Was it Enough?

I am beginning this day feeling both hopeful and anxious. How will this day end? Will tomorrow show the world that America is not satisfied with the status quo, or will we be looked upon around the globe with continued worry and confusion?

Politics never interested me. I never went to a march or a political rally, never communicated with my representatives, never allied with a particular party, and never did anything more than vote.

This time it is different. I am worried about the future for my children and grandchildren. Clean air and water, affordable healthcare and equality for all, and the return of integrity and trust has made me an activist.

It began with the Women’s March, followed by the realization that marching and carrying a clever sign was not enough. I decided to dip my toe into local politics. I attended and hosted meetings, where I learned how I could make a difference.

I wrote hundreds of postcards for my candidates for governor and Congress. I learned how to register people to vote. I helped organize a candidates’ forum. I visited my current congressman every week, armed with cookies and questions in the hopes of proving or disproving the fact that he does not answer to his constituents. Sadly, I learned he does not care about me.

I made telephone calls during primary season and knocked on doors as part of the Get Out The Vote campaign (GOTV). This got me out of my comfort zone when I saw that people were thankful for the information I provided on the candidates as well as how and where to go to vote early absentee.

In the wake of so much gun violence, I joined Moms Demand Action, a national group intent on enacting more common-sense gun laws. With this group, I learned how an idea becomes a law in my state, when I attended subcommittee and committee meetings, which happen before a law can be voted upon by the legislature.

I did a lot, but did I do enough? I will know tomorrow when I see the election results. No matter what, when my grandchildren read about the 2018 election in their history books, I will be able to tell them the story of the people I met, the things we all did, and how Grandma did not let this election go down without a fight.

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Mom and Dad’s Primary Adventures

When you were in college, I advised you to take advantage of living in early primary states by going out and seeing some of the candidates and you all did. This is something none of us could do when we lived in New Jersey when the primaries were so late it hardly mattered.

Kelly, you did it as a photographer for the Daily Gamecock, taking photographs of Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and John McCain. I know Casey saw Hillary Clinton and then Senator Obama. Jamie saw Bill Clinton at a rally at Elon to add to her album of celebrities.

Now that Dad and I are living in this early primary state, I knew I had to take my own advice, so a few weeks ago, when the Republicans were roaming around the state, Dad and I  visited Duke’s Barbecue in Orangeburg, where we heard John Kasich speak. The venue was casual. We were seated at a long picnic table with a politically eclectic group of people all doing their primary research like us.

We met a Democratic transplant from Michigan who had a secret crush on Joe Biden. At the end of the table was a woman giving the stink eye to the CNN cameraman (“The only thing worse than CNN is MSNBC”, she told Dad), and across from us was a conservative couple who mentioned their visit to the tea party convention last year. I told Dad that if someone had told me twelve years ago that I would be attending a political event in a barbecue joint in South Carolina, I would have asked what drugs he was taking.

Governor John Kasich

Governor John Kasich

To keep the equation balanced, we attended two Democratic events this past weekend thanks to Casey, who gave me the heads-up on both of them.

On Friday we traveled to Aiken High to see Bill Clinton speak. While this was not as intimate a setting as the Kasich event, it was still a small venue compared to some of the Trump and Sanders rallies. We were impressed with Bill’s positive attitude, and we came away knowing exactly how Hillary planned to deal with each issue. We met a retiree from New Jersey as well as a young man who had attended many more events than us as he tried to decide not only what person to give his vote to, but which party to support. I was impressed with his thoughtful research.

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton

Late Saturday afternoon, we received an invitation to Hillary’s Primary party, so we decided to be spontaneous and go. We decided to begin the evening early with a typical Southern dinner, which was barbecue at Palmetto Pig. (It’s always about the barbecue down here!) After getting a second email informing us that the doors would open earlier, we moseyed on over, and were happily surprised to be at the front of that line.

Unlike the event for President Clinton, which had no overt security, we had to pass through metal detectors overseen by scary looking secret service agents. We felt like we were in the safest venue in Columbia.

We chose a front-row seat on the bleachers to the left of the stage, and before Hillary appeared, we were interviewed by two different news outlets.  The atmosphere was electric, and the crowd diverse and enthusiastic. Like the previous day’s speech, Hillary was positive and enthusiastic.  For Dad and me, we had found our candidate, which was a relief after being so disenchanted with the others in the current playing field.

Secretary Hillary Clinton

Secretary Hillary Clinton

It is sad to me that I have not told this to many of my friends and family. My photos are not on Facebook because I have been trying to avoid being very political, and I am also uncomfortable sharing this fun evening with so many people whose views differ from mine.  Yet that party ranks up along with lunch at the pub with the Irish Prime Minister and New Year’s Eve in Times Square. I keep telling myself I should not feel this way because our country is supposed to be about freedom, diverse opinions, and embracing our differences. I think I need to come out of the political closet.