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November 02, 2006

All Politics Are Local

I used to be very involved in politics. When I was a TV news producer for many years, my job was to manage all the political coverage- see to it that all the issues were covered, follow the candidates, coach on-air commentators, produce televised debates. I attended the Democratic and Republican conventions and even at one point considered becoming a press secretary to a former TV colleague turned politico. So while I don't do this officially for work anymore, I do occasionally get involved such as  when I joined the media committee on a recent local campaign that led to the successful passage of a property tax hike that provided much needed money for our school district. I admit I follow more of the politics on the national level than local, although there are a number of crucially important California ballot measures I'm very concerned about this year that focus on the environment, abortion rights and health care.

Election season is always very interesting around our house because my husband and I are basically polar opposites in our political leanings.  I've been a Democrat all my life, I despise the Bush administration for all their deceptions and I really hope the Republicans get their butts kicked out on Tuesday.

My husband is a Republican, supports the current administration, although he's more of a fiscal, rather than social conservative. With him it's all about taxes and immigration and unwavering support for Israel.  So basically, we go to the polls and cancel each other out.  We argue and debate all the time. He turns on FoxNews, I switch the TV over to CNN or MSNBC. And back and forth it goes.

He wasn't always a Republican.  He went to Berkeley in the 60s, was very involved in the Free Speech Movement and Vietnam War protests. He even got arrested for throwing rocks at a cop and had to spend 10 weekends in Santa Rita Jail for that. I don't know exactly what happened to change that, although of course we've talked about it. It could have been all the years he spent in criminal law- first in the public defenders office, then as a assistant district attorney.  It could simply be the money issue- the more he earned, the more taxes he paid, the more he resented that fact of life. We move in a decidedly liberal circle of friends, so he's often a minority of one.  He's learned when to speak his mind and when to keep his mouth shut.

It's interesting how it effects the kids. Right now I'm ahead.  We've split the 14 year old twins- my son is in his court, my daughter is in mine. The 18 year old says he's leaning towards voting for the Green Party (although I'm not sure he really means that or he just said that to get his Dad's goat) At this point, the 10 year old has no opinion. I think it's good they hear us fight about politics- it's always about the issues, not about us and I think it's important they know we care and want to stay informed and involved.