why am I so political? (election eve, ’20)

‘Cause I was raised that way.

My father worked for the U.S. Department of Labor his entire adult life. He became a manpower specialist, setting up job programs in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. He was very well respected, dedicated to his work and a bleeding heart, a champion for the underdog. During the ’50’s and ’60s, he ran for local office as an independent (hatch act – but democrat through and through) and served our community as councilman, deputy mayor, as well as a member of the local school board. His name is on a plaque in my high school and a pocket park (above) was memorialized in his name. I remember “coffee klatches” held in our living room while “campaigning,” my father mostly pitching himself to a group of perhaps 20, but occasionally pitching another Democrat, someone of like mind and agenda. Small town stuff. And still a most powerful memory.

My mother also worked, but always took a day off to work the election polls; every primary, every general election, every election I could ever remember. Our voting site was the local fire department and I remember playing there as a child while my mother took down names, drank coffee, and pulled me off the fire truck to step outside for an occasional cigarette. I remember people hiding behind a curtain, doing what I could only imagine.

I was raised to believe that it is in the best interest of all concerned to lift a man up rather than hold him down. I was raised to believe that one should use their voice with regard to their community, and should shouting be necessary to get someone’s attention, so be it. I was raised to believe that government works. I was raised to believe in the obligation of voting and the power of the vote.

I am disgusted by the behavior of our president and his followers. I’m frankly disgusted with our nation as a whole. On this election eve, November 2, 2020, I sit and type this message with nothing to cling to but hope – and the memories of powerful parents doing good.