By Rochelle Corso
Bradley Weber of Itasca is an independent voter. And he’s a little surprised at himself.
“I am politically unaffiliated and vote for the best candidate, whether they are Democratic or Republican. But I decided I had to get involved in this election because of the assault on our democracy.”
As a result, when political literature was left on his door, Weber actually read it. “The door-hanger talked about Addison Township Democrats and listed ways to get involved with the process.” That’s exactly what he did. Without giving his decision too much thought, Weber volunteered to walk three precincts to pass out voter information and encourage people to get to the polls.
While Weber isn’t an influencer on social media yet – he proved to be a pretty strong influencer at home. Since his three precincts added up to about 350 homes, he was able to influence his wife and daughter to provide the extra boots needed to do all that walking. (Because of the Covid pandemic, walking a precinct looks different this election. Precinct workers are masked, and leave literature behind, not ringing bells or knocking on doors.) But the walking hasn’t changed, and that’s what the Weber family has been doing.
Weber attended some political meetings held on Zoom, and made the decision to get involved by adopting precincts that needed literature dropped. Even though the meetings are on-line, Weber said he is glad to find himself in the company of a group of people working towards the common goal of restoring democracy.
In years past, Weber limited political activity to researching candidates and voting. “But now I’m getting out there and beating the drum to raise awareness. Coming from a staunch Republican household, right now I’m the black sheep of the family.”
Weber comes from an extended family with strong political views – views that he doesn’t share. “I am committed to helping to restore balance to government because I think the current party in power is dedicated to the wreckage of the democratic process. “
Weber says he and Stephanie, his wife, are proud of their involvement. “When Stephanie and I talk, we talk about whether our democracy will survive. It’s tragic that we’re at a time in our history when people are anti-science and pro-nationalism. These groups are steeped in a persecution narrative that is just insane.”
Weber’s 16-year-old daughter Grace is firmly on-board, motivated by her parents and the values of civic engagement.
“I am pretty passionate about social justice issues. And I watch the way people use social media and how it affects different political movements. The DuPage Democrats support lots of things I support, and I wanted to get information out to as many people in the area as possible.”.
On a sunny fall day, Grace said leafleting was fun, but made for a long day and tired feet. “But it was pretty rewarding. I liked doing it and I got a couple of my friends to help. After we were finished, we got to see all the door hangers on peoples’ houses and it was a good feeling knowing we put them there.”
While Grace Weber is too young to vote this election, she sees her political involvement as important to her community. “it’s a perfect segue between political issues that are arising and how these issues will effect our lives. I can do my part by encouraging others to vote.”
In the end, the Weber family believes that their volunteer participation won’t be a one-time deal. “This is a responsibility inherent in being an American citizen. We need to be informed voters. Each vote that is cast should be cast in defense of democracy, not just because one candidate makes you feel good. It should be cast in the interest of electing the person who will best represent the people, the constituency of the United States, “said Weber.
He added, “Whoever you vote in as coroner, dog-catcher, forest preserve commissioner — these positions will all effect how things are managed within your community, your township and your county. All your decisions will make a difference.”