My Life In Politics: Part I
I used to write to politicians a lot when I was in elementary school. I felt like I was fulfilling my civic duty and since I couldn’t vote, being their pen pal was the next best thing. When Michael Dukakis ran for president in 1988 I hoped he would win. Not because I was a ten year old Democrat, but because I too was from Massachusetts. Also he looked like my mom’s cousin Jo-Jo from Maine and that was awesome. When he didn’t win the election, my friends Renee and Lindsay and I wrote him a letter of consolation and surprisingly and a little bit sadly, he wrote back.
Dear Liz, Renee and Lindsay,
Thank you for writing. I’m glad to know I have such good friends in Acton. Judging from the mail I’ve been receiving from all over the country, if we could have lowered the voting age to include fifth graders we would have had a landslide victory!
I did enjoy the campaign. There were some good days and some not so good days, but I will never forget the beauty of this great country or the kindness, hospitality and decency of its people.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me.
Michael S. Dukakis
Ohmigod, ohmigod! I am FRIENDS with Michael Dukakis. Liz and Duke, BFF! And was he really considering lowering the voting age to ten? Awesome! My teacher sent the original letter out, so when the response came back, it was sent to my school. Renee and Lindsay and I drew straws to decide who kept the original and who would get a photocopy of the letter and I won. I was psyched because back then, I did not care about other people AT ALL. Now I’m sure I would be like “No YOU take it, it means more to you than it does to me” but back then I had no problem rubbing it in their faces that I won! I won! I won! Beat it suckers!
I had pretty much forgotten that the letter existed by dinnertime, but my mom saves everything and put it in a scrapbook for me. The best part of it though, is that it makes me feel happy to know if I ever face public scrutiny or humiliation, I can at least count on the sympathy of the fifth grade.