My dad was the most American man I know [Tangent: And I’m not saying that to suck up…he never read my blog really when he was living, so doubtful that he would be reading it as an amorphous entity. I’m just saying it because those are facts.]. He was the oft clichéd American Dream, grew up on a farm with 7 brothers and sisters and went on to fight in a war and use that money to further his education and become the most obnoxious businessman this side of the Mississippi (even after he retired).
He was insane about politics and the political process. [Tangent: He wrote letters and got irate on a daily basis about voter fraud and disenfranchisement and would go to rallies and stump speeches whether or not they were open to the public.]
|looking super awkward meeting Harold Ford Jr. with my dad.|
Our TV was tuned into news 80% of the day (when it wasn’t on the Western Channel). He would drive 11 hours to vote in North Carolina, his home state, for several elections! He has on multiple occasions gifted me pocket sized constitutions (for emergencies) and when I was in school, would make the 1.5 hour round trip to take me to vote in every local, state and presidential election. [Tangent: Even if I didn't give a shit about who was running for school board in a school system I had graduated from- he forced me into making a decision (even if it was a coin flip) and vote. He told me it was my duty as an American, which was his version of the most parental of guilt trips. ]
Trust, nothing would have pleased me more than to rebel against this extremism. God, what if I dated a republican? How I secretly wanted to just to be difficult and Alex P. Keaton the shit out of him. I wanted to...hard, but damned if I wasn’t genetically and mentally prepared otherwise. When my dad was alive, I dreaded election season because it meant yelling at the TV and fights with strangers in line at the grocery store. [Tangent: Yeah about that…he didn't let comments go, so if you made an ignorant or racist comment in his presence and he just happened to overhear it indirectly, he was gonna tell you about yourself, which is both awesome and terrifying.] Even though I agreed with him on most of his principles, I was so embarrassed by his hyper patriotic liberalism. It was sometimes stifling.
Now he’s gone and this is the first major election that he isn’t present for and it is a surreal experience. Even though I am pretty meh about the options, I find myself more involved than ever as if I need to claim that enthusiastic void in the universe. If there is a news story, I’m reading it. If there’s a campaign issue, I’m researching it. If there is a bat shit crazy convention (for either party), I am watching it while following along on twitter. I couldn’t get more obnoxious and for that I am filled with equal parts self-loathing and pride. In fact I found myself telling someone yesterday who was feeling blasé about the candidates that it was their civic duty to at least vote. WHO THE HELL AM I?!?! I’m keeping the complete shape shift at bay, and I vow not to hulk out on you and start spewing my politics on social media (too much). No one wants that. [Tangent: I still thank all that is holy and unholy that my dad wasn’t on social media. The world wasn’t ready.]