This one’s for you guys
I just dropped my absentee ballot in the mailbox. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to vote, for the first time in my life, for a presidential candidate whom I sincerely feel is much more than the lesser of two evils. I am actually inspired by the enormous human potential Barack Obama could bring to the table (provided the Republicans don’t manage to steal the election or have him killed.) And yet my elation is tempered by a tinge of melancholy, and I know it’s not because of anything our shadowy overlords may or may not have up their sleeves.
It’s because it’s the first time Hank and June won’t be voting with me.
When my mom and dad were killed by a drunk driver back in December 2005 I knew the holidays would be hard from here on out. Christmas and Thanksgiving are sort of dead to me now. But there’s a holiday I hadn’t even thought of—one that only happens every four years. Man, oh man! I think this Election Day will be the hardest holiday yet.
My parents were news junkies and fierce liberals, constantly at odds with the Bible-thumping, Bush-swallowing Tammy Faye clones our Texas hometown was crawling with. For whatever reason they chose to stay there—opting to delight in the wearing of shirts with ornery political slogans and having intentionally incendiary conversations in crowded restaurants instead of getting the hell out of there like I finally had to. I think they liked the fight.
Remember when Dick Cheney shot that guy in the face? A friend of mine in Texas called me that day and said, “Is it weird that the first thing I thought of was that your dad must be getting a tremendous kick out of this, wherever he is?”
“No. That’s not weird at all,” I said. “What’s weird is that I kind of half-think he must have been the one guiding the bullet.”
Well, Hank and June would have LOVED this election cycle. I remember talking to my mom after Obama’s keynote speech at the DNC in 2004. She was like, “That guy’s gonna be the president someday.” Lots of people said that. It was obvious.
And they would have loved watching the Republican party implode as it has begun to do in recent weeks. Because seriously—it’s almost like the Republicans’ new strategy is to make everyone who’s paying attention laugh themselves to death (until the only ones still standing are the ones who don’t get the joke.) The amazing thing is that people aren’t buying it anymore. It really feels like we’re entering a new age in American politics. Like Michelle Obama, I’m actually proud of my country for once. I know my mom and dad would be proud, too. Because I really don’t think they liked to fight because they liked to fight, you know? I think they just saw so much injustice and ignorance all the time that they felt like they had to.
Anyway, I miss you guys. This one’s for you.