Today – November 3rd – is a special day for me. 62 years ago my father was born. I’m going to call him at some point and sing happy birthday. It’s become a dueling tradition. Each year we humble ourselves by raucously belching out the birthday song into our phones knowing the other is smiling on the other end. The more raw, the better.
Tomorrow I hope to call him again. This time to congratulate him on supporting and helping elect Barack Obama President of the United States. I’ve supported Obama for a very long time. I’ve talked to my dad about it almost the entire way. I was most proud of him when he told me he wanted a shirt to wear around town even though most in our hometown don’t support Obama. We’re both Kentucky boys, and if you follow state level polling you’ll know that the bluegrass state is pretty solidly red. My home state has it’s issues. I’ve documented this here on this blog in very personal ways. For dad to proudly wear a shirt with Barack Obama on it in Ekron, Kentucky says something about him. He’s a tough and stubborn sumbitch, as the locals would say.
If my dad has taught me anything it is that generations have the ability to improve upon the ones before them and continue to move us in a direction of progress. It’s not been long ago that his ancestors – and mine – were treating African Americans as sub-human. Now he and I both support a black man running for President of our country.
We continue to rub at the parchment until it becomes more pure.
Dad also taught me that learning goes in both directions, a younger generation sometimes affecting the older. I’m most humbled when he admits that he’s learned from me. It’s a profound realization that helps me in many ways raising kids of my own now.
So as we reach these final moments in this campaign, I wanted to remind us what we are really doing here. We are turning a generational page and making our country better for it. This is an historic time and the opportunity we have here is one I’m glad to be able to see with both my dad and my kids.
So happy birthday dad! Looking forward to both phone calls. I’m not sure if you ever got a shirt, but if we do this thing I’m going to make sure you have one. You can wear it around town and gloat that you were on the right side of history.
Let’s remember though. We’ve still got work to do: