Growing up in the mostly farming village of Hilton, NY, our household was always one where the political issues of the day were front and center. My father (Tom, a teacher) and mother (Marie, a homemaker) followed the issues of the day closely though they didn't always agree. They inculcated in their five sons an interest in American history and politics and current events. We gathered around the television to watch to the national political conventions like some families watch the Super Bowl. We made our way into the big town (Rochester?) to see any national candidate who came through, even if we didn't like him. (Nixon comes to mind). We volunteered to work for the candidates of our choice as far back as when we were in junior high school. I think our political activism stems from those early experiences.

I probably have my older brothers Steve and Andy to thank for helping me find my voice in politics, such as it is. By the time I entered high school Steve was president of the Student Council (an honor later bestowed on my younger brother Tom) and Andy was his right hand operative. Steve appointed me to represent to student body at the School Board meetings. On Tuesdays I would lash my briefcase to my shiny Schwinn and head off for the board meeting. The adults were most courteous and indulgent of me and I learned a great deal from them. A few years later as a freshman at Emerson College I was elected class president largely because of the skills I picked up in high school. Though I lacked maturity and rarely went to class, eventually I graduated from SUNY at Purchase and acheived honors on my senior thesis.

Over time I have made it a point to work for candidates and causes that are important to me. Though I register as a Democrat, it's an uneasy marriage. I've cheated with Republicans now and then, usually in out-of-the-way local contests. It may have felt good at the time but left me feeling tawdry, cheap and taken advantage of. Still the D's rarely seem adequately committed to our shared best interests as I see them.

The causes that are important to me include economic justice for all permutations of sex, race, religion and nationality; fair treatment of those in prison; high quality, affordable health care for all; less regulation of personal choices: sex, reproductive rights, marriage rights, etc.; more regulation of those who threaten our common global environment, our economic well-being and our American birthright as put forth in our Constitution.
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Along with many others I have been outraged by the mass killings in Newtown, CT, Oak Creek, WI and Aurora, CO that took place in 2012. Setting aside the issue of whether the time has come to repeal the Second Amendment, clearly the time has come for sensible gun control enforcement. If only our law-making class was not under the thumb (or muzzle) of the NRA, the Gun Owners of America and others who are willing to trade whatever kicks they get from a little target practice for the rights of the rest of us to go to a movie or a house of worship or to send our children to first grade without fear of a mass killing. Intentionally or not they have become terrorists and, as with all terrorists, they should not be tolerated.
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(My personal response to the Newtown killings)