That's My Issue: The Soapbox

Friday, August 24, 2012

Somewhere in the boxes of family photos that document all kinds of questionable childhood decisions (the perm in eighth grade, the Little House on the Prairie dress I wore to school once) is a photo of my first wrong call in politics. It was fourth grade, and my class was hosting a mock election in the shadow of the Reagan-Carter contest. My friend Kelly was going to be playing Reagan; I am not quite sure how I wound up as Carter.   

 The photo is of me dressed in a beige corduroy suit, with a straw "Carter for President" boater hat. Not visible is the speech my mom and I had written; my contributions were probably along the lines of "take care of the planet" and "equal pay for equal work" (these are a concepts that even a grade-schooler can understand).

My mom put in something about SALT II. When it came time to deliver our speeches, I learned that I had gravely misunderstood the assignment: Kelly's speech promised longer recess and tastier desserts in the cafeteria. Or the election was a more accurate representation of that election than the teacher could have hoped.

 I lost, Carter lost, and as far as I know, the promise of a longer recess remained unfulfilled, but however much the experience scarred me, here I am: earning a living perched on a soapbox, trying to talk SALT II in a more-recess world.

 It's A Free Country is partnering with The Guardian to gathering stories of how you came to care about the issue that matters the most to you.


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