The One Day (Off) When We Can Change the Course of Our Democracy

One Saturday evening in early October (admittedly after a few drinks), I found myself perusing Twitter and stumbled upon the trending topic of #takebacktuesday. What a simple and great idea, I thought.
As I soon learned, Election Day Tuesday is a relic of the 19th century, when people (men) needed time to travel by horse and buggy to the polls without missing any of the three days of worship. But today, one of the top reasons for poor voter turnout is the simple issue of people being too busy or inconvenienced by work to actually make it to the polls on a weekday.
In my moment of tipsy excitement, I quickly clicked the link, ‘Send to your Boss' to encourage them to close shop for Election Day. I confidently entered the email address of my agency's president and clicked send.

 Cognitive dissonance set in immediately and I thought, what the hell did I just do?! I’m a lowly intern asking for a day off. I even thought of what my exit interview might sound like.
I somehow mustered up the confidence to come into work at Neiman the following week. But instead of being told my services were no longer needed, I soon found myself in front of all the agency's department heads pitching the idea as the movement it could be.
There are plenty of holidays we celebrate that no longer have a practical civic purpose. And most of them are great. But in reality, there’s one day that gives us the chance to change the course of our democracy. This should be dedicated to voting, and making it easier for people to express their political choices. And because I haven’t always had United States citizenship, I’m a firm believer in every one of our civic duties—especially voting.
Senior leadership at Neiman agreed, and that’s why we joined Take Back Tuesday. And this isn’t a one-off initiative—it will now be an annual company-wide holiday. But we're not stopping there. We’ll also be off for "Primary Day" in our respective states of residence, as Neiman sees this as another day that is an integral part of our democracy machine.
These are by no means just days off, however. We’re hopeful this initiative will inspire all of our employees to take time out to support their candidate of choice or other causes they believe in. Be it through the simple act of voting, helping others to the polls and/or spreading the word of causes that are important to them, it’s a day where we’re encouraged to exercise our freedoms.

We love the idea of making civic and democratic participation a cornerstone of our culture. But it’s an idea that can only become reality if we, the people, subscribe to it. And making it easy for thousands of Americans (or even just our employees) to vote definitely feels like a step in the right direction.
So I encourage employees everywhere (even interns) to muster up some courage (liquid if need be) and make a case for a cause you believe in. Because, you too may effect change in your lives and surroundings.
This post is part of the Take Back Tuesday campaign to make Voting Day a national holiday. Sign up or encourage your company to join in at\n
Illustration by Tyler Hoehne \n
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

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Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

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In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


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The Planet
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

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