Politics in the Morning
I started my day by calling my mom.
My dad, who is in the Air National Guard reserves, shipped out yesterday to Germany. He is a Lt. Colonel chaplain and he will be working in the main recovery hospital with our injured military who are coming straight from the front lines of Iraq. This hospital is their first stop. They wake up to find themselves without arms or legs, and realize that their buddies have also been injured or have lost their lives. It is a tough hospital. It is an emotional and intense place. He will be there for several months helping the soldiers as they come to terms with their new bodies, new lives, and new realities. He will be there as they begin to question God. As they work through their grief, nightmares, anger, and guilt. He will walk alongside of them. He is just a small part of the entire military family, but he will play a pretty important role in their lives.
So I called my mom to see how she was doing with him going away. She sounded like she had been crying. She denied this, but I know her crying voice. Then she broke...
"Jenny, if you are going to vote democrat, you have to, have to, have to vote for ________." In a flurry of political passion that I have never seen from my mom, she spent the next ten minutes rambling through the benefits of this candidate, at moments pleading with me in desperation on behalf of the security and basic survival of my country to vote for this person.
From a woman who generally only cries at lame hallmark movies and didn't even cry at my wedding (which I took as a personal offense from both of my parents. There they are giving me away and not a single tear. They couldn't wait to get me off the insurance and out of the house! I was so mad that no one cried. I wanted drama. Fanfare. Tears. They were all giggles and smiles)...anyways, for a woman of few tears, this candidate has my mom in an emotional, fighting for the country, political frenzy.
It was pretty amusing. And convincing.
An Old Patriot
And on this note, I am glad an election like this is occurring in my lifetime. Every race, every class, every educated, every uneducated, every American willing to invest right now actually has a chance to steer the direction of our country and a chance for their voice to be heard. And people are not taking this lightly. At the recent Obama rally in Dallas, thousands of people were turned away because the arena was already filled to capacity. I read an article today about Hillary Clinton going door to door in south Texas to meet people. The people she was meeting were older, in their late 70's, and they were actively engaging her in questions and had open minds about the election. 77 and still voting? That's amazing. People across our country, democrats especially, are coming out in droves, crossing all ethnic, racial, age, and class barriers to get out, become educated, make-up their minds, and then put their freedom into action....people are voting.
As a patriotic person who really values our freedom and the idea of America, it is pretty cool to see this election. This election represents something big. It represents what it means to be apart of a free society. And unlike the last election in 04' there are no MTV campaigns or the like begging people to get out and vote. Now they are just saying....whoa, vote early, because there are A LOT of you voting. And that's how it should be. It is an honor to have a vote. To have a voice. To get to choose. To have a relatively fair voting system. Shame on us if we don't take advantage of voting.
In his weekly email, my pastor said that he picks candidates based on their celebrity endorsements and then went on to tell us what candidates were endorsed by who. This made me laugh. I love that he does not use his platform in front of his 5,000 plus member church to think for us or to guilt us into voting a certain way and for a certain party. Rather, he encourages us to think. To study. To use our spiritual lives as a guide when we look at matters of policy. And to vote accordingly. The bottom line being that it is a gift to vote that we should each embrace. There are both republicans and democrats on our church staff and in our church. And surprise-surprise, we can all still love each other and do the work of Jesus. What an amazing concept.
So back to my mom who totally skipped over the question about her emotional state in the wake of my dad leaving and skipped straight to the passionate campaigning...she closed by saying she already had a new friend to take my dad's spot in her life. Sally. A possum who showed up in the yard last night. She befriended "her" and named her Sally. She clearly hasn't seen ELF where Buddy the Elf is attacked by a vicious possum. No. Every animal is a friend to my mom.
We never really talked about my dad. We went straight from politics to possums named Sally. So goes politics. One second it is life or death and the only thing CNN and good ole' Rush Limbaugh can talk about; with more breaking news, poll results, and debates than we could ever dream of....but pretty soon it will be over. And we will move on to possums named Sally and no child left behind and the new white house decorations and whether we should insure our pet poodles.
So goes life...