This is not about politics.
My father was what I’d call a news junkie. He’d arrive home from work a little after four o’clock. From that point until seven our family watched the news. That was three hours of news, Monday through Friday.
Let me be clear. I didn’t want to watch three hours of news. This was in the olden days. Families only had one television set.
Maybe that explains why I enjoyed reading as a pastime.
I will admit I did watch more than my fair share of the news. I can only be grateful this was before CNN, Headline News, Fox News, or MSNBC. I would never have seen anything else.
I remember watching my first Republican National Convention. It was the summer of 1964. My father was old-school. He was the man of the house; therefore, he was master of the television. My family watched the convention together. I don’t remember my father voicing his opinion on the candidates. We simply watched and listened. The party nominated Barry Goldwater of Arizona as the candidate. He chose William Miller of Western New York as his running mate. I was a child, and…impressed by how beautiful their families were.
The Democrats held their convention the following month in Atlantic City. I’ll never forget Robert Kennedy standing in front of the crowd and the thunderous applause which greeted him. It went on for twelve minutes. I remember wiping tears from my eyes. I don’t remember what he said. I only remember my emotion. My father didn’t voice his opinion.
In 1968 we repeated the process. We watched both conventions. We listened, and my father never voiced an opinion.
In 1972, I was much too busy to watch any coverage, but by 1976 I was settled. It’s hard to break ingrained patterns. I was raised to watch both conventions.
It wasn’t until recently I realized my father’s gift. He wanted us to have the opportunity to check out the candidates, listen to the issues, and to think for ourselves, without any outside influence.
Here is the bigger idea. It wasn’t just about politics. It was about life. He wanted us to be informed, productive citizens. He believed in equity. “If you do for one, you need to do for the other.” “One” was my older sister, I was the “other.” I don’t know which one of us was his favorite, and that’s a good thing.
Think about everything that went on beneath the surface with him? It would be interesting trying to create him as a character. I missed the opportunity to discover what created this man who believed so intensely in equity. My father died in 2000. I can only be thankful for the gifts he gave me.