Although my dad rarely discusses politics my mother has always instilled in me an appreciation for politics, political action, social justice etc. The earliest election I recall was the 1960 presidential election even though I was only five years old at the time. I suppose what I really recall was my mother’s enthusiasm for JFK. I remember mom making a big deal about the fact that Kennedy was a Catholic and that that was controversal. I recall election Day my Aunt Jody had to babysit me after school that day because mom was working the polls.
Continuing to be aware of political events I recall saying “What’s a blockade mommy?” During the Cuban missile crisis. I always enjoyed watching the political conventions on TV and of course growing up in the Vietnam era and through the Watergate scandals you couldn’t help but be aware of politics if you watch the news at all.
I was also blessed with an excellent junior high social studies teacher named Ron Kohl. I remember him promising us that Lyndon Johnson would be the Democratic nominee. I couldn’t wait to get to school one day to hear him eat crow after Johnson’s famous “I shall not seek and shall not accept the nomination of my party…”.
I also like to tell people I was in Chicago in the summer of 1968 and remember all the hippies in Grant Park. Of course I neglect to tell people I was 13 years old and on vacation with my parents to visit places like Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. We were there two weeks before the fateful convention.
I’m not sure what was the first election in which I voted. I turned 18 in 1973 and I think they had lowered the voting age by then to 18 from 21. With the exception of a few meaningless primaries in a couple of boring off year municipal elections I’m sure I’ve voted in most every election that could.
Being very liberal and very Democrat is not only my heritage but by my choice and I’ve always voted Democrat for president. I have occasionally crossed over to vote for Republicans I admire such as Richard Lugar and William Hudnut.
Basically I’m a political junkie and always have been. Now that I’ve got a DVR if made it even easier for me to watch more politics on TV. I can easily record the Sunday morning political talk shows as well as catch an occasional episode of Keith Olbermann on MSNBC each night. This political season has been a great joy to watch although I have a lot of anxiety that the Democrat party might self-destruct.
Despite all of this political history there is one area where I’ve still been a “political virgin”. That he did today when I did something I’ve never done before. I actually contributed money to a political campaign. I logged into BarackObama.com, gave them my credit card number, and donated $300.
Not only was I amazed and inspired by the straight talk of his speech on race relations (see my earlier post) , I find myself in agreement with Caroline Kennedy that no candidate since her father or perhaps her uncle Bobby has inspired people to the extent that Barack Obama has done.
And why did I donate the amount of $300? You would think someone who was on Social Security disability of about $800 per month wouldn’t dare to afford such an extravagant donation but I did something else today. I filed a tax return even though I own no taxes and have had none deducted. The Bush administration in its infinite wisdom has decided to “stimulate me” by giving me $300 tax rebate for no good reason. I think therefore it’s ironic yet justified to put that windfall $300 to the best use I can imagine. Helping someone who I admire and respect to become the next president of the United States.
What a country!