On the day that Barack Obama announced Joseph Biden as his running mate, I couldn't wait to call my 81-year-old grandmother. Why? Because my grandparents moved to Wilmington, DE, shortly before I was born, and I spent much of my childhood there.
So when hometown favorite, Biden, was put on the Democratic ticket, I knew it was a big deal. And it is—especially for Delawareans who refer to him as 'Joe B,' instead of the more formal 'Senator Biden.' My grandmother told me that there were signs everywhere, in all the stores, exclaiming "Joe B for VP!"
My family has been a Biden fan for as long as I can remember. I actually met him on several occasions, many of which were held at our synagogue or the Jewish Community Center. He was always very nice, and even as a child, I liked his personality. He gave off a warm and inviting energy, like he was just one of us. While I wasn't old enough to vote when I lived in DE, I know that my family and friends helped keep Biden in the Senate for all these years.
My maternal grandmother's mother was a suffragist, so I was raised knowing how important voting is. The casting of a vote is a right and a duty that my foremothers won for me. So I take elections quite seriously and do my best to research the candidates. It has been interesting to look at Biden from a voting standpoint instead of as a little girl looking up at an important person. I must say, I still like him!
Recently, my grandmother wrote a letter to the editor of her local newspaper. Here is an excerpt:
"It's bad enough we are subjected to this ridiculous 'lipstick and pig' insanity, but I must … express my disappointment that the McCain/ex-Rove speech writers can stoop to such a low level in a smear campaign that is the worst I can remember … to 'swiftboat' Obama and embrace their so-called morality with such hypocrisy and misquote issues…. I hope the American public has more sense than just wanting a 'vagina' in the White House. We really need someone with a brain for a change."
She continues to impress me!
Having grown up where political discussion around the dinner table was normal, I was doubly impressed when my niece declared that "When people ask me who I'd vote for, I say 'I don't know' because I don't know enough about it." As an 11-year-old, she hasn't paid much attention to the details of this presidential campaign—but she realizes that she doesn't know enough to make an intelligent decision. How refreshing.
Hopefully, we will all take inspiration from 'out of the mouth of babes' and educate ourselves and others about who the candidates are, what they stand for and what they plan to do to strengthen our constitution and our country.
Shifra Nerenberg is the Assistant Editor of Living NEWStories. She is also a permaculturist, ecofeminist and tarot card reader. Shifra can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org. Shifra encourages everyone eligible to vote to register and use your voice to elect the candidates of your choice.