Although I have strong political opinions I try not to share them too often on this blog. They are a part of who I am but they are not all that I am. I think if you only share your politics, or share too much of your politics, it’s too easy to forget that fact.
That being written I’m sure it comes as no surprise to frequent readers that I tend to vote Democratic and that philosophically I’m in the liberal/progressive camp. Well, I am more that, to some of my more conservative friends, and less so, to those who are more radical in their philosophy or politics.
So, despite reservations that I have about some of President Obama’s policies, I am going to vote for him. Beyond that I’m going to be making phone calls in support of his campaign today, and in all likelihood, tomorrow, too. I see more positive outcomes as a result of his being re-elected.
In an ironic way, I do so as a result of and despite my parent’s political heritage.
Both my folks grew up in poverty – deep poverty. My dad was the youngest child of a widow who worked in a tortilla factory to provide for her children. My mom, at one point in her life, drank out of a horses trough for lack of water in her home. In some ways the most common aspect of their young childhood was the degree of poverty that surrounded them.
Both had their lives positively impacted by government programs. My dad was in the Civilian Conservation Corps, my mom was a part of the Works Project Administration. These programs were viewed by some as being branches of communism or socialism. Through these programs my mom and dad developed skills that in turn provided me with a stable, comfortable childhood and with parents who embraced the idea of the American Dream.
I benefitted from programs that invested in the intellectual infrastructure. I was the recipient of a college loan. Jane Kaczmarek, pictured here at the opening of the Obama Campaign offices on Lake Avenue, shares a similar familial history. Her parents were Polish immigrants who faced similar challenges and she cited her being able to attend college as one of her most positive life changers.
I don’t know what political affiliation her parents had, but mine were decidedly Republican. Ardent Republicans and Conservative Catholics. My mother and I spent many an hour arguing our positions and thoughts about abortion, celibacy, gun control and welfare. We didn’t agree on a lot, but we never felt the other was an idiot because our position opposed the other. We never came to name calling and we spent our holidays together. My folks going out to vote acted as an incentive for James and me to be sure to go out and cast our vote. Perhaps not the most mature or sophisticated reason to vote, but it did get us in the habit. I think my parents voted because they knew we’d be voting. It really was about our expressing our choice – our voto really was our voice.
I’m hoping that we can reach a point where the journalists, opinion makers, and politicos in our nation can pull back from the angry words and do similarly. We don’t have to insert people into gross categorizations, just because they disagree with our political inclinations and decisions. We can be civil even in the middle of our deep disagreements.
The last two pictures are also from the opening of the campaign headquarters for President Obama. I include them because they share a good deal of what I embrace in the American Dream.
I see folks from many backgrounds, and, because I know something of those pictured, they also have diversity in their approach to business, education, immigration, and women’s rights. I may not agree with them about many things but together we’ll working to keep our voices heard and our votes counted.
|Image courtesy SGVN/Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz|