Living in Society

Biden Harris 2020

Vice President Joe Biden in Cedar Rapids, May 2010.

In 1964 I had thoughts about politics.

One Saturday morning, after riding the city bus downtown to pay my newspaper bill, a friend and I stopped at the Democratic office to stuff envelopes in exchange for an LBJ campaign button. The same day, on a lark, we went to the nearby Republican office and did the same for a Goldwater button. Our family was Democratic yet I must have felt there was a choice about politics.

When Johnson won the election in a landslide I figured Democrats would prevail in all future elections. I was 12 years old.

Being a newspaper carrier was a formative experience. It taught me a lot about people, that some were honest and others would try to bilk me out of the cost of their subscription. When I threatened to stop deliveries for non-payment people would blame me when they pleaded with my supervisor to continue the paper.

People were mostly home when I made collections. When they weren’t I made a special trip later in the week. I got to know everyone on my route: who had a barking dog, who kept their yard tidy, who rented and who didn’t. Women were easier to deal with than men. A majority of households took the newspaper.

The street in front of our house dead-ended at a woods near the end of my route. Collecting from that house meant avoiding a dog and finding my way down a long driveway to the old farm house where it was hit or miss someone would be around. Collections taught me a lot about margins in a small business. If you didn’t collect, every penny came out of the margin. Today the street runs through and the farmhouse is long gone.

The years, especially the Ronald Reagan administration, removed any doubt I’m a Democrat. I’m proud to be a Democrat. Our days of landslide victories like 1964 are over so there is work to do in the remaining days before the Nov. 3 election. I plan to vote for the Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. They are good people. It requires good people to effectively govern.

I’ve been in enough political campaigns to know time slips away if one doesn’t have a plan to support the election. I made a list of 12 things to do. It ranges from easy — like wearing a campaign button or t-shirt in public and installing an auto bumper sticker — to working with the campaigns to contact voters. We’re on a fixed budget yet we’ll find a way to spare a few dollars for our candidates. I’ve already been working the plan.

Why Biden – Harris? They are our party’s nominees. In addition to being good people, they have a coherent plan to address the coronavirus pandemic and the economic collapse it brought. There’s plenty more but unless we get through the pandemic and have a chance at restoring some of our previous life, our lives will become a worsening hellscape. Already it is clear there is no going back to how it used to be before the pandemic.

My life has been about people: getting to know them, working with them in a business environment, and doing things together because it is fun and rewarding. All that is on the line in the election because of the pandemic.

Yesterday CNN reported there is an asteroid heading toward Earth to arrive at the time of the election. The scientists at NASA say the chance of it hitting us is just 0.41 percent. The incumbent president has more chance of being re-elected than that. It’s time to get to work to reduce his chances to closer to zero.

The election will be here before we know it, the results known. In the meanwhile I’ll continue living — cleaning up after the derecho, conserving financial resources, learning how to cook from a kitchen garden, and doing things with people how and when I can. I’ll continue to strive to be a better writer and a decent human being. In 2020 preserving those abilities means supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for president and vice president. That’s what I plan to do.