Finding Your Activation Button

Twenty-eight days to Election Day 2020, and I wonder, is it too late to make a difference in my world, a world I personally would characterized as on the brink of a new day. What that new day will look like depends on my willingness to act. I believe I must act today, because this is the only time I have. I can’t do anything about the time I’ve wasted in the past, nor can I rely upon a tomorrow that I may or may not be given.

Today, I can look at my voting ballot by going to Ballot Ready.org where “Every Candidate and Referendum, Explained” to help me vote wisely as a citizen of the United States and to voice my opinion on issues facing my community. The first thing I am asked is to pledge to vote. That’s easy. Yes, I pledge to vote. Then I am asked to identify what I care about: the economy; education; healthcare; other. I personally press all four choosing to add “equality for all” in the “other” box. Once I promise to vote, I am taken to a page where I can check to make sure I’m registered, research my ballot by getting information on every candidate and referendum on my ballot.

So, I chose to add “equality for all” in the other box not just because of the very evident inequality my Black sisters and brothers experience and have experienced their entire lives, but also for the not so evident inequality women experience and have experienced their entire lives. If you are a woman, you know what I am talking about. If you are wondering, please view A political party for women’s equality an entertaining and informative 2016 TED Talk by Sandi Toksvig.

Today, AARP Northside Community Group will spend their meeting reviewing hands on BallottReady.org. Please join us. If you are familiar with the process, you can help someone who is not. Depending on the makeup of the group gathered, we will spend our time discussing referenda and candidates or just helping individuals through the steps of preparing themselves to vote responsibly using ballot ready.org.

Dan O’Donnell retired from Chicago Public Schools where he taught at the now closed Montefiore Special School from 1970 – 1980 and then again from 1997 -2007. From 1980 to 1997 he sold life insurance as an Agent for the Mass Mutual and broker for many other companies. Presently Dan spends his days writing and developing online learning opportunities. During his sixteen-year hiatus from teaching he remained in contact with Montefiore serving on the PTA and Local School Council as the community representative. 

To the total chagrin of his sister Marianne, a stay-at-home mother of four, Dan’s proudest recognition came when Montefiore Principal Bernie Carlin nominated him as the Parent of the Year. Dan, as Marianne would tell you, never spent one night up with a colicky child… 

Dan’s work experience taught him to respect and learn from people whose life’s paths differed from his own. Dan believes, that despite often feeling like an outsider, he belongs right where he finds himself, and that all that is gift. 

Voting 2020

“What do you do when you don’t agree with someone?” This question challenges me whenever a disagreement arises. First, I simply want to dismiss the person expressing what sounds as ill-informed. Then I think of previous things that person has said that don’t square with my thought or experience.

I know I must get over these initial reactions and listen to the other’s opinion(s) trying to square them with my experience. Take President Trump’s response to the challenge that he doesn’t pay taxes. While he first dismisses the news as fake, they then boasts of just doing what the tax code allows and encourages. I agree with very little he says or does, but regarding his tax situation, i.e. not paying any for 11 out of the last 18 years, I must recall my own experience and thinking in that area. I actually made a living helping people “reduce” their current tax burdens by selling them insurance products that would defer these taxes if not completely avoid them in the future. President Trump has evidently mastered that art.

I no longer sell those products and I actually pride myself in being able to add to the common good today by paying taxes. Of course, I’m not alone in this. Two famous wealthy people think taxes are good:

Warren Buffett doesn’t think the rich in America are paying enough in taxes. “The wealthy are definitely undertaxed relative to the general population,” he told CNBC’s Becky Quick during an interview on “Squawk Box” on Monday.

CNBC Emmie Martin Squawk Box 2-26-19

jcc-manhattan, presents a number of good questions in the above Youtube video Voting, Elections and Citizenship: An Inter-Generational Conversation that you might want to ponder. Questions like:

  • How has your voting experience changed over the years?
  • What do you do when you don’t agree with someone?
  • What makes you think like you think?
  • What makes you want to vote for someone?
  • Can voting change the world?
  • What does being a good citizens mean?

Dan O’Donnell retired from Chicago Public Schools where he taught at the now closed Montefiore Special School from 1970 – 1980 and then again from 1997 -2007. From 1980 to 1997 he sold life insurance as an Agent for the Mass Mutual and broker for many other companies. Presently Dan spends his days writing and developing online learning opportunities. During his sixteen-year hiatus from teaching he remained in contact with Montefiore serving on the PTA and Local School Council as the community representative. 

To the total chagrin of his sister Marianne, a stay-at-home mother of four, Dan’s proudest recognition came when Montefiore Principal Bernie Carlin nominated him as the Parent of the Year. Dan, as Marianne would tell you, never spent one night up with a colicky child… 

Dan’s work experience taught him to respect and learn from people whose life’s paths differed from his own. Dan believes, that despite often feeling like an outsider, he belongs right where he finds himself, and that all that is gift.