Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Personal Politics

When my brother was 5 years old I called him my little Alex P. Keaton. I know I've shared this story before, but it begs repeating. He was quite the young Republican and it DROVE ME BATTY. His little blonde freckled self would walk around taunting his big sister with his love of George W. Bush. I was younger, less mature about the nature of 5 year olds, but my Mom would reassure me. Don't egg him on she'd say, he just knows it bothers you. Eventually I gave up. Like my Mom told me to. My Jon was a little Alex P. Keaton. I'd accepted it.

Years passed, elections came and went. And throughout Gore, and Kerry my little brother showed little interest in politics. I put little thought into his disinterest. At least he wasn't walking around like a miniature Bush-o-phile anymore. Pick your battles, you know?

But something happened during this past primary season. A woman named Hillary and a man named Barack decided to run for President. A woman who is married to an actual President, a man with a funny name and a message of hope. I could see a change. I could see the wheels of motion that had affected me at the same age begin to turn in my brother's head.

He watched the debates. He asked about policy. About the issues. He began to inform himself through newspapers and 24 hour media sources. This Alex P. Keaton began to shed his Reagan Democrat clothes and shift into a young George Stephanopoulos.

It is easy to assume my parents (lifelong Democrats they are) would have influenced our views on politics. But trust me when I say they have not. My father couldn't care less what political party anyone belongs to, so long as you can ignore the reactionary tic he still has whenever anyone mentions the words 'Reagan' and 'union' in his presence. My mother might care, but she'd never admit it out loud.

My brother's closest friends are the girls who live next door to us. They have been raised to think a vote for the Democratic Party is a signed, sealed and delivered invitation to Hell. I'm not kidding. So it came as no surprise to my brother when they mentioned they want McCain to win in November. Nor was it a surprise when they asked him who he would vote for if he could.

And this is the moment that made putting up with my 5 year old Alex P. Keaton all worth it. Proud, not that he is is a Democrat, but that he is making informed decisions all for himself at the ripe old age of 13. Proud that in moments like these, he reminds me of myself.

Jon turned to the oldest girl, as they lobbed a volleyball back and forth over an old clothesline, and repeated a line from Barack Obama's New Hampshire Concession Speech:

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the
destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

He got the line from watching this video on YouTube, a video I'm sure everyone has seen at this point.

The youth of this country often gets a bad rap. But sometimes, trust me, you can be so surprised by their knowledge, their thirst for the future, their hope. And it's those moments that send chills up your spine and lift the hairs on the back of your neck.

The hope of a nation in the face of a 13 year old.

Yes we can.

1 comment:

SassyCassie said...

=] That's so great.

P.S. I like your new layout.