The Political Divide and Family Unity at Its Best

Julie - New York, New York
Entered on November 19, 2008

I am old enough to understand only three presidential elections. Each one was historic in its own right. It is November again and each of my grandparents has a choice to make as they walk into the polls together and cast their vote. The time has come to choose.

I believe that America is one of the only places where we can turn our political direction around in one day. Each family must evaluate America’s direction individually and collectively. I believe that families can hold two different sides of an issue under one roof. This is one lesson I give credit to my grandparents for.

Take my grandmother, I know her as the old woman just over five and a half feet with permed red hair, but she is a woman who has lived through adversity. She lived through Martin Luther King Jr.’s march through Marquette Park against racism, while the neighborhood threw bottles and bricks and near the Nazi headquarters stationed down the block on the South Side of Chicago. Nonetheless, she retained her liberal democratic upbringing and preserved from childhood, the morals instilled in her of family, religion and education. She is the rare vote, the active voice.

My grandfather grew up in the meatpacking district of Chicago. He is an honorably discharged army veteran who fought the Iraq war with gusto from his living room chair. Unlike my grandmother, he holds the common ideals of the deeply conservative, republican town of Naperville, Illinois where they reside.

Each one shies away from the topic of politics in return for peace and common family unity. Fifty years of marriage has seen the raising of three children, two republicans, a truck dispatcher and an accountant, and a democratic urban social worker. All of whom are scattered across the country. They have instilled family unity through the generations which is apparent when it is a family occasion that each child takes their individual children back each year. As for the 2008 historic election, my grandparents watched in different rooms, she cried tears, while he cried for a recount.

For me, I believe in the collective effort of one family divided by politics, but united by family and peace. I have taken in this sense of common unity that my grandparents have shown me and I fundamentally believe, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter your political beliefs, but how you interact with those of the opposite.