Everywhere you turn in an election year, you’ll hear people saying that every vote counts … and our brave forefathers died to give us the right to vote … and you can’t complain about politics if you can’t vote.
(This last claim has always chafed me. As if logic built on superior smugness has ever stopped anyone from complaining. As if anything has ever convinced somebody not to complain.)
Even the most loyal patriot occasionally gets tired of doing his civic duty, though.
That seems to be where my grandfather was, more than 50 years ago:
Some Election Days are more gripping than others. This one does not seem to have engaged my grandpa very much — though my aunt seemed quite cheerful about getting the day off from school.
In retrospect, I’m hard put to understand why my grandpa seemed so nonchalant. The November 1962 elections were plenty eventful for residents of southwestern Connecticut, who had two Congressional seats to weigh in on:
– The retirement of Prescott Bush left one of the state’s two U.S. Senate seats open. The seat switched parties, as Democrat Abe Ribicoff beat Republican Horace Seely-Brown in a close race (51 percent to 49 percent).
– In Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District, incumbent Republican Rep. Abner Sibal held off Democratic challenger Francis X. Lennon Jr. in another close race, 52 percent to 48 percent.
Those races look interesting enough to me. Could be they weren’t as close as the numbers and the distance of time make them seem.
Or, maybe my grandpa was more motivated by municipal races, and there just weren’t many of those to pique his interest. For instance, there was no mayoral election that November.
(There would be mayoral upheaval in Stamford the following year, as Hizzoner J. Walter Kennedy left town to take an unusual new job — commissioner of the National Basketball Association. But that didn’t have anything to do with the 1962 election.)
Of course there was no presidential election in 1962, since the election that year fell at the midterm (or what would have been the midterm) of John F. Kennedy’s only term.
There won’t be a presidential election this year either, but there should be plenty of other activity across the country. Here in Pennsylvania, for instance, we’ll be choosing a governor — a new governor, quite likely.
So do get out and vote in tomorrow’s “election,” won’t you?
Even if it doesn’t excite you.