Thursday, January 10, 2008

Confessions of a Political Junkie

I can't help it. I'm addicted. I picked up the habit at my mother's knee. We didn't have anything else in common and did not agree on much, but we both loved politics. Reading about it, discussing it, arguing about it. Election times were when we had the most contact after I left home. When I was small she was a Democrat, but as she got older she became quite a fierce advocate of the Independent movement. She was a staunch supporter of Ross Perot, organizing for him, campaigning for him, annoying her friends and family about him. I remember the election of 1992 quite clearly. In the early going I was a Paul Tsongas supporter and my mom would get so mad because I would not, could not support Ross Perot. She would keep telling me that Perot was a smart man and he knew what needed doing to get the country "back on track" (Funny how that phrase seems to come up during every election, huh?). We would get together and watch the debates and the campaign speeches and the news and all that stuff and she would get all glassy eyed and so intent when Perot was speaking. She would shake her finger and say, "listen, listen! Just listen to what he's saying!" she was a total convert. But I would say, "yes mother, he states the problems quite clearly but he hasn't said yet what his plans are to fix the problems. He knows what is wrong but he hasn't said how he is going to make things right." and he never did. He was quite good at talking about what was wrong in America and he stated the problems that average Americans were going thru at the time. But not once in all the debates, TV programs, ads, stump speeches, etc. did the man ever state clearly what he was actually going to do about anything. I would ask my mom what his position was on any policy and she would spout his words back at me but she never could answer my simple question: "What is he going to do about it?"

Anyway, Tsongas and Perot both dropped out of the race and we both became Bill Clinton supporters. It was sort of funny that we started the campaign season about as far apart as two political junkies could get and neither of us be Republican, and we both ended up supporting the same candidate. She was fun to go to a rally with; very enthusiastic. When she decided to get behind something she did it whole-heartedly. I miss not being able to share this particular campaign season with her. She would have loved the idea of Hillary Clinton running (any woman, really) for President of the United States of America. We could have had a grand ol time dissecting, analyzing, discussing and fussing over the candidates and the issues. I'm so sad that she didn't live long enough to see a woman run a real, viable campaign. My mom was an original. She was a single mom in the late 60's, early 70's who didn't get child support from her alcoholic, sorry ex-husband; who worked two and sometimes 3 jobs to get by, working the same job as men for half the pay. She drove cars hauled out of the junk yard that my teenage uncles would help her fix, just so she could get to the grocery store and back. (she thumbed rides to her jobs because the car was too unreliable) Ever see anyone use the outside of a wire brush roller to fix a collapsed radiator hose on a Buick?, I have. The exhaust pipe was hanging on with a wire clothes hanger and since it was all rusty when they hauled it out of the junk yard, they took a hood and two doors from another Buick in the junk yard and swapped them out. The car was white and the hood and two doors were red. The doors didn't always close right and I almost fell out one day when mom was turning a corner. Scary.

Mom would have been over the moon to support Hillary. She was always happy to speak up about women's rights. Some would say she was down right militant about it, but knowing her life as I do, I can see why. I am sometimes militant about it myself, even if we have "come a long way, Baby". We still haven't come far enough. So... anyway, the point is this: I love politics, I love talking about it, discussing it, listening to it on the TV. I'm a political junkie. I'm addicted and I've got it bad. I don't know what I'll do when this cycle is over. It sure has been exciting. I would have loved to share this past year and the year to come with Mom. She would have loved to share it with me, too, I know. I know she is out there, somewhere, watching, but knowing that doesn't cut the mustard. I can't hear her, see her, watch her excitement. It sucks, actually, when I let myself think about it. At least Thomas is getting to be nearly as bad as I am about it. Mom would have loved that, too.

1 comment:

pamwax said...

You are a very lucky young women to have had such a wonderful Mom.