Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vote For Free

C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” – Winston Churchill

Not everyone gets invited to Stage-Gate® meetings. Not everyone sits on your Board of Directors. You may have a voice in what gets done and how things operate at your organization, but your power and influence is relative. You don’t for instance usually get to cast a meaningful vote for your leader on a regular basis. Organizations throughout the world, although perhaps collaborative in nature, are not democratic.

Today is Election Day in the United States. It’s a mid-term election, meaning people aren’t voting for the President this go around. That will happen again in two years. Because of this, voter turnout is likely to be relatively low. It’s a shame of sorts. I mean really, where else and when do you get to cast a vote for your leaders?

Sometimes I think we take voting for granted in this country. We don’t recognize that our right to vote does not exist throughout the world. There was a time, not all that long ago, when it didn’t exist around here for everyone either.

A few years ago, Larry Keeley - President of Chicago-based Doblin Inc., a leading consulting firm that focuses on effective innovation – writing for BusinessWeek listed “participatory democracy” as the ninth greatest innovation of all time. I would likely put it even higher. The effect of democracy is (and has been) profound throughout history.

The adage goes “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” There always seem to be strings attached to most things. Nothing is truly free. But voting in the United States doesn’t cost you anything, except perhaps a little bit of time. If you’re a citizen of voting age, you basically have the right to vote here. It is free. Ironically, it’s when we don’t vote that we typically end up paying a price.

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