Father, Son Won’t Be Voting Alike

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 29, 2012

In a display of fatherly tolerance, I applied last week for my college son to receive an absentee ballot in faraway Oklahoma. I may have just aided the other side.
My son won’t be voting like his father.
He might vote for … Gary Johnson.
Who? That’s the Libertarian Party candidate. I’ve cultivated Libertarian ideas in Robert for years — from John Stossel to Ron Paul — telling him that my generation’s excesses have stuck his generation with a mountain of debt and that the Big Government Ogre has become too intrusive, too unwieldy and threatens to suck the lifeblood out of this nation. His generation is being stuck with the tab by Baby Boomer politicians buying votes with borrowed money.
He ought to be mad — really mad.
He’s not … not yet.
He still relies on Elizabeth to balance his checkbook. Until he sees the tax deductions from his first pay stub, chances are he won’t care much about the federal government’s spending orgy or assign the responsibility to the President and Congress.
My son might mark the box for our cool and hip rock star President Obama. Certainly he won’t vote for Mitt Romney — the candidate too much like his old fashioned father. Romney doesn’t have the Hollywood or the youth vote. The younger generation is swayed by style more than substance.
My middle-born still lives in the warm and comfortable college cocoon, oblivious to the employment woes graduates face. Too soon, he will run headlong into the job market.
I can’t be too critical. I voted for George McGovern when I was his age. My ballot was vested in self-interest. My draft number was 21, and McGovern had promised to crawl on hands and knees to Hanoi, if necessary, for peace.
My father, aghast at the thought of an American president abasing himself to an enemy, thought I was nuts. Looking back, maybe I was. McGovern would have been a terrible president. Of course, Nixon really was a crook, as we later learned.
Robert calls home daily now with a running commentary about political polls and the latest campaign flub. The debate last week was stunning. Mitt Romney had President Obama’s head spinning.
This is my son’s first time voting for president, and he’s pretty excited about it — like his father was in 1972.
To borrow a phrase from Yogi Berra, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Autumn Cold Snap

I woke up cold at 2:30 Tuesday morning — uncomfortably aware that summer’s over. I turned on the heat and pulled up blankets to fight the cold snap that lingered for a few days in early October.
On Saturday I raked my first leaves of fall and braced for all those yet to come down.
A jacket felt good in the early morning …