I have a warm spot in my heart for the Political Conventions; for either party. They both hold special meaning for me because of my father. Politics is something he’s always been interested in and he’s shared that interest with me since I was a boy. I remember watching the conventions as he would explain the whole thing to me. It all seemed so mysterious then. Of course, it actually was a bit mysterious back then as opposed to now where there is no drama to speak of.
I also remember playing a board game with him called “Landslide.” It was a regular game where the object was to collect enough electoral votes to become President. This further educated me in the ways of America’s Politics.
During this political season, he and I often will sit for hours discussing and debating the candidates; what they should do or say, what they should emphasize or minimize about themselves. “If it were me, I’d blah, blah, blah.” Followed by, “Oh, no, are you crazy? He should blah, blah, blah.”
Two observations about this season: I finally got him to converse normally with me about these things. For instance, he now uses the term “we” when talking about the Democrats. He knows I’m going to vote Republican no matter what, and for the longest time he danced around and avoided saying it like that, and all the while bashing the President and accusing me of being a religious fanatic. I’ve been working on him for years now to get him to admit that he also has strongly held beliefs. Many people fall into this category: They think they’re open minded but they’re just not. They won’t admit that they too come to the table with a set of beliefs. I find it much more fruitful to have conversations with someone I completely disagree with, but who announces their viewpoint or agenda up front. Someone who claims to be open-minded while accusing you of being judgmental is of course being judgmental. Again, I can handle that as long as they admit that their belief system plays a part in their opinions and politics. So you see, by my Dad using the term “we” finally to describe the Democrats and their convention, I believe I’ve made some headway.
The other observance I have is a complaint though it just me, and I think I need to get over it. And that is that “I get no respect!” I have been, thanks to him, following and reading politics and history for my entire adult life. That gives me about 20 years. He still talks to me like I’m a kid who doesn’t know anything about politics. I’ve made many predictions that have come true, I’ve offered many an insight into complex situations concerning current events; and I get nothin’! So the other night at the baseball game, I told him we were going to predict the outcome of the general election in November, with electoral vote counts and seal them up until after the election. Then we would open them and see who was closer. He just kinda shrugged. I did my prediction anyway. If I’m close, I’ll be reminding him of what I wrote down. He’ll probably remind me if Kerry wins! I predicted Bush will win with 278 electoral votes. That leaves Kerry with 260. We shall see.