Well... I don't know about you... but I have no idea who Mike Huckabee is.... well OK... I actually first heard about him last week. But I'm somewhat ashamed at my lack of political knowledge at this stage in my life. I have a reasonable excuse... in that I have a ton of things going on in life right now. I've been trying to keep up with wife & baby, work, helping my grandfather, getting ready for the FACA reunion, managing "The Black Raspberries"... and... oh yeah, Christmas is next week! So as a result, I haven't been paying attention to this primary race with the normally attentiveness I like to give to it.
Of course, nothing can compare to all of the rallies, debates, presidential lectures I attended with my dad during my elementary years. By the time I was in 7th grade, I was quite a political nerd. At the age of 12 I had seen former president Gerald Ford address students at Clark University, attended a gubernatorial debate featuring former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, set up balloons for the Pat Robertson committee of Massachusetts for the 1988 presidential Republican nomination, and even held road signs for my fathers own bid for the 17th state congressional district of Worcester. At 12 years old, I was able to debate with adults on issues of foreign affairs, abortion, taxes, and whether or not a state or the federal government should provide funds for education. Politics was one of the passions of my young life.
Then again... I was spoon fed most of my ideas. The 12 year old brain is not quite ready to make decisions of a critical nature and I was no exception. I was also very arrogant in my stance on issues, as I assumed that the ideas I was being fed were absolute truths. The irony is that now, 17 years later, I would crush the former me in a debate on issues of politics and policy.... (maybe I'm still a little arrogant, but at least able to analyze my own motives).
So despite the fact that I disagree with that little nerd from 1990... I'm grateful for the experiences that I had. My father (whether he intended to or not) involved me in what he was passionate about... baseball and politics. One of the tricks I learned in youth ministry is that you don't need an awesome day at the amusement park to connect with kids (or young adults)... you just need to ask them to be involved (with you) in something your passionate about. Your enthusiasm for fishing, race cars, computers, music, baseball or politics my spark something inside a young person that can stay with them for the rest of their lives.
And in a way, that's why I'm a little saddened (or ashamed) at my lack of attentiveness to the current round of politics. I haven't watched one debate, much of the news, or even one episode of "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert (one of my favorites because he could be a football announcer but choose to follow politics). I have a built in passion for debating and politics and I kinda miss it in my life. I'll do my best to catch up over the next couple of weeks as we get ready for the primary season (which begins early this time around). I'd better!!!.. I want to make sure that the 12 year old me doesn't corner me on issues of immigration reform.
If you need to catch up... here is an article I recently read.