Saturday, November 01, 2008


I have no knowledge of any of my paternal colonial ancestors ever being elected
to a public office (although they held various appointed town government
positions). Amos Hastings is the relative who achieved the highest prominence
but that was as a general in the Maine State militia. Of course, who is to say
that a certain amount of political savvy might not have been required
to reach that rank? As for party affiliations, I don't know much about those
either but I suspect that they were by and large staunch Republicans after the
party was founded. I do know that for much of his life my Dad voted for
the Republican candidates in the presidential elections.

My maternal Irish-American family members haven't run for office either.
Like most Irish-Americans they were Democrats in the early 20th century
when the face of Boston politics changed during the days of John F. Fitzgerald
(JFK's grandfather) and James Michael Curley who served as mayors of Boston
and Congressmen. But my mom was known to vote Republican. She voted for
Eisenhower in the 1950's (after all, he was a war hero). She voted for Kennedy
and Johnson but then Nixon afterwards and later Reagan before returning to the
the Democrats to vote for Clinton.

Of course, I live in Massachusetts and politics up here is generally either an art
form or a blood sport. Politicians had nicknames like Dapper, Tipper, Whacko
and "Honey Fitz" and were legendary for their wit and their vices. James Curley
was the inspiration for the novel "The Last Hurrah" and even though he was twice
sent to jail he was a beloved figure among the Irish community because of
his accessibility. My mother told me several times about how during the height of
the Great Depression my grandmother went to see Mayor Curley about some
problem(she was never told what it was about) and Curley did something to help.
Mom could even point out his house on the Boston area road named the Jamaica

The first Presidential Election I paid attention to was the 1960 campaign of John
F. Kennedy, the first Catholic and Irish American to be a presidential nominee.
I was 12 years old at the time and it was a really big deal in Boston for everyone
no matter their descent.

I'll be glad when this election is over. For one thing, I won't have to watch another
ad for the Senate race in New Hampshire, a race I can't even vote on!

I hope that whatever your political beliefs, you all remember to get out Tuesday
and VOTE!

Written for the 59th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy

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