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Elect to Participate

Where do we go from here? That was the question we posed in our July issue. I sincerely hope no reader expected us to have the answers by this issue.

But boy, did we learn some things. It’s unsettling to be called out for being a bystander to racism as Larry Morris did in his no-punches-pulled opening essay (visit OutAndAboutNow.com for the full text): 

The problem has been that White people in America have been uncomfortable speaking about race. With the exception of a small number, Whites have not shown they care about what was being done to Black people even though they were supposedly friends, coworkers or teammates. The silence of good White people in America is what has perpetuated the status quo and has prevented America from becoming all that it could be—or all that it says it is.

Tough medicine. Many of my White friends reacted as I did—defensively. But while we have an abundance of solid arguments to explain our inattention, justifying the acquiescence is a bit more challenging.

So, we at Out & About will work to show we care. And continue sharing energizing stories about our community—all of the community. We’ll also seek more ways to collaborate with minority communities. Some of those efforts are already underway.

But where we go from here as a country, I don’t have that answer. I’m certain of one thing: It would be tragic to stay where we are.

Which is a perfect segue to the theme of this issue: Voting Matters. To cite a source often used by The White House, A lot of people are saying this is the most important election of our lifetimes. You’ll get no argument here. With the pandemic, and the racial tension, and all the things people are saying, it’s hard to imagine voter participation not reaching historic levels.

Shame on us if it doesn’t.

In this issue, we asked an esteemed collection of retired Delaware politicians to serve as guest contributors and weigh in on what they expect to see in the upcoming elections. Also, Contributing Editor Bob Yearick revisits a few past political contests that underscore the notion that every vote is critical. Finally, we’ve compiled a list of key dates, new procedures, mail-in voting requirements and more to help you prepare for this year’s elections.

Until then, do your homework. Most politicians talk a good game—that’s why they’re politicians. So, look past gender, skin color and clever slogans. Insist that candidates show you what they’ve done, not tell you what they’ll do.

Technology has made it easy to proliferate fake news. It has also made it easy to do research. So, rely on credible news sources. And check the facts provided by those credible sources against other credible sources. When you see the same facts repeated by multiple credible sources, that’s a pretty good sign those facts are reliable.

Remember, we’re all suckers for being told what we want to hear. Avoid that trap by demanding details. Many politicians have mastered the art of sounding authoritative without speaking with authority (knowledge of facts). A lot of people are saying that it’s time to call bullshit.

Regardless of whether you’re White, Black, Brown or Yellow, you should be mad as hell about the predicament we find ourselves in. Channel that anger. Voting in the upcoming elections is a strong step toward determining where we go from here. That said, it’s just a step.

— Jerry duPhily

So, what do you think? Please comment below.