By: Becky W 

     The values that the Democratic Party represents were strongly held by my parents. They grew up during the Great Depression in Clark County.

     My mother’s family, especially, suffered during that time. One of eight children, she witnessed first-hand as her father, an unskilled laborer, went from one temporary job to another in order to feed his large family. She marveled at how her mother could turn a few meager food items into a meal big enough to feed an army. As a young child, my mother always wore hand-me-downs. The family lived in a rented, drafty old farm house where a pot-bellied stove was the only source of heat. Bricks were laid on the stove during the winter, then wrapped in cloth to be placed at the end of the children’s beds at night for warmth. In the morning, the ice that had formed in the wash basins would have to be broken in order to wash up for the day.

     My father’s family lived in the city and were a bit more well off, but he quit school in the 9th grade in order to get a job to help out. Throughout his life he always lived in fear of not having a job. 

     Both Mom and Dad were in awe of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and how he implemented programs to give people jobs and fought to end the Depression. Then came World War II, which was even more terrifying than the Depression had been. 

     By then my parents had a young daughter and my mother was petrified that my father would be drafted to go overseas. As luck would mercifully have it, my father’s poor eyesight kept him from being drafted. However, my mother had two younger brothers who were both drafted and served in the war’s Pacific Theater. Every day Mom and Dad would read the newspaper’s list of local men killed in the war and most of the time the list included someone they knew. Springfield would regularly have blackout drills, and my parents and sister were once in a movie theater in downtown Springfield when one took place. The memory of suddenly being thrown into pitch blackness, with sirens wailing and my sister sobbing in fear, stayed with them forever. 

     But once again FDR became a pillar of strength and comfort during those dark years. When he  addressed the nation, Americans would gather by their radios to hear his honest but comforting messages. He fostered unity and positive action among U.S. citizens. Knowing that they were in his dependable hands gave them the strength and courage to go on. 

My brother and I were born years after these events had taken place, but my folks made sure to tell us their reminiscences over and over—not only to help us appreciate the past, but to realize that FDR’s Democratic Party truly cared for the common American people—not just the 1%. That is why I have voted Democrat my entire adult life.