Election Day should be your own personal holiday
Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Fri, 11/02/2007 – 1:17pm
Hey did you know Tuesday is a holiday? What, it’s not?
Sadly, Election Day is not a holiday. But hey, it’s the United States. We hardly get any holidays. And most of the holidays that are holidays, the vast majority of us still have to go to work.
Holidays are special because they are rare, and they are days that are important to our lives. And Election Day should be one of those days. After all, what is more important than participating in our democracy?
So will Tuesday, November 6, be a holiday for you? In most areas, this Election Day won’t be that significant. Then again, having spent a few days in Cincinnati, I saw quite a few election ads, and if I didn’t know there was a governor’s race across the Ohio River in Kentucky, I certainly found out by watching TV.
But we need to start treating every first Tuesday (that is followed by the first Monday) in November as a holiday. We need to start the trend to make Election Day important enough to spare a day at work.
Some employers have floating holidays, and you should use Election Day for that purpose. Others get so few days off, it really is a sacrifice to take the day off, but democracy is important enough to spare one vacation day.
You can even switch a holiday. Maybe come in the day after Thanksgiving. So you’ll miss a few football games and a few sales. You’ll probably be sick of your relatives by then. You could also come in the weekend before the election or the weekend after and make up the work.
Some employees take off Good Friday or Rosh Hashanah for religious purposes. Not that politics is a religion, but democracy can be your spiritual guide, and so you can cite Election Day as a “religious” holiday.
Then there’s calling in sick. Many in this country fear losing their jobs if they take a day off. While calling in sick is not the best way to go with the spirit of making Election Day a holiday, if it’s the only way, so be it.
It’s important to start doing this in 2007 to get the momentum going. So when you take Election Day off in 2008, and your boss asks why Election Day is so important, you can say, “Remember in 2007 when I took off for Election Day. Well, Election Day 2008 is much more important. This is about supporting democracy in this country I love, the United States of America.”
When I heard Naomi Wolf speak recently in Chicago, she spoke of a monthly Constitution Day on the 6th of each month, starting with November 6. While I like the idea of a holiday to celebrate the Constitution, starting with one holiday a year is a good place to begin. And Election Day is the best place to start.
So now you’ve established the day as a holiday. What should you do?
Well, it can’t be like the other holidays where we rest in our pajamas, watch parades and football, or sleep. This is not a relaxing holiday. But you do need some symbols to help you get in the holiday spirit.
* Songs: Christmas and holiday songs get us in the mood for that season. But you’re not limited to winter songs. The Washington Squares “Fourth Day of July” is a great patriotic song I personally play every Independence Day. And you can find some appropriate freedom or Constitution songs, ranging from ’60s protest songs to Bruce Springsteen’s new album “Magic” or even the soundtrack from the movie “1776.”
* Patriotism: The beauty of true patriotism is that there is no defined list about what makes someone patriotic. If you have to wear a flag lapel on your coat, do so. Flying a flag works for a lot of people. If you just want to wear red, white, and blue, that can be patriotic as well. You can get by with buttons supporting your favorite candidates. I always like taking my voting receipt and displaying it by my desk to show off that I voted.
* Food: Many holidays are associated with food, so food can be a useful way to express patriotism. Don’t get caught up in the apple pie and hot dog mentality. Baking crow pies for the losers can be a healthy outlet. In fact, you should probably cook ahead of time, or just make sandwiches; it’s going to be a long day and you need your strength.
From there, it’s up to you. Do you want to help get senior citizens and the disabled to the polls? Last-minute phone calls reminding people of Election Day? Volunteer for your favorite candidate? Or even volunteer as an election judge or poll worker? Whatever you do, your goal is to spread democracy. So get into the holiday spirit with your new holiday, Election Day.