Barack Obama: Why I Choose Him

One woman's personal reasons for voting for Barack Obama.

In Her Words

The Grandma Factor

Why I’m voting for Barack Obama

-Mary Beth Sammons

Editor’s Note: The following is one Betty’s opinion. welcomes all opinions and doesn’t endorse any
particular candidate or political party.

Barack Obama with his grandmotherIn the last several weeks, I’ve developed a whole new circle of friends. Their names are Annabelle, Tilly, Eleanor, Gloria, Bernie, Erma, and Lorraine. Most are grandmas – women I’ve met “hanging out” with my mom Isabel in the three weeks since my father has died.

We’ve gone to the foot doctor; shared pizza at the retirement center; trekked to a movie and yesterday, met for a luncheon – china, crystal and all the fixings and special touches, served up by the team of caregivers that keeps Eleanor’s Martha-Stewart-delicious entertaining events alive. She still delights in gathering friends, but now walks with a cane and the help of a caregiver to the table.

I am honored to be in their presence, this league of strong woman in the eighth decade of their lives who keep on keeping on – and embrace all life offers, despite the loss of their husbands and life as they knew it.

Tilly, Issy, my mom, and “the girls” remind me of my grandmas, Bridget and Bess, again woman who faced extreme adversity, yet rose above it, mostly because they wanted to provide hope for my parents, and ultimately me.

My grandma Bridget, the youngest of 12 children, arrived in this country on a boat from Ireland. Her husband left her with three baby daughters, and she worked as a nanny to create a brighter future for now three generations.

That is why, though I NEVER write about politics, I have to say that speaking from the caring front, I hands-down vote for Barack Obama. When he suspended his campaign to rush to Hawaii to the bedside of his gravely ill grandma, (read a beautiful article about the importance of his grandma’s role in his life in this Chicago Tribune story), he had me at hello.

Cheers to Barack for cutting through what is important, for being at his grandmother’s bedside. Sometimes we all forget what is important. This reminded our country and all of us, what is.

I’m not a political journalist, although I have covered everything from municipal to state to national elections in my many years when I worked for daily newspapers. But, I am keen on what kind of a person is genuine and knows what really matters. I know that the Glorias, Eleanors and Annabells have spent a lifetime dedicated to creating promise and new hope for their families, and that their dedication and commitment needs to be respected and honored.

So, I go with the Barack grandma factor.

Not to mention the Barack preteen factor. A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to chaperone my then eighth grade daughter Emily’s class trip to Washington D.C. Our highlight was “Breakfast with Barack Obama.” I will never forget the warm smile he gave to the students as they marched up the steps of the Capitol, and the sincere and concerned way he addressed all their questions. That day he said he wasn’t running for the presidential office in the next election. But I secretly hoped he would.

So Tuesday, I’m voting for the grandma factor, the preteen factor and, yes, the middle class factor. I hope “the girls” – young and old – will join me.

Oh, and my dad, he never got to file his absentee ballot, but for what it is worth, he was going to leave his Republican ranks and for the first time vote for a Democrat, for Barack.

There’s something about being present at the bedside of the dying that cuts through what is and isn’t important in our lives.

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