DEAR HARRIETTE: I have gotten into serious arguments with my neighbors and friends about the upcoming election. It has gotten so bad that I wonder if we can survive it. My thing is I am not trying to make you vote the way I plan to vote. My thing is I want everybody to register to vote and then to make it their business to vote on Election Day. It seems like such a fundamental thing, and yet there are so many apathetic people out there. Here is the one thing that all of us can do to have a personal impact on the future of our country. Why would anyone want to throw that away? My friends say it doesn't matter and their vote isn't going to make a difference anyway. -- Right to Vote
DEAR RIGHT TO VOTE: Your friends may not like this, but I would start with a history lesson. The right to vote is a privilege that is not and was not originally guaranteed. It took women and blacks many years to be able to claim the right to vote. It literally took blood, sweat, tears and litigation to earn the right to vote.
Many elections have been decided on the smallest number of votes -- individual votes cast for a candidate. Assure them that their vote counts for president and all of the other offices on the ballot -- roles that directly affect their lives.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I spent time this summer with a group of people who were already friends. Mostly it was fun, but I never quite felt like I belonged, so to speak. I hosted a few gatherings and people came, but then I learned that there were other gatherings that some of them hosted that they didn't invite me to. I think I am being too sensitive, but I did notice that I was never fully included in the fold. I have other friends, but since it was COVID time, I didn't want to add any extra people to the mix. Right now, I'm feeling a little uncomfortable. Should I just let it go? -- Out of Place
DEAR OUT OF PLACE: This summer was strange for most of us. Because of the pandemic, people were not able to move as freely as in the past. The good news is that you did get a chance to socialize a bit. Given that you were with new people, it makes sense that you might feel a little less close to them. Further, it could be natural that there would be subsets of gatherings, some of which were not for you. Due to COVID-19 they may have organized smaller gatherings.
Don't overthink it. Be grateful for the good times you had and move on. Look for opportunities to connect with your own core friend group -- virtually or in person while social distancing.
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