“My opinion isn’t influenced by those of the people around me”, said no one ever.
Yes, I know it’s a fashionable meme to decry the political posts and claim that we are all unique adorable independent iconoclasts who float above our friends’ and family’s opinions… but we’re not. We (myself included) are all influenced by the opinions of those around us, and that includes those opinions that are posted on Facebook and Google Plus.
And that is why we have had so many conversations in the past year discussing the marriage amendment, the voter ID amendment, and the political candidates. The fact is, your conversations and your posts DO change hearts and minds: the single greatest influence on how people vote on these issues is, in most cases, their exposure to the opinions of the friends and family members that surround them. We are tribal, communal creatures, and we LISTEN to each other.
That’s why it’s important to present these discussions and have these conversations. SO many conversations I’ve had this year have started with a comment or a post on FB or G+ or Twitter, and all of the ones I’ve had where someone has changed their mind have had a personal story behind them. Not a talking point from a TV host or a quote from a new article: a story about you, and about me.
In the last few days before the election, DO reach out to those around you and have a discussion about the reasons to vote No on the Marriage Amendment, the reasons to vote No on the Voter ID Amendment, and the reasons to vote for Barack Obama. You are a friend, you are a family member, and your voice, your experiences, the ways YOU will be hurt by the amendments and the reasons YOU have to vote are far more powerful than 30-second platitudes and misinformation put together by a focus group a thousand miles away.
Get out there, have the conversations, and get out the vote. It’s the reason we’re here.
And never tell me my voice doesn’t make a sound, because I can hear all of you loud and clear.