I come from a two-party home in a small town in New England. There were five of us rotten kids running around causing trouble and more than enough reasons for our parents to lose their Irish tempers over many a thing - but politics - now that was a battlefield! In one corner the Tufts-educated, liberal, feminist artist, in the other the MIT-educated, conservative, computer engineer. My entire life I heard mostly respectful but completely opposite versions of what was right or wrong with our political leaders. Okay, I’ll be honest - make that loud yelling, door slamming, and name-calling polarity. My mother, born in Canada, said she got her citizenship just so she could cancel out my father’s vote. On election days my father pretends he’s running out to ‘grab something at the store,’ so he can vote and hopes my mother, will be caught unawares and miss her opportunity.
She never does.
Hang out with them for a minute - you’ll be trapped in a vortex between dueling TVs with Fox News yacking in one room and Rachel Maddow shouting in another. I’ve only ever known them to stand firmly, loudly with their respective parties staring one another down with a begrudging respect for the other’s opinion - this is America after all.
And, now, well we have this year’s Presidential election. Welcome to the jungle, ya’ll! And, well - hell - color me surprised that now, in my forty-third year of life on planet Earth, when the subject of politics comes up in my daily conversations with my folks they are in - get this - agreement! Land o’ goshen! I mean the ridiculousness, the circus act that Mr. Trump has stirred up has done one unthinkable thing - and that’s bridge a rather gaping hole in the bridge between two life-long political adversaries. Bravo! I mean, this guy who is so unfit for campaigning, never mind for the esteemed position of President of our great country, has even my (fifty-two-years and going strong) political enemy parents ON THE SAME PAGE! That’s some trick. He’s doing something for our country I guess. He’s a misogynist. He’s a bully. He’s a liar. And he’s actually making my parents agree about a Republican candidate NOT being fit for office. Holy smokes! I cannot begin to describe the pleasure at having a speaker phone conversation with my parents and instead of the usual eye roll that, yes, is perceptible through the phone, I can hear them laughing - laughing! - about an election. It’s not funny, he’s not funny, of course he isn’t. He’s terrifying. And it’s majorly scary that he’s gotten as close as he has to the oval office. I mean I’m a writer and if I were writing this and handing it in the note I’d absolutely expect back is ‘a little too out there. Make it more realistic.”
Truth is stranger than fiction - hells bells. But the fact that come November my parents will probably ride together to vote is stranger still. The fact that they agree - not Trump - speaks volumes. My Dad hasn’t declared who he’ll vote for, just who he won’t vote for...Baby steps.