Early voting has begun and I’m still hearing comments like “I really don’t like either candidate, so I’ll just hold my nose and vote for the lesser of the two?”

To that I say, wait a minute. I want to have all my senses alive and working well when I go to vote.

I want my eyes to be wide open.

I want my ears to remain unclogged.

I want to be able to touch and examine all the evidence and material available to help me make my choice.

I don’t want any funny tastes left over in my mouth after any political exchange I may have with you.

And, I want to be able to trust my nose to tell me when something the candidates do, say or demonstrate does not ‘smell’ right. That‘s right. I’ve got good instincts, but so do you! Trust your gut.

Here’s what the pundits are saying: That if you’re thirty-something, this will be the first time there is no one of color at the top of ticket. The optics are unsettling, I know. Are y’all still feeling the Bern? And if you’re female, educated, over sixty, this is it for you after your lifelong pursuit of the ultimate symbolic equalizer- a woman president.

But if you’re an ‘angry white male’, this election offers you a straw-thin hold onto a past that may never again be a reality in America. Now hear this: your jobs have left and will not be returning, so get thee to a re-training program! Or, if you’re a Christian conservative white woman, you have so much to compromise, what with groping, stalking, heavy breathing, abortion debates, et al. Your children’s eyes and ears cannot remain covered forever. Are you praying for more tolerance?

And, there are so many other sub-groups who are debating what the candidates will deliver for them; as well as what they will lose if either wins.

One thing I know for sure is that on November 9th, we will have elected a new leader of the country, and it might not be the person you thought, if you sit this one out.

The importance of your vote is more critical than ever.

Obama was an historical ‘first’ and that phenomenon will not get repeated in my lifetime. Yet, I strongly believe that the bottom line is that the history books will record these past eight years on the plus side of the column of forward movement for the nation. Mark my words: The Obama administration will, with all its pock marks as well as shiny accomplishments, go down in history as one of the best. His time in office put the nation on a trajectory toward fulfilling the original founders’ vision; polishing up the unwritten promises for inclusion, diversity, equality and justice for all.

And you will have been part of that; as a supporter, or as a participant, and in some cases only as a witness.

Your choice this time around will mark another equally significant milestone in the country’s development; one that will keep the momentum moving forward, or one that will bring us to screeching halt and turn us back to a fictitious time- when America was great.

People, there was no such time.

We have only recently begun to make America great, starting with the passage of amendments to the constitution which have invited all people to enjoy the fruits of the freedoms originally promised; with some new and enlightened approaches to maintain those gains; focused and sustained efforts to keep those gains from slipping away under narrow and strict Supreme Court rulings; with the admission of America’s original sin of slavery, and an ongoing discussion of reparations, etc.

Can we afford to slow or stop this movement for four-eight years? Be careful. Be very careful about the future direction that you are voting into office. The choice should be clear. Movement forward or a turn back in time.

Unplug you ears. Uncover your eyes. Examine the information. Follow your gut. Don’t pinch your nose, and vote like your life depended upon it.

It does. My grandchildren are counting on you.

Antonia Williams-Gary can be reached at