Election 2008: Memories of My Father & the 23rd Amendment!
This post came from another blog: Living in a Perfect World (www.livinginaperfectworld.com)
Considering the timing of this particular post I thought it would be wise thing to remind all of YOU (yes that means you! I am talking to you!)
Memories from the past haunt our present and color our future– no matter if you are a GOP or a Dem, in a red or blue state. The ability to vote — and make your voice heard– is crucial.
It’s my first distinct memory of my father: he’s standing in our kitchen, making long-distance phone calls to relatives to make sure they’d done something–something he couldn’t do for himself.
It was Tuesday, November 8, 1960, and I was five years old; my father was 48. And the “something” he couldn’t do was to vote for John F. Kennedy. My father wasn’t permitted to vote because we lived in Washington, DC.
It’s understandable that a five-year-old didn’t know that Washingtonians weren’t able to vote. After all, most of the grownups I know now are surprised to learn that DC residents couldn’t vote.
(The 23rd amendment to the US Constitution, which would grant Washingtonians the right to vote in presidential elections, would not be passed until March 29, 1961–my sixth birthday. I confess that I don’t exactly remember the day, but I’m sure there was cake. Washingtonians still don’t have voting members in Congress, which explains their license plate motto, “Taxation without representation!” It’s also the reason that, when I’m asked if I’m from “Washington, the state,” my response is, “No. Washington, the colony.”)
After being assured that the extended family had, indeed, cast their votes for Kennedy, my father settled in to watch the election results on our living room TV. And I went to bed.
My second distinct memory of my father is discovering him the following morning, snoozing in front of the TV. (Richard Nixon had conceded to JFK at 3 a.m., DC time.) I remember being startled by the fact that he hadn’t shaved. My father was a proper sort of gentleman; he wore a shirt and tie to work six days a week. And he shaved every day–twice. While some historians blame Richard Nixon’s defeat on the appearance of dark stubble on his face during a televised debate with Kennedy, it was my father’s 5 o’clock shadow that I remember best.
Every fall, my children are forced to listen to that story and endure a sermon on the incredible privilege of voting. They sigh and roll their eyes, signaling each other with that “here she goes again” look. I don’t mind. The only thing that matters is that they treasure–and exercise–their right to vote.
VOTE: don’t think your vote, your voice won’t make a difference! It does. This country was founded on the right to vote for the leadership and on issues. People have gone to war and *died * for the right to vote. This election– and * any* election– your voice counts.
Living In A Perfect World
What’s your “perfect world”?
Thanks to LPW of Livinginaperfectworld.com for the post!