Nov 2, 2010

Election Day, from a youngster's POV

A 6yo's view of the day

Plus: hearing stories of an earlier Tea Party

I recall being a little kid, maybe six or seven years old, on an Election Day many years ago. My mother took me along as she headed down to City Hall. We trudged up the steep stairs to an upper floor, and walked into a room that I still remember as being messy and filled with papers and old books. These were no doubt the registration records. People were milling about and moving back and forth.

In all this confusion, I was surprised to suddenly be facing my Grandmother, from the other side of the family, sitting at a table in the center of all this noise. She was a poll watcher, and bragged to me afterwords about her long-running streak in playing that role locally. I think she also mentioned a remuneration of something like $2 for her efforts, when I inquired. My mother left me in her care as she herself disappeared for a minute, which turns out the amount of time it takes to pull a couple levers on the other side of the room.

My Grandfather would take the effort to dress up in his best suit on Election Day, grab his Stetson hat and head down to Broadway to perform his duty. After, he would retire to Rocco's (now the Parting Glass) a block and a half down the hill, where he joined other gentlemen dressed in the same manner. An hour or two later, he was back home, putting the suit back into the closet and later dialing in to the in-town radio station to hear the results.

For whatever reasons, I was into politics at a very early age. My Grandfather was an old school, Al Smith styled New Deal Democrat. But he told me that his favorite guy of all was Adalai Stevenson, the party's presidential nominee in both 52 and 56 (vs Eisenhower).

Stevenson later became the UN Ambassador under that young upstart JFK. On a visit to Dallas, he was heckled and pysically roughed up by right-wing nationalists. The Dallas Times Herald, on its front page the next day, stated that "Dallas has been disgraced. There is no other way to view the storm-trooper actions of last night's frightening attack on Adlai Stevenson."

This was just one month before Mr Kennedy would run into similar problems down in the Big D himself, but with much more severe consequences.

When asked if he wished to press charges against his assailants, Stevensoon replied:

"I don't want to send them to jail. I want to send them to school."

Now isn't that a timely thought?

1 comment:

Mister Master said...

I voted for Ike. No I didn't. I wasn't even born yet. Come to think of it, neither were my grandparents. Maybe. But I'll have to check. Except I''m too busy right now. Not really.