Dream Big

Every time a woman runs, women win.

Geraldine Ferraro

~~~

Did you see the news? Kristi could be president someday!

The phone tucked under my chin, I had the long coiled cord stretched tight as I stood in the kitchen…as close as I could get to a 12″ television in the corner. I had the news on that July day in 1984 when Democratic Presidential nominee Walter Mondale announced his choice for running mate.

For the first time ever, the Vice Presidential candidate was female. It was blowing minds everywhere. Mine included. Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro of NY was joining former Vice President Walter Mondale on the Democratic ticket for the November election. My mother was the first to call me.

I did see the news! I can’t believe it…Yes she could!

I was as excited as Mom was, if not more so. My daughter Kristi, then just 2 years old and covered with remnants of lunch, was smiling and banging a spoon. A long way to go to the White House, but now it seemed possible. In my opinion, she showed great promise.

I’ll never forget that moment. It triggered my involvement in politics. Parenthood is a powerful motivator for action; but never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine a woman being elected President…or Vice President. Not that I ever doubted a woman was capable of doing the job and doing it well. That was never a question – in my mind at least. Perhaps I didn’t dream big enough – or didn’t know I could – but that day in 1984 opened the door of possibility in my mind. And in the minds of many others.

I worked on the Mondale/Ferraro campaign in NH and, when possible, on future campaigns for candidates I believed in…for my daughter and my son who came along 3 years later. For children everywhere. We all know how the 1984 election turned out, but ground had been broken.


I have a box of both local and national political tidbits and swag going back to 1984…

1984 Presidential election collectibles

And then yesterday…36 years later…it happened.

Breaking News…

Former Vice President Joe Biden will be our next President.

Senator Kamala Harris will be our next Vice President.

A highly qualified woman.

Finally.

But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities and to the children of our country regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris
November 7, 2020

Peaceful groups of joyful citizens gathered throughout the USA yesterday. Mask wearing was evident in Portsmouth, but even so, I could tell everyone was smiling.


Ragtag Daily Prompt: Tidbit

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: November 6

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: November 6

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year. How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

~~~

The following post was published on November 6, 2018. It was election day here in the United States. Mid-term elections don’t usually involve as much drama as the presidential elections do, but they are important nonetheless. As all elections are.

I am struck by the contrast between then and now. No pandemic. No uneasiness about the process. An atmosphere free of tension. The results were not questioned or contested (at least as I remember it). The system wasn’t vilified.

I have to believe it will be that way again.

********

I Voted

ivoted.jpg

As I drove towards the polling location this morning, I was thrilled to wait in a long line of cars to turn in to the parking lot.

Up and down the packed rows of cars I went, looking for an open parking space. Unlike the usual me, I felt no aggravation or need to complain under my breath.

The clouds and misty drizzle didn’t dampen my spirits as I parked. And walked by crowds of supporters holding campaign signs. Peacefully. Democrats on one side of the walkway. Republicans on the other side.

I was smiling as I waited in line behind other voters once I got inside the building…the town’s former high school. Tables side by side divided up voters via the alphabet — first letters of last names.

There were men, women, children, babies – all patiently waiting. Rows of red, white and blue curtained voting booths also waiting throughout the old gymnasium. I made it to the check-in person, showed my driver’s license and received my ballot – yes, here we have paper ballots as long as your arm. A black sharpie also waited inside each booth. To fill in the empty circles beside all the hopeful candidates’ names.

I am always filled with a sense of awe at this moment. At the privilege – and the right – of having my voice actually count. It is only one voice, but it is as important as that guy in front of me in line. And as important as the young mom holding the curly headed baby in the line to my left. The perfect equalizer. That not everyone in this world has.

Just before I turned 18, the voting age was changed from 21 to 18, courtesy of the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution (which followed the crucial 19th Amendment 51 years earlier…also making my vote possible). When I actually turned 18, I registered to vote at my high school. We had passionately discussed the significance of this change in History class and amongst ourselves. After all, there were 18, 19 & 20 year olds headed to Vietnam who should at least be able to vote.

I haven’t missed an election since.

When my two children turned 18, I took them soon after to our city hall to register. My son registered on his actual birthday – the next day was election day. And we both went together. “Did you get your absentee ballot?” I’d ask each of them every year when they were in college. We are lucky in this country, I tell them. We have a voice.

Use it.

Give Peace (and Education) a chance

Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.

Maria Montessori

 

IMG_8175

Vote YES for the middle school expansion!

Today is voting day in my small town. Or…as it was formerly known…Town Meeting Day. Or, more specifically, Town Meetin’ Day.

Many years ago, it was actually an open meeting for all town residents. Who assembled on folding chairs set up in the town hall. Votes were cast on various budget items and for the election of town officials. Attendees were given an opportunity to stand and voice support or opposition to the matters at hand. Sometimes a paper ballot. Sometimes just a voice vote.

Now, as the town has changed – and the population has increased – we vote in voting booths. In the former high school’s gymnasium. Exactly the same way we vote in the general elections.

Some may say these local elections are not all that important.
I disagree.
We are choosing the individuals who will sit on the School Board. We are voting for the members of the Board of Selectman, which governs our town. Making crucial decisions. Rules affecting how we live, where we live, where we park. Public safety. Fire trucks. Street signs. Police activity.  Water quality. Local businesses also absorbing the direct and indirect ramifications.

Today there are over 20 individual budget items to consider, including the annual operating budget. One item on the ballot – for the 3rd year in a row – is all about education.

The middle school desperately needs to be expanded and renovated. Each yearly proposal has slashed more of its requests to reduce the cost. Letters to the Editor in the local paper shout out We Need This! or A Waste of Money! Often implying that the senior citizens…or those without school age children…are the reason this hasn’t been approved.

The financial burden of property taxes (which is how our schools are financed) is real. I get that. But I also know that the dollar increase due to this ballot item is not extraordinary. It averages out to a few monthly meals at the local bar and grill over the course of a year. Maybe. Or a weekly latte at the coffee shop.

So I ask myself…why don’t people understand the significance of educating our children to the best of our ability? Why do they want to keep class sizes large and cram kids into a too-small cafeteria? No music room? Art on a cart? Educating the whole child…what happened to that, I wonder….and its ramifications if not done with care. And, yes, with some sacrifice.

As cliché as it sounds, it remains a fact: (Everyone’s) Children are the Future.

My children were raised in a different town than where I currently live. I will always be grateful to the citizens who voted in favor of school improvements and supported the teachers with the salaries they needed and deserved. Despite the sacrifice. I know many of those voters were senior citizens. Who had the foresight – and wisdom – to understand the need. And the significance.

Our children and their education is important.
Voting is crucial.
Let’s not take either for granted.

IMG_8173

Quote of the day…hope of the day

light in forest

 

I have a certain way of being in the world, and I shall not, I shall not be moved from doing what I think is right by jealousy, ignorance, or hate.

Maya Angelou

 

When recently asked about “the haters” by an 8 year old boy, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady responded with a smile.

…the haters? We love ’em! We love ’em back!
Because we don’t hate back.

Just about knocked me off my feet getting dressed one morning last week. While watching Good Morning America’s “kid correspondent” interview football players at the pre-Super Bowl media events.

No matter what you think of TB12 or the Patriots or even football, that answer shines a bright light. What a concept: Love them back.

Perhaps easy for someone like Brady, who is privileged and insulated from those aforementioned haters. Who troll on his Instagram feed and who knows what else.

However…
What a concept for a child to hear from a public persona. A role model even.
And…dare I say…for adults to hear as well.
ADULTS.
Who, it seems, in the last couple of years have grouped themselves into political camps of haters…on one side or the other. Who is in charge in the USA. And who isn’t.

Notice I don’t say haters and non-haters. There is too little visible love on either side. There is just hate, distrust and fear for the “other.” Whether it be the other political party, the other politician, the Other who looks nothing like you or sounds nothing like you. Or doesn’t think like you.

In many cases, this fear slips out…crossing that invisible line…morphing into hurtful anger directed at those you profess to love. Your partner. Your parent. Your sister. Your brother. Your best friend. Your child. Because they disagree with what you hate. Or don’t hate.

How could he believe that?
How could she vote for him?
How could he vote for her?
I just can’t visit them anymore.

Is it fear…or ignorance…
Or perhaps inescapable helplessness.
Doors slamming
As reality tilts and shifts.

Right becoming righteous
When grounded in hate…
Blindly insisting on one way.
Shades of gray disappearing…
Crowding out space for understanding why…
And where do we go from here.

In the end
Reaching for what
is right
begins with
tolerance
respect…
for our shared humanity.

With empathy…
somehow…
someday…
hopefully
we will
inch
closer
to
loving the haters.

At least it’s a start.

 

IMG_7813 2 copy

 

This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #34: Reaching
and An Upside Down World