Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I hope...

My grandmother, Phoebe Olson, was an amazing woman. She was, for many years, the breadwinner in her family. She sacrificed many times for her children during the Depression. She suffered much in ways no one but God now even knows. She was a committed Teamster who, during a strike, sat down on a railroad track to stop a train. In her own way, she (along with my mother) was a supporter of gay rights when such a thing was rare (she refused to buy Florida orange juice in the 1970s because of Anita Bryant’s anti-gay campaigns and spoke out vocally against such hatred). My personal relationship with her was often tense. We were both vocal in our opinions and sometimes those opinions clashed. She was particularly vocal in her opposition to my converting to Roman Catholicism when I was 15. But she and my mother taught me vital lessons about politics. Phoebe was a committed Democrat who believed that voting and political awareness were vital to our society.  I know where she would be standing politically today and I know who she would be supporting with her vote. I honestly wish she could be alive to see this potentially historical day. I do not vote for her today (I cannot vote for the dead). I vote for myself and for the future of our country. But in my vote, I vote for all that my grandmother stood for in her life. I vote today for the hope she no doubt saw back then, and I vote for an ideal she could only vaguely imagine in her day. I hope this is a day that would make my grandmother smile and, in her subdued Protestant way, rejoice.        

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