this i believe…i believe in elections…for different reasons than the verification of democracy.
election day. it reminds me of grade 5. it was the 1968 presidential elections and my teacher mrs. reinhard wanted to run mock elections. there would be debates, speeches and ultimately, an election. three candidates were chosen to represent and personify george wallace, richard nixon, and hubert humphrey. i was honorably chosen to be hubert humphrey from minnesota.
it was easy…i was raised in a pro-union democrat family. his views were my views. i began as an underdog. my class was stacked with nixon republicans. i debated gun control, race, war in vietnam and more. we were coming out of a difficult time and experiencing much violence in the streets. there was much fear and i took my task seriously. i was 11 years old, yet very convincing. even though hubert humphrey lost the election of 1968, i won in a landslide. richard nixon even voted for me!
my father was a politician and his enthusiasm caught me on fire. on election night he allowed me to stay up late and watch results. it was the first common ground that i found with my father. i knew the politicians well and their positions. i wanted to please my father. even to this day, i anticipate election night, like many who long for the day of the super bowl.
in the mid 70’s, as election day drew near, we received regular calls from the governor…wanting my father’s take on the cleveland election front. our governor would call at 2 or 3 in the morning. i answered the phone, went to awaken my dad and quietly stood in the hallway as i heard them converse. i felt like i was a part of history…just answering the phone!
i remember when my father was running for office. vulgar and hideous reports would come out to try to sway the election. i felt the offense and yet believed that my father was impervious…he was. i never saw him contemplate defeat…i never saw him lose. he was not an angel…but an awesome man with a contagious spirit that was used to change our community for the better.
its election day…i’m going to vote and many times today, i’ll remember a man that imparted a confidence that has since been shaken, but not crushed. it’s always strange as i stay up alone watching results…its as if he’s here…asking for my thoughts. some despise election day. it impacts me very different. its a day of remembrance…a simpler time…a connection with my dad. in some ways it doesn’t matter who wins…i’ve visited my father one more time!
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.