Grandpa’s Politics

by Mark on November 4, 2010

My grandson, Jaymeson, and I are into a picture book. He pronounces ‘garbage truck,’ but declines to say ‘Mama’ or ‘Grammy’. ‘Grandpa’ is in his vocabulary. Good boy! In the background blares the hangover of the recent elections on cable news. The victors crow and losers whine while the pundits critique today’s terrible partisanship. I am reminded of times spent with my grandpa, learning politics.

In 1964 my Grandpa Clark and I watched the Republican Convention in July and the Democrats a month later. He was a World War I veteran and retired county worker. My preference was play, not politics, but Grandpa made it interesting. As the Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater. Grandpa cursed Coolidge and Hoover. During the Great Depression the bank was unable to give Grandpa his savings, but still expected his farm’s mortgage payments. No one was buying his crops, so the sheriff foreclosed on him, his wife, and seven children. “Goldwater is a nut and Nixon is a crook,” he roared. “Republicans will bankrupt us.” I loved how Grandpa roared. Learned to roar just like him.

A few weeks later, “Roosevelt saved us!” Grandpa got a job with the WPA or CCC that later turned into a permanent county road position. “Truman was courageous and Kennedy is a saint.” What else could Kennedy be after being a martyr, Catholic, Irish, and Democrat! His cigar smoke rings were like halos for those liberals.

Grandpa’s politics sank in. I grew to be more progressive than others with a better understanding of civil rights and a more liberal perspective of government’s role in our lives. It is silly to think the good old days were less partisan. Today’s difference is the 24 x 7 news merely amplifies it.

Jaymeson is tugging at me, pointing at an airplane, and sputtering his lips like a propeller. What will be this little man’s politics? Having lost no farms or fought no wars, there is no axe to grind. I hope he accepts others regardless of their politics, or other differences. I pray life is simpler with joy coming from friends and loves, not dependency on future toys. Jaymeson, ignore the pundits and politicians fears for future generations. Don’t try to repair something that does not work. Create something new. Now, where is that plane?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gina November 5, 2010 at 11:51 am

Mark, last summer at the reunion in Defiance, Candi and Carmel and I went to the dam (like we all used to do in high school). The firs large covered picnic area had a plaque on it that it was built by the CCC during the depression. I wonder if your Granpa worked on that. I had never noticed it before.

Jo November 5, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I loved this, Mark. Brings back old memories!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: