Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Majority of my family, on both sides, have been Republicans. Now, when I say that I do not mean Republicans as in the circus spectacle of today’s party, what I mean is the old fashioned Republican Party. You know, when they were the radical liberal ones. It is amazing that in 150 years the 2 biggest parties we have in this country have almost completely swapped their ideologies. It is no wonder that I now fall into that growing category of unaligned voters. I no longer vote along party lines, but for whomever I feel is the best.
My paternal Grandfather, Paul Combs, was a member of the Indiana House of Legislature in the late 1950s. I am on the quest to discover what he did while in office. It would be fascinating to me to read what legislation he was involved in and what he did as a member of the House. Also, my father’s great grandfather, William Brennan, was the mayor of their town and a member of the city council for many years. On my mother’s side, she has a cousin who was the mayor of Kissimmee, Florida and several others who have been very active in the gay rights movement and other socially important issues.
Over the years I have listened to my dad tell me stories about campaigning with his father. They would go door to door shaking hands, kissing babies, and listening to the people. Dad and his siblings would drive people from the country side to the polling stations in town so they could vote. He told me that some of the older voters would not go unless dad gave them a bottle of alcohol. When he first told me that story I was astonished. Isn’t that buying votes? No, he said. Dad told me they wanted to make sure everyone had the chance to cast their ballot, but some of those old-timers still believed that they were to get an incentive to go and vote so the trunk of the car had beer and whiskey bottles in it for those who asked. Grandpa didn’t like paying them $1 like some of the other candidates did, so this was his compromise. Still, dad said he would leave a farm, on more than one occasion, because someone refused to go vote unless they were paid to do so.
The one story I have not found, yet, is if any of my female ancestors were involved with the suffrage movement. I am really curious to know what my great grandmothers thought when they were given the right to vote. Did they care? Were they excited? How did it affect their lives? I just don’t know.
Well, my nose isn’t running any more so I need to pack my boys up and get to the polling station.
Wish me luck!
photo credit: Alan Cleaver via photopin cc