It’s crunch time in political campaigns across the country. Numbers are crunched; time crunches, as does the pavement beneath the feet of poll workers. I’ve always enjoyed this season, especially so every four years.
This year, I got to participate in the process by following around two extraordinarily hard-working campaigners down in Ohio. Two guys in their mid-50s — recently unemployed — decided to work for their candidate by traveling cross-country from their sunny California homes and settle in Dayton, of all places.
Keith Turner took the job back in June, when the city was sweltering hot. He recalls wanting to quit after his first day of stomping through some of the cities rougher, crime-filled areas. The people he met brought him back. He got his cousin Dean involved and now the pair scour a precisely delineated precinct, putting up signs, contacting voters, assuring everyone their ballot matters.
Now it’s GO time, GO TV time. I thought it was some sort of television show before they explained it to me; GO TV means Get Out The Vote.
And yet, during all the frenzy, they still took a few minutes to squire me around town. We drove through the historic area where their grandmother was raised. We stopped and photographed the house where their grandfather was born. Nearby was the cool, crazy college where both their sets of parents learned their socio-political ways. We took pictures there too, mimicking an old family photo of their grandfather with his twin daughters, their mothers.
I remember that photo as well.
It’s been in my family for 60 years. I don’t have a copy of it with me, but maybe my mom or my aunt do. After all, it was them in the picture.
Their sons — my brother and cousin — have continued on their parent’s and grandparent’s proud social and politically active ways.