Before meeting William and Reed, these are/were the two most important men in my life.
My father. And my maternal grandfather.
Both of these men love(d) one thing more than any woman or offspring they ever had… and that’s democracy.
My grandfather was a diplomat; an attaché for the Colombian embassy. He met my American grandmother in Washington and the rest was a few decades before I came along.
I adored him. Adored.
I cannot tell you how many times we did three things: watched the sunset, identified constellations, and talked about the glory of the American Constitution.
He came from a continent riddled with ongoing civil unrest, and attributed successes in his country (when they occurred) to the example of the American democratic process.
But he wasn’t brainwashed. He could also find our many American flaws. But he loved us all just the same. And this country. And knew the gift that democracy is to the world.
And then there’s that handsome guy to the left, my father. A man who will recite his oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States from all threats, foreign AND domestic. And who gave two years of this life to serve in a war that for him, and for anyone who was there, was deeply traumatic. Not simply from the exposure to combat alone; but what the complicated and dangerous ongoings of ego and rulership do to nations of people. And to threaten our nation’s greatest gift, its constitution.
A sad thing he shared recently, from the man who says little, is that what we have been seeing play out in Washington looks a lot like a second Vietnam.
“We don’t want another Vietnam.”
In all his years of service at the Pentagon, I can’t imagine that he ever imagined these recent and deeply sad events.
But on a good note, because we need good notes…….
Last year we got to dance, my dad and I. He was in his dress blues, and I had the privilege of being the officer’s date that evening.
I finally dragged my poor dad out onto the dance floor just in time for the band to strike up the next song…….
If only we had known then the foreshadowing of the huge victory to come.
Thanks for the dance, Dad.
Democracy loves you.