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Taken Aback by Take Back Tuesday

Reflections on -- and reactions to -- an unprecedented campaign.

In the summer, when Josh Neuman and I were talking about the effort that would become Take Back Tuesday, he said he thought business owners would be willing to close up shop for Election Day, to help employees vote and otherwise celebrate democracy. I was skeptical.

We know now that Josh was right. In 21 states and Washington D.C., 69 businesses participated in the DIY holiday. They signed on perhaps because it was, as Anthony DiMarco at Neiman in Philadeplphia says, a "simple and great idea," but certainly because they wanted to restore our democracy. The democracy that, in the words of Made Movement's Alex Bogusky, "has made our business possible in the first place."

The first 50 to sign on, like Sports Science in Fairfax, Virginia, received a limited edition poster, but it was apparently possible to Take Back Tuesday even without this gem. Judging by reports on Twitter, people loved celebrating Election Day.

Please see the inspiring photos here, here, here, here & here.

Take Back Tuesday encouraged not just businesses, but also individuals to turn Election Day into a holiday. Many of you came up with great ideas, like Allen Salkin's Bonfire of the Inanities: "At noon on Election Day everyone burns everything campaign related they have been mailed, handed, or forced to read in the newspaper."

Josh urged me to take an honest measure of the campaign. So I'll point out that we had a slight messaging problem. Some, like this Atlantic writer, likened our effort to past calls to make Election Day a national holiday, not realizing we were asking people to create their own holiday.

Nonetheless, this effort was a big success. I enjoyed participating and, more generally, I loved interacting with the GOOD community.

I come out of blog world, which lends itself to rants, and I can rant with the best of them. But my anger derives from idealism, and my idealism has found a cozy home here at GOOD, where people focus not just on problems but also on solutions. So, thanks.

We've elected a president, but the monumental job of strengthening our democracy continues. Onward...

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

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