DEAR HARRIETTE: I went out canvassing for a candidate in my city because I feel so strongly that every vote makes a difference. I can’t tell you how many people who are registered to vote told me that they weren’t going to vote. They said they didn’t see what the point of it was. I was absolutely horrified when I talked to some of these people.
We live in a democracy. That means that our vote is supposed to count. I pleaded with these people, pointing out everything I know about the power of the vote. I think I convinced a few of them, but for the most part they said they were tired of all of the fuss about the political parties, and they didn’t think they were connected to any of it. What else can we do to get people to realize the power that they have? -- The Right to Vote, Atlanta
DEAR THE RIGHT TO VOTE: Don’t give up. The good news is that there was a record turnout of voters in the midterm elections across the country. This means that many people were paying attention and decided to get up, go out and exercise their right to vote. It is also true that millions of Americans who are eligible to vote simply did not do it.
One way you may be able to inspire others to vote next time is to gather stories of people who made the choice to vote this go-round. I spoke to a young man on Election Day. I was in a retail store, and I was wearing my "I voted" sticker. The young man told me that he had voted as well. I thanked him. He then admitted that this was the first time he had ever voted, and it took him awhile to figure out where to go and what to do. I congratulated him and added that I thought this was great because clearly he was over 18, so it had taken him some time to make this decision. He whispered to me that he was 35. It had taken nearly half his life to take action. His story was inspiring to me. Find stories in your neighborhood, and share them with others. Thank those who did vote for doing so, and implore others to step up. It is a privilege and responsibility to vote in our great democracy. Voting is what helps to ensure that the voices of the people are heard.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Every time I go to the doctor’s office, they find something else wrong with me, and I have to get a battery of tests. I know that my doctor is trying to be thorough, but I can’t afford all of the tests. I do have insurance, but honestly it doesn’t cover everything, and I now have a pile of medical bills on top of my regular bills. I want to get my health in check, but I don’t know what to do. -- Health Scare, Boston
DEAR HEALTH SCARE: Check with your insurance to see if there are other medical care providers that are directly covered by them. The fees may be lower in that case. Look into getting supplemental insurance that will pay the percentage that your insurance may not cover. Request a payment plan for debt that you cannot manage.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)