Veering off the stress-free, apolitical pathway
The Aspen Princess
I was in the Whole Foods parking lot with my mom a few weeks ago when a man approached us with a clipboard.
He was nice enough, dressed in a down coat and jeans like every other person within a 50-mile radius.
“Are you registered to vote in the state of Colorado?” he asked.
I nodded, the mixed feelings already churning in my brain. I have frozen strawberries in my bag that need to go into the freezer. I should listen. It’s more important than ever to pay attention to politics. How should I prepare the asparagus? I think I want it grilled. Maybe I’ll steam it and then grill it.
“I’m a Democrat and I’m looking for signatures to endorse my candidacy for governor for the state of Colorado,” the guy said.
As soon as he said “Democrat” I reached out and let him hand me his clipboard. Rather than let my internal dialogue run wild again, like about how I should educate myself about the issues and the candidates rather than always defaulting to one party, or about how it’s insane that this is what politics have come down to and I am part of the problem if I’m not ever willing to compromise or reach across the aisle, I took the pen and went to sign.
Just as I’m about to scribble my name, my mom grabs the clipboard from me and screams, “No! Dianne Mistch Bush!”
It’s fast and sudden, like when a deer jumps out into the road in front of your car, a blur of fur and antlers and hooves.
“I’m not running for Congress,” the man says, remaining relatively calm, considering. “I’m running for governor of Colorado.”
“Jeez, mom,” I say, a little startled. “Take it easy.”
“Oh, OK” she says, handing back the clipboard. I sign in the box, and usher my mom away and into the car.
At 75, Mom has become more politically active now than I can ever remember her being in my lifetime. I do recall her going to meetings for the League of Women Voters back in the ’70s, and there’s no doubt in my mind she’s always been a feminist. Not the burning-bra and hairy-armpit type of feminist, but a powerful woman in her own right who chartered her way through life with a sharp awareness of what she felt entitled to. She always taught me to never become financially dependent on a man and lead by example as a successful professional who made a respectable living in her own right.
She’s retired now, though that hasn’t stopped her from turning volunteer work into a full-time job. Lately, she’s been working for Dianne Mistch Bush, who is running for the 3rd Congressional District of Colorado.
Let me be the first to tell you: she is all fired up.
Growing up with a mom who has such a powerful personality, I am more like my father and would do almost anything to avoid a confrontation. Even though this might be construed as wimpy, it’s worked well for me because I’m happy most of the time, have super low blood pressure, and will probably live to be over 100 years old because I have created a life for myself that is not at all stressful.
Part of staying away from stress means avoiding politics. This is only one of the reasons why I love celebrity tabloids: not only can I get a sense of what’s trending in fashion and pop culture, I can also let my brain soften, like an overripe peach. It feels good and I sleep better at night.
I understand now is not a good time for apathy. I understand it’s time to better educate myself on the issues and the candidates the way that mom has.
Speaking of which, she stopped at Whole Foods again on her way out of town because she lives in Steamboat and they are stuck with a lousy Vitamin Cottage where they do not have brined pork chops or raw cashews. Apparently, the Whole Foods parking lot is a popular place for canvassers because she was approached, again, with another petition, this time for gun-control legislation.
She’s a Democrat and a liberal, so she agreed to sign. Then she proceeded to tell the guy about her work volunteering for Dianne Mistch Bush’s campaign. The guy said Dianne was opposed to this legislation and they got into a debate.
Mom stepped aside and called Dianne. Dianne answered her call and explained to my mom, right there on the spot, that gun-control legislation is very complex, and that this particular bill had giant loopholes she was not comfortable with. Mom asked the guy to remove her name from the petition.
The whole experience jarred her. She is also very troubled by the fact that there is another Democrat from Glenwood who is also running for Tipton’s seat, against Dianne. Mom is very distraught that people think Dianne can’t win because she is a woman, even though she has more experience in government.
There is a part of me that thinks mom just needs to chill out and not stress so much over this stuff, never mind refrain from getting into heated debates with these poor guys in the Whole Foods parking lot who probably feel like they are doing the right thing. But then when I think about it, she’s right. We could all use a little more information and awareness about the issues that affect her on the western slope and educate ourselves about our candidates. If someone approaches you for your signature, you should do more than wait for the word “Democrat” and take a moment to go inside and hop on the free wireless and do some research before you sign anything.
And I know mom would want me to tell you this: learn more about Dianne.
The Princess is worried that her pug is getting too fat. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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