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October 31st, 2008

Old Dogs and New Tricks

I just had lunch with my grandfather today. He is going to be ninety in January, and even though he lives in town I don't see him nearly enough. He remembers the Great Depression, he was at Pearl Harbor that one December, and he raised eight kids on a janitor's salary, sent them to catholic school and everything. He survived decades of alcoholism, and his wife's death, and he really is a remarkable man.

We were sitting at the table in his little tiny kitchen nook talking about how amazing family is, and how good it is to travel somewhere and be able to come HOME at the end of it. I said that going to Ghana really gave me a unique perspective on my country and a new sense of patriotism (though those who claim that there are 'real' and 'fake' Americans still may not consider me one of the 'real' ones). And we started talking about the election. I know that most of my family on my dad's side is on the conservative side, and I was pretty sure that my grandfather was in that category. I told him how it felt for me to listen to Barack Obama speak, how it sent chills down my spine and actually inspired me, gave me hope in our political process for the first time. And he told me the most remarkable thing. He said that (as a child of the Great Depression, a product of a conservative white upbringing, etc) he had never "known much about the blacks." But he said that Obama reminded him of Kennedy, of FDR, of the visionary, inspiring men he has seen as leaders of this country.  And that the divisive, mean, and untruthful campaign being run by the republican party in combination with that vision and inspiration meant that he was voting for Obama. My ninety year old grandfather was touched by a man who is as different from him as it is possible to get. That is the America I want to live in, please?

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ir3naus
ir3naus

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