President Joe Biden, who attended a campaign fundraiser at a private home in Dallas recently,
has the best interests of our country at heart. (Photo courtesy Robert Emery)

Attending a campaign event at a friend’s home brings home the importance of voting

It is always an honor to be in the presence of a United States president. In 1991, I sang for George Herbert Walker Bush in the intimate chapel of Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas. Living in Preston Hollow, it’s not rare to run into George W. Bush; even less rare to be seated one luncheon table away from Laura Bush.

But it is another level of exhilaration to be in the presence of a president for whom you have voted. That was my distinct honor recently at the home of my friend, Sharon Youngblood, and her husband, Kneeland Youngblood.

Before attending, each guest was registered with the Secret Service. Background checks were conducted, along with COVID vaccine verification. As I arrived at the entrance to the block where the hosts’ home is located, the interior of my car was searched by Secret Service personnel, while a bomb-detecting dog circled my vehicle.

They extended a cordial send-off after this brief process, and I was free to proceed down the block to the end of a lush cul-de-sac where a valet took my car.

I had entered these gates before but never with more anticipation.

At the front door, additional security professionals emptied my pockets, examined my iPhone and scanned my body. These trained research experts knew more about me than I knew about myself.

A red carpet guided us through the expansive gardens and around the house to the large back yard. SWAT units were stationed every 100 feet along the perimeter of the several-acre estate. Snipers were perched on the roofs of neighboring houses.

The guest list was a cross-section of America, with every age, every race, every religion (or no religion), every gender expression and every affectional orientation represented — all happily coexisting, side-by-side.

The reality of America. The glory of America.

There were many who greeted their friends with warmth and love. There were just as many who greeted strangers with equal warmth and love. I was deeply heartened by the generosity and hospitality in every encounter.

I knew nobody except the hostess. But I certainly knew about many of her guests with public lives and famous names: Mark Cuban, Linda Rice, Matrice Ellis-Kirk and Ron Kirk, Mrs. Charlie Pride, Margot Perot, Mrs. Bass of Fort Worth, Sima Ladjevardian of Houston and Karine Jean-Pierre.

President Biden spoke clearly and decisively about gun control, women’s reproductive freedom, renewable power sources, preventing discriminatory mortgage lending, his sweeping crackdown on “junk fees” and overdraft charges, a penalty for college programs that trap students in debt, bringing microchip production home, cracking down on cyberattacks, countering China with a new alliance between Japan and South Korea, reinvigorating cancer research to lower death rates, making medication more accessible through telemedicine, empowering federal agencies to monitor AI, fixing bridges, building tunnels, and expanding broadband, and making airlines pay up when flights are delayed or canceled.

These are all issues every American likely supports.

That is the essence of Biden’s administration: He is a centrist with America’s best interest at heart. He is a president for ALL Americans. He is what America needs at this time. We must vote!

Writer Rebecca Solnit tells us, “A vote is not a valentine. You are not confessing your love for the candidate. It’s a chess move for the world you want to live in.”

Therefore we should not focus on issues with which we disagree with President Biden. We must decide for ourselves what kind of world we want to live in and vote for the presidential candidate who can move us closer to that reality.

We must vote!

We must vote as if our lives depend on it, because they do! It’s not enough to merely want to vote, or plan to vote.

We must vote!

When we vote, our values are transformed into action. That is the glory of America.

Vote! And move the world one step closer to the reality you wish to see.

Susan B. Anthony, women’s rights activist during the suffragette movement in the early 20th century, reminds us, “Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.”

We must vote!

Beyoncé implores us, “Your voices are being heard, and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain. Now we have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power, and that is to vote.”

Civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., warned us, ”Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

We must vote!

Longtime community activist and 2022 recipient of Black Tie Dinner’s Kuchling Award Robert Emery is a founding board member of the Coalition for Aging LGBT and is on the board for The Dallas Way.