Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A reminder to vote on Super Tuesday March 3, 2020

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 helped African Americans exercise their right to vote under the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. Stephen Somerstein photographed Bobby Simmons, a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committe. Simmons was wearing zinc oxide to prevent sunburn and wrote VOTE onto his forehead. This photo shows a section of Somerstein’s portrait of Simmons showcased in an April 2015 exhibit, “Selma to Montgomery: Marching Along the Voting Rights Trail,” at St. Olaf College. I photographed the photo with permission. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2015


VOTE. I encourage you, if you live in one of 14 states with primaries today, Super Tuesday, to vote.

This is not a political post. This is simply a strong suggestion that you exercise your right in our democracy.

As I pondered this subject, I was reminded of an exhibit, “Selma to Montgomery: Marching Along the Voting Rights Trail,” which I viewed at St. Olaf College in Northfield in April 2015. The 45 black-and-white images of the 1965 Civil Rights Movement by photographer Stephen Somerstein and more impressed upon me the importance of the right to vote.

I’d suggest you read that initial post by clicking here.

And then, go to your polling place and vote. It’s your right and your responsibility.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


When the political campaigners call March 1, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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I photographed this American flag recently in downtown Owatonna.

I photographed this American flag recently in downtown Owatonna.

THE PHONE RANG at 8 a.m. Not a good time to call. Early morning calls like that launch my heart into my throat. Nothing much good ever comes of a call made that early in the day.

The call came from a woman claiming to be with a cancer research group. I didn’t listen long enough to hear more. Her opening line caused me to slam the receiver into its base. She had no business phoning me; I’m on the do not call list. Plus, the timing of the call unsettled me.

Many times this past weekend I found myself hanging up without listening to an entire lengthy spiel. Not from some supposed charity. But from individuals representing Presidential candidates. Bernie Sanders. Donald Trump. Ted Cruz.

I tried to wedge my way into the scripted calls without sounding mean. It is not my nature to treat an unwelcome political caller with rudeness. Or at least I used to be that way. Now days I find bluntness almost a necessity to handle these unsolicited intrusions.

And so, when I could, I told the campaigner I’d watched the debates, at least some of them; am following the races; and am fairly well informed. And then I hung up.

Will today, Super Tuesday, bring a deluge of political calls? I hope not.

But I suppose I should consider the positive. At least I live in a country where I can get such calls, where opinions can be expressed, where I have a voice and where I have the option of hanging up.

Thoughts? I’m especially interested in hearing any creative ways you handle political phone calls.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling