Monday, January 23, 2012

At the Liberal Potluck

One of the first shows I remember watching on television as a teenager (my family was late to get technology) was one about a woman who infiltrated the Communist Party. This woman discovered that some of her neighbors were Communists. She reported them to the FBI and the FBI asked her to join so she could spy on them.
I’ve since read that at least half of the registered members of the Communist Party in the USA were FBI spies.
In the movie, this woman joined the Communists, went to their meetings and participated in their activities.
Boring.
They sat around drinking tea and addressing envelopes. They didn’t even get to hear speeches about what was so exciting about Communism that they should put up with these boring meetings.
At the end of the movie, there was a court trial and this bored woman named her neighbors who had drunk tea and addressed envelopes is if those activities were crimes.
When I joined the Democratic Party a few years later (you couldn’t vote until age 21 in those days) I told the folks at campaign headquarters that I wanted to participate in any activities that would help elect Democrats. So, I was invited to meetings where I drank tea and addressed envelopes. I got so bored, I addressed some envelopes in Cyrillic alphabet.
And when the election came around – here is real proof of my ancient origins – I went door to door in the ghetto offering to babysit children while their mothers went to vote.
They took me up on it. Free babysitting. I have no idea if they really voted. Some of the moms were gone a very long time and came back with groceries.
Last night I was invited to the neighborhood liberal potluck. I baked an extra loaf of whole wheat bread, special for the occasion, thinking that the group would be of mixed ages and young people these days don’t know how to make bread.
There were no young people at the meeting. And we didn’t address envelopes. We didn’t even get tea. Instead we were told about where to obtain forms to register voters and instructed on how to obtain signatures to get President Barack Hussein Obama on the ballot in Pennsylvania. This is kind of tricky. We’ll need to obtain voter registration sheets so people can make sure they sign the petition the same way they signed their voter registration forms. Most people forget if they used a middle initial or spelled out their middle names, but if you don’t sign the petition exactly the way you signed your voter registration, your signature will be disqualified. You also have to sign neatly or the whole page of 50 signatures can be disqualified. I don’t know what they do for folks who have had strokes and whose handwriting has changed.
The most interesting thing I learned at the meeting was that the woman from Obama for America had been to the White House and had her picture taken with the President. This was the highlight of her life. Her great grandmother had been born into slavery and now, she was in the White House with the President and his wife.
There were no talks about how exciting is to be a Democrat, or a liberal.
Soon I’ll be going door to door collecting signatures. Most of my neighbors will be happy to sign. Most voters in Philadelphia are Democrats. I won’t be offering to babysit.

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