I had a grandfather who once told me, in his 80s I believe, that if he had it to do all over again he wouldn’t have been involved in politics. That short-lived exchange with my grandfather has always lingered in the back of my mind and has often led me to ask myself, regarding political involvement, what price am I willing to pay, and is it worth it? In any case, voting has been and always will be a high priority for me. If we don’t exercise this most basic of American liberties then chances are one day we may lose this right and privilege.
Throughout much of his life, my grandfather who wrote hundreds (perhaps thousands) of letters to politicians and others on subjects ranging from Communism to abortion, after 1973). His parents came from a region controlled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bohemia, which enjoyed a brief, 30 year period of independence as the newly formed nation of Czechoslovakia following World War I. After World War II, the communists took over and reigned there for over 40 years.
My grandfather paid a price for his political activism, spending two years in jail in the 1950s because of, according to him, his opposition to communism. His wife, my grandmother, said that as much as anything he likely went to jail because he wouldn’t leave the politicians alone with his letters. Anyway, he was caught up in the wave of 1950s McCarthyism and paid a price for his principles.
When I reflect upon my grandfather, it makes me ponder what my beliefs are. I tend to believe that moral issues are one principle worth standing for. As our nation loses its way and as our values become watered down to the point that we are becoming a valueless nation, now is a good time to stand up for true and unchanging principles. Hopefully, I won’t have to one day spend time in jail like my grandfather did, but, with the course our nation is headed, who knows what the future holds for any of us.