So, kids, this is what I remember about politics in my youth, plus a ramble because I feel like it:
Must’ve been 1973-4, so 7-8 years old, riding through DC with my family (maybe we were visiting the Christmas Tree?) and to my little eyes everyone on the streets looked sad and tired. I asked Grandma about it, and she told me that President Nixon had done some things that people were upset about, maybe lying about something. (All I can think of now is “Uh, is this the front desk? Ya may want-a, uh, check out the room across from me, there may be some kinda–burglary or sumthin, or maybe they’re lookin for they keys, but those flashlights are keeping me up!”)
1975, England, fresh off the plane from NY, at Peg and Dave’s house for a 4th of July cookout. I already recounted this, but it was fun, so I’ll repeat myself. Me to older guy next door: “Don’t you celebrate 4th of July?” “Hell, no. What for?” A smirk under bushy eyebrows. Was he kidding, or what?!
1976, relaxed and joy-to-the-brim-filled on the hill at Robinson Barracks with various families and the Noonans, watching the July 4th fireworks splash across the Stuttgart sky. Everybody loved us, right? We were Number 1! And I sincerely believed that. (Except those Bader Meinhof guys, but they were kidnapping everybody!)
Well, I certainly had an opinion RE: Carter and Ford at Robinson Barracks Elementary School! The girls wanted Ford, the boys wanted Carter — until the rhymes began, then we all became Republicans (It WAS 4th grade, ya know….).
Don’t remember much of the Carter years, although I do recall that your grandma took us on at least one Walk for Life. An older gentleman parishioner traveled in his wheelchair, we were accompanying him through the slush.
1981, Munich, suddenly I discovered that Reagan was a cowboy who wanted to kill all of us in a nuclear disaster (so we heard from various young Germans at fest halls). We mocked at least one group of protesters in front of McGraw Kaserne Main Gate at as we walked to work (bagging groceries at the commissary). I recall reading about Brezhnev’s death on a DYA trip– Paris. I do recall much more, and I love my country for it. Those were real AK-47s cradled in the arms of East Berlin guards as we stood on those platforms overlooking the Wall, and the faint stench of death still wafted over Dachau…
Why am I rambling like this? Well, because I am so sick of hearing about this election, which is getting to the point of us receiving emails boldly proclaiming that Catholics who vote 3rd party are Pontius Pilates washing their hands of blood, or being blinded by the filth of Satan. Too bad I can’t just turn off all of our computers for the next month — not because I am in denial or lack courage, or am a doofus (at least not in THIS case!).
BUT — because sometimes people don’t want to hear any more because their heads are already stuffed with the pros and cons, and political, cultural and societal factors that have led us to this point and have at least a passing familiarity with religious and political history across many cultures, and have fought the good fight for life alongside compatriots who now accuse them of waffling and wussiness, yet their deep-down recollect is, “But what about Tash?” And they’re not sure what they’ll do, but pretty sure it won’t involve extra bloody-hand-washing. And they won’t pull the lever for her, but NOT because she’s planning to exterminate an entire generation. She’s doing evil, but she’s not a caricature, and needs serious prayer, because she IS human, not because she isn’t.
And then they remember the mother of 7 sons in the Book of Macabees, which gives them a strange comfort. And they want to just pray and fast before the Eucharist, and a Crucifix.
“Who can stand when He appeareth?”
And that is all I have to say about that.