I had the day off today. I had to travel to Jersey to get my phone fixed, so I decided to visit my beautiful 99-year-old Mom-Mom. She loves seeing Bella and lit up when we walked in the room. I spent the visit listening to her tell me about her parents walking her and her brothers all the way to Philly’s Fairmount Park in the 1920’s in a small wagon. She can’t remember what she ate this morning, but she remembers the sun hitting her face as she sat in that wagon on her way back from a day of fun. She remembered being grumpy because it was past her nap time and remembered her parents being patient with her. I showed her pictures of Bella and her cousins at the beach and we talked about how big all the kids are getting. How Bella’s hair is darker, but Ava’s is definitely thicker. We talked about how Shepherd’s Pie gets tastier with every day as it absorbs more flavor.
My grandmother has been alive since 1917. She is Baptist. She is conservative. She is more blue collar than anyone I know. She dropped out of high school to work and take care of her family. She has worked long hard factory hours. When my Pop-pop went to war, she went to get her license so someone in the household could drive and keep the family business running. She knows hard work. She knows sacrifice. She knows family values and what it means to care for loved ones. Her grandparents were immigrants. They came here looking for a better life and doing so was not always easy. She was raised in a small row home in North Philly with 3 siblings. She lived a simple life and learned how to be happy without much “stuff.” She has lived through wars, the depression, the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, and knows poverty and knows how to make a potato stretch through a couple meals! She IS AMERICA. She is the dream. I am here because of her.
I love her, but I thought it best to avoid talking politics. Then she said, “I don’t even know what is on this TV right now, but I know the convention is on this channel at 4 and I don’t want to miss it.” I decided to take the dive and talk politics even if it was hard. I told her how I supported Bernie and had really hoped he would win the primaries, and that now I am trying to learn what I can about Hillary and will probably vote for her. She looked at me and said, “Bernie is good, but he is too old for this job. The president needs to be young and strong. If I vote, I will vote for Hillary. The only other option is Trump and that would be a catastrophe for our entire country.” My jaw dropped. This was not what I expected at all! She then said, “Look at all his bankruptcies. That is the easy way out. You can’t take the easy way out when you are president. It’s not an option.”
I get upset when people say democrats are lazy, uneducated, and living off the government. I work hard. I raise my daughter alone with no assistance from the government or her father for that matter. I have a Master’s Degree and I am a homeowner. I come from a strong family who immigrated to this country a few generations ago. We love each other, we work hard, and we support each other like families should. We have fought in wars to protect our freedom and to fight against injustice. We pay our bills and we pay our taxes. I am a Christian. I love this country. I love this country so much that I want others to feel safe, loved, taken care of, and I want every one of my fellow Americans to have the same opportunities that I have had and have now. I know that when everyone feels safe and everyone has opportunity, we will grow as a society. I care about this planet and I see it as a gift from God. I see that we have abused it and I know we can change that. I know we as a country are doing many good things, but I also know we have potential to be much more.
I listen to my grandmother. I listen to her tell stories of the last 99 years living in this country and in this world. She has personally seen and experienced what most of us have only read in history books. I do not take her life lightly. I do not take her opinions lightly. She doesn’t see the doom and gloom that Trump speaks. She sees, as she has always seen, a bright and hopeful future. Like me, she looks at the actual platforms the democrats stand for and sees that they support the working class and the majority of America. I don’t agree with everything the democrats stand for, but I don’t agree with anything that Trump stands for. I pray we all read the facts and do our research and talk to our elders before we walk into the voting booth in November. I pray we make a choice that is best for all of us.