Viva Kennedy, detail of old political button given to me by my father, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
Something happens to me every four years, right about now. I start to care about the presidential elections.
I start to get passionate and close in on who I want to win my party’s nomination. I watch closely what the candidates say. I check in on what analysts say and what polls say. I watch the debates then read the articles following the debates. I tune in to happenings in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Dakota.
I come from a political family. My parents are both Democrats, with deep roots to the leaders and programs that shaped the party. Here, an excerpt my father wrote about his mother captures the way a particular time and circumstance can create loyalty toward a party:
She was a strong Democrat and loved to get involved in politics. Her greatest political triumph came in 1932 when Franklin Roosevelt won the election over President Hoover. She had supported Roosevelt and had actively campaigned for him…
…Sometime around 1936 (or maybe late 1935), Magdalena got a break in life that lessened her burden for the first time. The federal government under President Roosevelt started a work project for the economically disadvantaged women and she was eligible to participate. This project, known informally as “la costura” or the sewing, was similar to the WPA except that it was for women alone caring for a family. Magdalena was selected to head the project for our community and we were very proud of her.
So all of a sudden the front room in our house, or what we called our living room, was transformed into a mini-factory full of sewing machines and bolts of cloth all around. The women had to furnish their own sewing machines (a necessary appliance that every household had) which were kept at our house. The women reported to work for eight hours a day on weekdays and produced childrens’ clothing, blankets and other items urgently needed which were then shipped out for distribution to the needy.
Following family tradition, I become an activist during political campaigns. In 2004, I worked in my precinct, registering voters and getting out the vote. But writing about politics — especially when yours is not a political blog — is tricky.
I write about my kids, animals, Jim, the weather, holidays, quirks, writing. I don’t write with an aim to convince anyone to come around to my way of thinking. And I don’t write to debate the goodness or not of my views.
Yet, so goes politics.
One time in early November for my dad’s birthday party, which my Republican sister held at her house, her Republican husband went on and on about how much he loved Rush Limbaugh. My dad boycotted Thanksgiving at that same sister’s house that year.
We have a policy to not talk politics at our family gatherings. We’re all passionate. Things end badly when we disagree.
So, it is with some trepidation that I now proclaim, being as how I’m
obsessed with interested in politics these days, that I plan to write every now and then about the national elections. I might make fun of Mitt Romney’s hair (wouldn’t he be perfect for a Grecian Formula commercial?) or the bags under the eyes of that old Republican dude. (No, not McCain. The other old dude.)
I wouldn’t be surprised, either, if I start seeing on other writing-slash-personal blogs more posts about the elections. In fact, if you’re so inclined, you should write about politics, too. That way I know I won’t be the only one doing it.
Here. To get you started, write for 15 minutes on this prompt: “When we talk politics in my family, this is what happens.”
Good luck. And may the best candidate win.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering…Barack rocks my socks. My parents are for Hillary, and it dawned on me yesterday that at 82, Mom won’t have many other chances to see a woman president. I could live with Hillary, too. Or Edwards. I like all three. And Richardson (oh fair New Mexico) as the veep. I
‘d be am a happy Democrat!
P.S., Dad’s a button collector. I have a ton of ’em. More to come…