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I almost made the title of this post "politics", but I am mindful that politics is one of those subjects that can cause great rifts among family and friends. But I have something to say which I hope will not be contentious. I looked up the definition of "civics", and I liked it. It is "the branch of political science that deals with civic affairs and the rights and duties of citizens". Readers might be wondering what this subject has to do with my book Above & Beyond Wellfleet. For those of you who don't know me well, my late husband was a much admired and loved civic leader. He was a politician, and he wore the label proudly. He was a Democrat. His resume began with the fact that he "cut his political teeth on Jack Kennedy's campaign" as a young man and as a slightly older man he became the County Democratic Chair in Rochester, NY and then "Mario Cuomo's hand picked New York State Chairman."He had a knack for convincing people to run for public office, who never had an inkling that that was something they wanted to do. One of his favorite phrases in selling potential candidates on the idea of serving their neighbors was giving the person the "opportunity to participate". He saw being involved in the political process as a high calling as well as one's duty as a citizen. A friend and former New York political reporter who recently read my book wrote to me and said how she related to what I had written about my husband. She wrote "these sentences really struck me 'if the odds were great, he was inspired. If he was told something was unachievable, he achieved it". That is true, he asked a lot of the people who he convinced to run for office, but he worked shoulder to shoulder with them. But more than his desire to win, he made sure that the races were always civil. He gave politics a good name. He was respected by Republicans and Conservatives as well as Democrats. He was gracious when he won as well as when he lost. I miss him most days, but particularly now. I wonder what he would think of the current political climate. He was not in favor of negative campaigning, so as successful as the practice has become, I'm not sure he would approve. He preferred to encourage people to vote FOR someone versus voting AGAINST someone. That having been said, I know that he would want all of us to be involved some way--even if that just meant going to the polls to vote. That's why I chose the title "civics"--because I believe as he did that voting is not your right--it is your duty.

7 Comments to CivicsI :

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Katie on Thursday, October 4, 2012 9:42 PM
I like this post so much! In watching the debate last night, I was encouraged by the civil discourse, though I wish that some points were made more forcefully. I do remember that Larry had a much more optimistic approach and that it worked! Lessons that can be learned today.
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cbw on Thursday, October 4, 2012 9:55 PM
Thank you, sweet girl for commenting and remembering--means a lot. On the humorous side, remember your short conversation with Walter Mondale--hee hee. You are the best!!!

Joni Vetne on Friday, October 5, 2012 5:25 AM
I may share this post with my civics class. I'm starting a new unit this year on how to be a productive member of society because civics is more than the separation of powers; it's about our power, too.
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connie on Friday, October 5, 2012 11:44 AM
Joni--you "know" Larry through the book. He would be so happy to think that you would introduce your class to this kind of civics lesson. Thank you.

Patty on Saturday, October 6, 2012 1:34 PM
I remember when a local Republican activist told me he had agreed to become Republican Party Chair because Larry (Connie's husband) made it a respectable thing to do. What a compliment. I was also one of the people he convinced to run for office - something I had never expected to do. And I hope that someday soon, people of both parties in Congress will agree that conciliation is the only way to solve the nation's problems and make progress.
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Connie on Saturday, October 6, 2012 2:19 PM
Thank you, Patty.You are and were a star. From County Clerk to New York State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles AND most importantly, treasured friend.

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