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civics

CivicsI

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.
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