True Colors

As this election season kicks into high gear it’s been interesting to see Miss Cathy engaging in the process.

It goes without saying that this lady is gaga for President Obama. She may not always remember what day it is but she remembers the date that the president was inaugurated.

Miss Cathy was the first person I called back on 2008 when our first African-American President was declared. I remember her sounding the happiest I’d heard in a long time, she was (almost) speechless, unusual for her l know, but her joy was that strong.

I can’t imagine how she felt, being someone that had grown up in the Jim Crow South, seeing what she never dared dream possible-at least not in her lifetime.

She was part of a generation of African-Americans who had migrated from the Deep South northward hoping for a better life for themselves and their families, most of whom were largely successful in their endeavors, living their ‘American Dream’ in shades of black and brown, free of the ‘whites only’ reality of their upbringing.

Miss Cathy wasn’t the first in her family to leave home but she was the only one to graduate high school, with no encouragement from her family. It’s not that they didn’t care-they just didn’t understand that education meant opportunity but she did, and she knew hers was somewhere outside of the city limits of Henderson, North Carolina.

She would go on to have a successful career as a correspondence clerk for the Veterans Administration in Washington DC, where she developed a lifelong love of the military and supporting veterans and their families for their sacrifice.

While I knew most of this about her, she told me alot more about her life experiences while we watched the DNC Convention together on TV.

What I didn’t know until I joined her life was how political she is, come to think of it, she hasn’t missed casting a ballot since her diagnosis.

She’s a pretty outspoken voting rights advocate; especially at the local level, she has little patience for people that complain about government but then don’t vote (guess the tree can fall near the apple, too).

She feels that voting is almost a sacred duty, keenly aware of all those that have passed so that she could exercise her constitutional right. And she rails against those (especially minorities) who do not vote; she has one word for them-‘stupid’.

Since the conventions we’ve been talking politics, past and present, sometime deep into the night. Talking with her is an interesting contrast to the shades of grey the candidates are drawing between the class distinctions in our country, redistribution of wealth, race and the role of government in helping people better themselves as well as those who have worked their entire lives helping themselves to their (in my opinion) well deserved social security…….Miss Cathy wasn’t drawn that way-it’s who she is.

The debates are just around the corner. I’m looking forward to watching them with her and hearing her take on the candidate’s views.

I’m sure her commentary will be funny, insightful and as unique as she is, running the gamut from blue to red-beyond just primary colors.


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