for the Kennedy of your choice, but vote”
From The First Family
election day is approaching, and there will be several changes…
and some things staying the same. But I think perhaps the most
important question is… do you even care?
than three decades ago, a friend of mine stumbled across one of
his mother’s record albums. It was from a group of comedians,
led by Vaughn Meader. And oh lord, can I tell you stories. In
any election day… not just the one that has me writing today…
there will be winners, losers and surprises. But most amazingly,
there will be apathy.
about this… not too much more than half of the population in the
United States that is eligible to vote in an election doesn’t.
And if we aren’t picking a president? Stunning… not much better…
all bets are off.
Rhode Island. An independent candidate wins the office of governor.
He does so by amassing an impressive total barely exceeding one-third
of the vote. (Wish I was kidding.)
that’s the whole process… isn’t it?
if someone with one-third of the vote has the most votes, they
you would be correct at reading some sarcasm in that observation.
I wish more people would vote. I’m not asking for showing up during
the primaries. And I’m not looking for overwhelming numbers when
party elections are held. But at least every other year in November,
it would be nice to see two-thirds or more of the country exercise
a right that many people around the world aren’t even offered.
brings us back to The First Family.
it matter which Kennedy you vote for? No. It doesn’t. Vote for
the one you think best.
leave Election Day for a moment or two and move along to a different
was about thirty years ago, and I was visiting a friend. The details
of why I was there don’t come quickly to mind.
it after a soccer practice? Were we working on a project for school?
Had I gone over to his house to hang out?
I do remember was he had a record album that belonged to his mother,
was claiming it was hysterical, and wouldn’t quit talking about
it until I finally asked him to play it.
what is so incredible to me, something that becomes more and more
incredible, is how much of the material we didn’t understand even
though we believed we understood most of it.
ten years old… twelve years old… fourteen years old. We had heard
of John Kennedy. We knew of his presidency. We knew of all the
Lincoln and Kennedy… Kennedy and Lincoln comparisons. And NASA
and the United Nations and…
legendary football games on the lawn? Subtle nods to political
stories? Nope. Probably missed on many of those.
it provided an amazing lesson.
your audience. You can’t please everyone. The world is a strange
place, viewed from many differing perspectives.
move ahead to 1985. I’m dating a girl at the time, and had met
her parents on several occasions. Her father was a bit of a political
junky. Hard to find the words that describe it any other way.
He had his political opinions… he liked to share them… and he
was fairly knowledgeable as far as history was concerned. (We
can kindly leave the description there. (And I am being kind leaving
evening the talk had, for whatever reason, turned back to the
magical Washington days of Camelot. We were discussing Kennedy.
the blazing naïve nature of youth, I mentioned that I had
heard this album that was beyond funny and focused on Jack and
the Kennedy clan.
wanted to hear it.
found a copy, played it, and as a response was treated to a lecture
about how spectacularly unfunny, rude, insensitive and inappropriate
out he didn’t think a joke about water skiing was all that strongly
crafted. And, when united with poking holes in his placed-on-a-pedestal
president, well… you get the idea. He wasn’t happy. In that vision
nestled in the back of my mind, cranky seems a bit more appropriate
as a description.
makes a wonderful companion piece to life. There are winners and
losers. There are amazing stories… of meteoric rises… of indescribable
collapses. Candidates do all the right things… candidates take
perfect aim at their own feet.
quite often… the simply beyond belief occurs.
2010 Rhode Island elected a new governor. The winner barely cleared
a third of the popular vote. I am not kidding: the top two
vote getters didn’t combine for 70% of the vote. He
was still sworn in as the leader of the state. The second place
candidate didn’t contest the results.
2010… because, sure… Rhode Island again… one candidate ran for
state office with the expressed, not a secret, top objective of
winning so he could abolish the office. Perhaps unfortunately,
that candidate didn’t win.
is an amazing thing. I wish more people cared. The results of
any national election, including a presidential run, do matter.
As this craziness moves along, is seems people have selective
memories and misguided thoughts for the future. Selective and
misguided because so few have given even a small amount of thought
to the power of their vote and the people they will select to
represent their interests. (Or… more scary… that they won’t vote
what should they remember? Well… of course… “the rubber swan,