Don’t say America is weak, or not a great nation, or that we are no longer free. You would be wrong. America is not weak. We are a great nation. We are free.
Welcome to New Hampshire, January and early February 2016
Don’t treat me like I’m not an American because I vote differently than you, that I have different values than you. What makes America great is not that you or I get our way every four years, but that we don’t get our way, and there is still room in this magnificent country for both of us.
- I worship where I choose.
- I shop where I choose.
- I can travel anywhere in America I choose.
- I read the books I choose.
- I write what I choose.
- I will vote for whom I choose.
But I digress.
Before I arrived in New Hampshire on January 5, 2016, I knew as little about this state as I knew about Wyoming or Madagascar, which is to say, not much.
Still, it‘s hard not to know about the first-in-the-nation Presidential Primary held here every four years. For whatever reasons, I have politics in my blood. Being a born peacemaker, I tend to be moderate, a consensus builder—up to a point. I have thought about running for political office a few times, but I’m not sure I could pass the morality tests.
- I jaywalk occasionally.
- I say that I have read software agreements when I haven’t.
- I have gone through the express lane at the grocery store with eleven items.
- I have driven 50 miles per hour in a 45 zone.
- I have torn the “Do Not Tear” tags off furniture.
Again, I digress.
Grassroots citizenship makes a difference. That seems to happen, by some alchemy and magic, in New Hampshire.
Before I left SC, I found this website, telling anyone and everyone where the candidates for President would be speaking:
Just show up.
Almost as soon as I got here, in early January, I had coffee with Carly Fiorina, in New London, along with about fifty other people on a college campus there.
I stood in line in sub-freezing weather for an hour waiting to hear Bernie Sanders, but didn’t get into the auditorium.
Yesterday, I heard John Kasich (in Claremont) and Jeb Bush (in Hanover), and this morning, Chris Christie at a local pub (in Lebanon)—at nine a.m. I liked Kasich the best of the four with whom I have been up close and personal.
I’ve gone to the events nearby without regard to party affiliation. I discovered in yesterday’s paper that I missed Gloria Steinem stumping for Hillary Clinton right here in Hanover, but I didn’t know about it. Dang. I would have liked to see Gloria Steinem, now age 81.
Talking politics at church is not something I do, nor is it something I recommend. That doesn’t mean I’m not interested. I love this occasional immersion in American democracy. I wish we could disagree without being prickly. The primary here is February 9. I will vote absentee in the South Carolina primary before February 20. I’m waiting on my ballot to arrive in the mail.
Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the New Hampshire Presidential Primary. Welcome to Freedom and Democracy.
Marion D. Aldridge
363 Dartmouth College Highway
Lebanon, New Hampshire 03766