Memories of My Grandparents

All of my grandparents have passed, and I don't know if I've ever recorded memories of them in writing. I was reminded to finish this piece by my aunt's Mother's Day post.

Freedom

This weekend, I made a trip to western Massachusetts, where I had a board meeting at my alma mater for a fund I help to oversee. That visit was lovely and normal.

The trip there and back was extraordinary. It's been busy at work, but without any planning, I was able get there and back easily, driving past beautiful countryside in NY and PA, on well-maintained roads (so smooth I didn't realize how fast I was going at some point), and with a thousand choices about where to stop.

I had freedom. I have freedom.

It might sound normal, but in so many countries around the world, its not normal, whether because of dictators regulating travel or lack of resources or corruption that diverts those resources from public roads. That freedom is my Right, and everyone's right, but its not a broad experience across humanity and I will always be thankful for it.

Outside Media, Outside Spending

I am a Georgian, and I don't like how long its been since I lived full-time in my home state. I subscribe to and read the news from my hometown (Decatur just agreed to buy a lot of land from a historic children's home and got named as a "good suburb" by some website), and keep up with friends in Atlanta who have seen multiple interstate disruptions in the past few weeks. I see high school classmates when I do get back, and I treasure the wonderful upbringing I had, flavored by places all across Georgia: Savannah, Jekyll, Cumberland, Rome, Athens, Valdosta, Columbus, Warner Robins, Augusta, Amicalola Falls, and the main trails in North Georgia maintains by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club.

I say all this because despite my residency in DC for this tour inside the government, I feel much more like a Georgian than a "District of Columbian" or whatever the right term is, and the amount of outside spending and interference in the 6th district astounded me from afar, while the press coverage all seemed focused on the horserace and not the real, substantive issues that matter for the people voting. I heard of buses chartered and plane tickets bought so people could fly in and canvass, and the amount of paid media has apparently been choking mailboxes for weeks, while robocalls have swamped phone lines.

Ugh. I accept that "ground game" matters in politics, but persuasion should matter so much more - which is why volunteer phone calls and canvassing are the best form of political work. But so often, the "scripts" for volunteers treat the political landscape like its fixed or frozen, instead of being responsive to people as they read the news and keep up with events. When things are so nuts that a Georgian from outside the 6th district (native of the 4th here), living in DC, starts feeling a little resentful of all of the outside nonsense, you know its bad. The national press seemed so interested in a certain narrative that they turned a 30-year-old never-candidate into the effective incumbent.

Anyways, I think there's work we can all do, wherever we are, to support and oppose important policies. Let's let the Georgia Sixth make its own decisions, please.