AN impressive young man told me this week about how his politically diverse family sits around the table and talks politics, and how much fun it is to watch his teenage kids make up their minds as Election Day approaches.
It reminded me of home, my grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts kibitzing around the table. In those days nobody labeled themselves as Democrat or Republican and certainly not as liberal or conservative. They fought too hard to be Americans to call themselves anything else.
In fact, in our family, most were registered Republican and split their votes regularly, leaning toward Democratic candidates in federal races.
So here we are, two weeks before an important election, and I don't want to add to the noise. It's the height of silly season and I already have said what I have to say. For the past six months we have covered all the topics, from my personal favorite of the year, Nuns on a Bus, to the pernicious use of welfare as a race-baiting tool.
As an advocate of President Obama, I hope he gets another term. But if Mitt Romney wins, whichever Romney wins, I hope he can bring the GOP back from the Dark Ages.
It is now time to own up – to be citizens and vote. And it is time for me to shut up. I will say no more.
So, today I am reverting to an old tactic. When I was young and found myself with nothing to write about, I wrote about the kids. I called them Little Rascals. I always found it helpful to view the world through the eyes of the youngins.
I even won an award for a column about taking my 10-year-old daughter fishing and nearly losing her to the torrent currents of the Susquehanna River.
Today, of course, the Little Rascals are all in their 30s, women and men who can fend for themselves, thank you.
So I called each of them this week, my kids and my brother's, to get their take on things.
I'm really pulling for Obama, Uncle Chick (my hometown nickname), said Nephew Number One, working 60 hours a week and raising a family in Denver. We could use a win; the Eagles have me very depressed.
I asked Daughter Number One if she watched the debate this week at her home in Seattle, where she and her husband from Chattanooga, Tenn., are working tough jobs and raising two boys.
No, Dad, we didn't watch it. We had about two hours to watch TV this week and the final two episodes of ‘Breaking Bad' were far more important, she said. But my hero of the week was Candy Crowley for being a true journalist and fact-checking Romney on the spot.
I thought you didn't watch the debate? I said.
I didn't, but I know the news, she sighed. Could Romney have actually believed the right-wing bubble nonsense about Obama's comments, or did he think nobody would call him on it?
It's sad, said Son Number One, working in Los Angeles. At the end of the day it becomes a popularity contest.
I'm for Obama, but I am a little worried about people knowing it, said Nephew Number Two, who lives with his wife and daughter in Baltimore. I like what Clinton said during the convention, that no president could have gotten us out of this recession in four years.
I couldn't get Daughter Number Two on the phone, so I texted her in the early morning hours under the guise of needing an idea for a column this week.
We are finally feeling secure again, said my Bella from Philadelphia, where she lives with her husband from Wilkes-Barre. Obama was the greatest leader we could have asked for to get through tough times.
You should write a positive column about what Obama has accomplished, she continued. And, Daddy, get some sleep.
If you live long enough, your daughters turn into your mother.
It looks like all the Rascals are in the same camp, even though they are all over the country. But remember, whomever you choose for president, the next morning we all are in the American family, not Republicans or Democrats.
I'm for Obama, but I am a little worried about people knowing it, said Nephew
Number Two, who lives with his wife and daughter in Baltimore.
John Watson is the former publisher of the Sunday Dispatch in Pittston. He lives in Seattle. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.