On One Hand

May 16, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 4:43 pm

My grandma just called me to congradulate me on graduating and to ask if I own The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama.

She said “oh, I was just wondering, because I’m a big Obama fan.”

Oh yeah?

“I think this has been the most fun election of my life!”

She’s 69 years old and my grandpa is a 70-year-old 30-year National Guard retiree who has teased me about the fact that he is probably voting for John McCain. “McCain’s the man,” he said gleefully at restaraunt with the rest of my family a few months ago, “he’s the guy to vote for!” At the time I told him “you had your 8 years and now we get ours,” and he laughed. But he’s not entirely Republican, he just votes for whoever has been in the military. I don’t think he voted for Bush, though I doubt he ever voted Democrat even once before the year 2000. And I know he hates the Clintons with a vehemence.

We will see what happens. If Obama picks Wesley Clark as VP I think it brings a big chunk of my grandpa’s type of voter over. My grandfather is the kind of guy who doesn’t mind Obama, but likes John McCain a lot so needs a good excuse to vote for someone else. He wasn’t for the war but you have to be very delicate in the way you argue against it; anything that would offend a military family is going to turn him the other way.

I was worried because my other grandparents, on the Catholic side of the family, who are lifelong Democrats, do not like Obama. My full-blooded Italian grandma said she doesn’t like him because he won’t put his hand over his heart “because of that religion of his.” I don’t know if they’re representative of a lot of other older Democrats. I still think they’ll vote Democratic out of habit because they have voted Democratic their whole life. Their families came to the party in the 1930s when they were poor immigrants who always voted with the unions.

Those are the two sides of my family, the Catholic Democrat side and the Military side. So the Military family is crossing over to vote for the Democrats and the Catholic side is more likely than before to cross over to vote Republican. That’s how an Obama candidacy turns this thing – he loses some long-time Democrats and gains some long-time Republicans who have children who vote Democratic. They’re all among senior citizens, who is Obama’s hardest-got group.

But I think my family is pretty liberal as a whole, they’re probably all registered independents right now, and I doubt anyone (aside from my grandpa) is going to vote McCain. The younger generations on the Catholic side (my mom’s age and younger) are very Californiaesque: materialistic, mildly religious and socially liberal, but often vote on personality. I’m not sure if this tells me anything about where the country’s going to go.


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