I went alone, but under different, better circumstances, I would have had both my parents with me. This was of course, not possible, which made it even more important for me to attend. I've spoken about my parent's love of all things political, and about how they have instilled in me the importance of being involved, and knowledgeable, and above all, exercising your right to VOTE!
When Dad was first diagnosed, and things were so uncertain, Bryan said to me 'he HAS to make it to the election!' And I truly could not fathom going through an election year without him. With two weeks to go, I can't begin to tell you how thrilled and excited I am that he's here, he's still fighting, and he'll be with me on November 4th when we go as a family to cast our ballots. I know there will be elections and holidays and milestones that he won't be here for, but I am thankful right now for this moment, because beyond that, nothing is ever certain.
My Mom took me to my first rally in 1988. Michael Dukakis at... Avila College, I think? I was 17 and not particularly politically saavy, but I was excited nonetheless. I remember standing in a long line talking with those around us, everyone was jovial despite the cold and the long wait. It's a memory I will always cherish on a sentimental level - but I'm sorry, Mom, this trumps it all. I couldn't feel my feet by the time Obama took the stage, I had a weird old guy with a wispy grey ponytail invading my personal space, I couldn't have moved if my life depended on it - but I didn't care. I was alone, but my family was with me in spirit. Health Care is, and always has been, one of my #1 issues. I have watched my parents struggle with medical bills, even before Dad was diagnosed with cancer. You can imagine my crumbling composure at this part of the speech:
"If I am President, I will finally fix our broken health care system. This issue is personal for me. My mother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 53, and I’ll never forget how she spent the final months of her life lying in a hospital bed, fighting with her insurance company because they claimed that her cancer was a pre-existing condition and didn’t want to pay for treatment. If I am President, I will make sure those insurance companies can never do that again. "
It was waterworks. Change for our broken health care system may come too late for my Dad. But I am passionate in the belief that NO ONE should have to worry about paying hospital bills when they're sick. Health Care is not a privilege for the wealthy, it is a right for all of us.
I don;t mean to get up on my soapbox, but on a normal day, this is an integral part of our family dynamic. We all cried when Tim Russert died. We often watch Countdown together. We debate, we discuss, we speculate, we monitor polls daily. This is our last hurrah, our last big Election Year as a solid family unit. Two weeks from tomorrow, I'm not just voting for change. I'm voting for my Dad.