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Don C. Reed Headshot

Not Too Late: Reaching Someone Who Has Not Made Up Their Mind

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This Sunday my brother called me to say: "I really can't decide who to vote for -- Obama or that other guy."

I was incoherent for a moment. The election is today, and he had not made up his mind?

When I ceased spluttering, and ascertained that he really wasn't kidding, I gave him a quick list of reasons why Romney would be a disaster.

And why Obama was absolutely what the country needed.

And how a disabled person (my brother has a shattered leg) had voting rights.

But I should not have been surprised. I come from a religiously conservative family, and the Religious Right is hammering the churches to defy the Constitutional separation of church and state.

We cannot take even our families for granted, and just assume they will vote our way. Some we cannot persuade -- my father will vote Republican till his last breath -- but those we can reach, we should.

This is quite likely the most important election of our lives.

We must not only win; we must win big.

Everything progressives believe in -- including the right to vote itself -- is at stake.

Name an issue, and then look at the difference between the parties, as summed up by the men at the top of the ticket.

Environmental change? Obama understands the threat, of which Hurricane Sandy is only one symptom; Romney mocks the very idea that global warming could cause the oceans to rise.

Health care policy? Obama installed America's first national comprehensive health care program; Romney would undo it, essentially trading Obamacare for "Don't care."

Stem cell research? Obama kept his promise, and reversed the crippling restrictions of his Republican predecessor; Romney would cease federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, and his running mate Ryan would criminalize it altogether.

Jobs and tax rates? Compare George Bush to Bill Clinton. Romney would re-impose the help-the-rich Bush tax cuts and make them permanent; Obama would listen to Clinton, whose job creation record is second to none, and who was not afraid to ask the rich to pitch in a little more.

Women's rights? Obama honors a woman's power to make her own personal decisions; Romney would cheerfully sign a bill criminalizing a woman's right to choose.

Supreme Court appointments? The Bush-appointed Supreme Court Justice John Roberts already leads what has been called the most conservative court in modern history -- what will it be like if self-described "severe conservative" Mitt Romney appoints one or possibly two lifetime-serving justices?

So in these precious last few moments, make a mental list: Who do you know who might conceivably not have made up their mind? Start with your family.

Give them a call; there is still time left to make a difference.

We have today, and then no more.

So reach out to loved ones -- friends and family. My brother listened; so might they.

Yours could be the only voice they will still listen to.