A Democrat Abroad

Last week, after Barack Obama became the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, I got online and joined Democrats Abroad.  I’ve voted democratically all of my life, but I’ve never joined any sort of group.  (My brother, on the other hand, was a member of the Young Republicans when we were in college.)

I also started reading a collection of essays put together by Shari MacDonald Strong, the senior editor at Literary Mama (sort of like my boss), called The Maternal is Political: Women Writers at the Intersection of Motherhood and Social Change.  Some of my favorite writers (such as Barbara Kingsolver and Anne Lamott) are represented here, alongside some of my favorite Literary Mama columnists such as Ona Gritz, Susan Ito and Violet Garcia-Mendoza – and Jennifer Graf Groneberg.  (I haven’t read her essay yet, as I’m reading in order, but I skipped ahead and read a couple of paragraphs about a deaf girl with cerebral palsy who was homeschooled by her mother after school officials said that she’d never be able to read, but who got herself into nursing school years later).

So anyhow, it’s a wonderful book. 

One thing that I’ve learned is that four out of five people vote as their parents did, and a number of these essays  concern mothers inculcating their children with their political beliefs.  This is all very new and strange for me because growing up, I had no idea how my parents voted.  In principle, they kept their voting habits a secret, because in America we elect our officials behind a curtain with complete privacy.  It’s our right to vote for whom ever we want, and our right not to tell anyone.

I grew up believing that my parents were Democrats.  Imagine my surprise when, several years ago, I found out that I was wrong.  By that time, it was too late for me to be influenced by my parents’ political choices.  I’d already voted for Mondale and Clinton.

My son, by the way, is a keen Obama supporter.  I’m thinking of getting him a T-shirt proclaiming his view.



4 thoughts on “A Democrat Abroad

  1. Hey Suzanne, isn’t this all so interesting? I am Barack Obama all the way, but felt like I’d go either way as long as we could get a Democrat elected. Part way through I became extremely disenchanted with HC (her sudden interest in guns, etc.), and then I was reading in the paper today all about how her loss was a setback for feminism. (Don’t get me started!) Are feminists supposed to vote for women no matter what? I’ve decided to vote a straight multicultural ticket. Go Barack! Go Jio! BTW My husband was concerned about how our daughter at home seems uninterested in voting here in Japan, and I suggested that the fact that he never discussed candidates or election issues at the dinner table (ala your parents) might be one of the reasons why.

  2. Yes, I’m Obama too, after being pro-Hillary for years (ever since I met her in Arkansas, along with Bill, but that’s a long story). I was tentatively for him, figuring that after he lost to her in the primary I’d support her….but like you, Deborah, I became completely disenchanted during this race. The fabrications, the panderings, the general sense of slime….

    My brother’s met Obama and says he’s just as impressive in person as he is on TV. He was particularly impressed because he went up to speak to Obama with his then 9-year-old daughter in tow, and Obama spoke to her before he spoke to my brother and SIL, and not in a talk-downy way either. I’m excited about him for a lot of reasons, not least by the excitement he’s generating in lots of non-Americans. One of my most rapidly Republican Japanese friends is even impressed!

  3. I welcome the idea of getting tears (of joy and inspiration rather than shame and disgust) in my eyes when a President addresses the nation. I have so much hope for the USA with Obama as our candidate and hopefully as our elected leader. In all truth, he is such an amazing leader, even WITHOUT the title of President. It’s been a long time since someone has been able to rally folks in the way he has.

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