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Take Five: Politics in the Family

by Mary McHugh

Let me start off my first column by sending warm thoughts to Jacquie Golden and thanking her for the wisdom and humor she blessed us with in her own column, Just a Minute. Since shes part of the SeniorWomen family, Im sure well be hearing from her often.
     I love the chance to write about anything that Im passionate about, and I hope youll e-mail me with your reactions to what I write here. I promise you Ill never hold back.
     To give you an idea of what I mean, Id like to start right off with politics.  I know - never discuss politics or religion - but Im going to anyway. Politics has always been a subject of passionate debate in our house since I left my Republican parents and married an Adlai Stevenson Democrat.  When my husband was courting me (thats what we called it then, it seems so quaint now) he was appalled to find out that that I had voted for Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. Everyone I knew had voted for Eisenhower. I was surrounded by Republicans even in college; the entire school (Wheaton College in Massachusetts) went into mourning when Truman defeated Dewey in 1948. When I graduated and found a place to live in New York, I shared an apartment with three other women, two of whom worked at Time Magazine which I thought had worked fiercely to elect Ike. 
      So I was intrigued and totally captivated by this young man, a lawyer working for Wendell Willkies firm, who was a Democrat.  We would go to concerts in Central Park and sit on a bench afterwards (imagine, you could sit on a bench in the park late at night and not worry at all) while he convinced me that Republicans were stingy and mean and didnt care about poor people, and the Democrats were generous and giving and much better human beings than the opposition.  I converted and never looked back. 
      Im still a Democrat, but my husband has gone so far downhill that he even voted for Ronald Reagan. As he has aged, he favors anybody he thinks will lower taxes.  I still think that taxes were meant to help people.  And I must say, the most interesting people I have met in my life have been Democrats. 
     Which brings me to Hillary.  Unfortunately, I dont live in New York State anymore so I cant vote for her in the Senate race, but when she runs for president, Ill work for her. I think shes great.  I love the fact that shes so smart, that she cares so much about women and children, especially women raising children alone, and that she will work hard to draft legislation that will help all of us.  Shes young (fifties seems very young to me at 71), has obviously done a great job raising her daughter, and by diving head-first into a tough Senate race sublimated the grief she must have felt when her husband made a fool of himself and was impeached. I cant think of any place more difficult than New York to win over, but Im cheering her on every step of the way.
     Im sure I dont have to tell you how my husband feels about Hillary. He hates her. He thinks shes dishonest, opportunistic, and did a bad job with the health bill. As an April Fools joke a couple of years ago, I bought a six-foot tall cardboard figure of Hillary in a plaid suit, and put it in the kitchen for him to find when he got up for his work-out in the morning.  I hid around the corner to hear his comment when he discovered his nemesis smiling at him near the sink, but he just glared and went downstairs to his weights.  I was disappointed, but I still laugh when I see Hillary gracing our basement.
     Im sorry to tell you that my three beloved grandsons, Alex, 13, Ian, 11, and Michael, 7, also dislike Hillary.  She moved to their hometown, Chappaqua, and the traffic hasnt been the same since. Whenever they try to get anywhere, and Hillary or the President are in town, traffic is held up for at least half an hour, which delays all soccer, baseball and basketball games. They wish she would go live somewhere else. I keep looking for her in the Grand Union when I go to visit, but so far, no Hillary sightings.
     In spite of our political differences, or maybe because of them, my husband and I have been married for 47 years, and our dinner table debates are lively and fun. He rants and raves at The New York Times editorials. I worked there for eight years, and I agree with them almost all the time. He delivers long harangues on health care and welfare mismanagement. I am eloquent on the subject of choice and gun control.  We have a great time, and sometimes make a dent in the other ones thinking.
     Well, thats enough for my first time at bat, but Id love to know how you handle politics in your house.  Do you cancel each others vote, or do you always vote alike? Send letters to me at Senior Women. 
     See you in two weeks.

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