Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Not Just Politics As Usual

 In my soul, politics was simmering. Maybe it was being around my dad so many times during elections for the Mine Workers.

In high school, I became extremely interested in politics. Even though there were only a handful of us old enough to vote, we ran a Rock the Vote, voter registration booth during lunch in high school in 1996. The year prior, marking my entry into my nerdy world of politics, I pre- subscribed to George Magazine, JFK Jr's venture to make politics cool. It was before the internet and online magazines, although John did speak to Microsoft about possibly online chats about politics. It was my foray into politics; trying to understand the blue and red with commentary by notables such as James Carville, Al Franken, and a young not no so yet vulgarly closed minded and annoying, Ann Coulter. The views were fresh, to the point. It was a mash-up of Vogue almost as well with cover models shot by Herb Ritts. The magazine never took off, particularly because, I think, John was ahead of his time. Politicians weren't celebrities yet and not that many celebrities claimed to know much about politics. We were in a pre-9/11 world where the GOP and Democrats were bland and the lines were not blurred.

In 1988, John introduced his uncle at the Democratic National Convention. For many, it was their dream come true to see John stand as his father did over 25 years prior. However, John's heart was in the arts and charity. Possibly his mother's influence, John acted while he attended Brown University. Looking back, you feel as if John was trapped between two worlds: what he wanted and what the world expected of him. He was a man, although followed by paparazzi, mired in mystery - and possibly even so to himself.

I remember the summer of 1999 being scorching. Pearl Jam's cover of the 1960's sad song, Last Kiss was on constant rotation, along with this new girl, Jennifer Lopez. It was an exciting time as the turn of the 20th Century was upon us. I was in college, taking photographs of a friend for a calendar for her military boyfriend when we all heard the news about John F. Kennedy's plane gone missing. And just like the generation before us, we remember where we were when we heard the news. John F. Kennedy, Jr died on July 16th 1999 along with his wife and sister-in-law poetically into the night and lost forever into the ocean off the Cape. Gone was our generations' connection to Camelot.

Fifteen years since that summer and I wonder what John would have contributed to our political landscape. With his history and interest in charity, would he have given us a positive note to our political landscape? He still inspires me to be involved politically - to remember that it is our right to be involved and make a difference.

I can't wait for the future.
 Winners by Brian Friel

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