During every election cycle that I pay attention to, I remember the 1988 elections. I remember watching the Democratic National Convention during sweltering heat in an A-frame house in Wisconsin while my brothers had fun outside because I thought we were required by law to watch these things.
I remember wondering who the shit are all these old men and why isn't Jesse Jackson speaking more? Jesse Jackson was the only person I had heard of before that night.
I remember wondering, how does the rest of the country survive through this interminable extravaganza? Damn it was boring, but I was worried I would get arrested if I didn't watch it.
I also remember my father's briefcase. He had a soft-sided, tan briefcase that he carried to work in Bucharest. I went looking through it once, because I was hoping to find nuclear materials or Romanian state secrets or something cool like James Bond in that briefcase. Instead, I found a bumper sticker stuck to the unpocketed-side of the briefcase. That bumper sticker read, "Lick Bush." I remember thinking this was rather underwhelming. Being the age at which American children read a lot of old-timey but timeless novels like Tom Sawyer, I thought nothing of this sticker although I did wonder why it was on the inside of the briefcase. I had learned that summer that Republicans exist and are the problem and support George HW Bush, so I figured that maybe they wouldn't like my father's proud admission that he would make Bush say, "uncle" or something.
When I was voting for the first time, I remembered this bumper sticker and laughed out lout while I was standing in the booth. Two little old ladies shuffled over and asked if I was ok. Just proud of my dad, that's all.