulous", which did not surprise me, but heartened me nonetheless since I've gone to the polls many times in recent years and found myself the sole voter in a large, desolate room.
Since the Democratic field has been winnowed to two candidates, some Brooklyn voters may have found themselves surprised by the wealth of options they faced in the booth this morning. Along with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, and Dennis Kucinich were all still on the ballet.
In addition, Brooklynites who favored Obama or Clinton were asked to approve a slate of five delegates to stand for their candidate of choice at the Democratic Convention. On my ballot, Obama's five delegates were Paul Newell, a community activist who has taken on the mammoth challenge of trying to unseat the Speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver in this September's primary; 23-year-old Rachel Lauter, who has been a very active member of Brooklyn for Barack; prominent local gay issues and AIDS activist Daniel Tietz; Matthew Cowherd, an attorney with mega-firm Skadden Arps; and Allison Davis.
As for Hillary, her delegates of choice were State Senator Martin Dilan; Councilmember Rosie Mendez; Luis Garden Acosta, a community activist and founder of Williamsburg's El Puente; Chung Seto, a former Executive Director of the New York Democratic Party; and Charles Obe.
In the last few weeks, the polls have shown a narrowing of Hillary Clinton's once insurmountable lead over Barack Obama in New York State. Who will win depends solely upon you.
Remember the words of former U.S. Treasury Secretary William Simon: "Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote." Simon was one to know. He served under Nixon.