No, I don’t seem to be suffering from dementia, yet. And I can clearly remember the period of time when I began loving to garden and grow things. But I can’t seem to remember exactly when I got interested in the political process. Interested, that is, as a reserved participant rather than being oblivious. I do clearly recall when, in my early twenties, I ended up with a Barry Goldwater sticker on my car bumper as the result of attending a rally out of curiosity, only to have my father insist that I park it in the garage when I came to visit; he was a staunch Democrat always, and didn’t want the neighbors to see that bumper sticker at his home. And my dad was a very gentle, mild-mannered fellow. I do know that my first presidential vote was cast for John F. Kennedy. I’m not Catholic so it was more than anything what he said that made me support him and I never changed my mind. Disappointed, yes, when in later years the extent of his infidelities surfaced, but I thought and still think he was a good president for the time he was allowed.
But over the years, voting for both Democratic and Republican candidates, I developed a position as an independent moderate. I also developed the philosophy that in our country we have at least six, perhaps seven, political parties: liberal and conservative Democrats, liberal and conservative Republicans, both categories for Independents, and then there is the Tea Party which is, for me, a political movement similar to what rap music is to music: extreme and not very well thought out.
I can thank the Tea Party for one thing though: our family’s personal revulsion for Tea Party or any other members of Congress who make pledges that apparently supersede their vows as members of Congress, and our revulsion for the entire Republican Party’s affinity for making assertions about a sitting president that are simply not true and blaming the President for their own choices and actions, as well as the current Republican candidates introducing ‘plans’ as their own that copy what the President has tried and tried to introduce and get at least debated, pretty well assures me that we will all, in our family, be supporting Mr. Obama much more vigorously than we have supported previous elections, with contributions and with personal effort. Because we used to think that if our own candidate didn’t win office, the one who did would do his best for the country too. And I can remember really well when we stopped believing that: November 2000.