by Dale Jones
The year was January 1975. I remember it like it was yesterday.
We were well into the second season of the show that every kid watched in the mid-’70s, “Happy Days.”
You men in your late 40s and early 50s remember that show well. Most of you at one time in your childhood, on Halloween, dressed up as the Fonz, or maybe you sported a “Happy Days” lunch box. But you remember.
Second only to “The Andy Griffith Show,” this was our greatest sitcom in history.
For those of you who may be completely oblivious to what I am talking about, “Happy Days” was set in the 1950s and centered around the life of the Cunningham family: Howard, Marion, Richie and Joanie.
Even though I was only 9 years old, I remember episode 15 from that season as if I just watched it yesterday.
This storyline focused on the 1956 presidential election between incumbent President Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, and his Democratic opponent Adlai Stevenson, who had served as governor for the state of Illinois, and who had lost to Eisenhower in the 1952 election. Howard Cunningham was livid that his son Richie had turned against family tradition, and decided to campaign for Adlai Stephenson.
At one point in the show Howard tells Richie that he has always been a Republican, as was his father and his grandfather. It was one of the few times in the show where this popular father and son duo got into a very intense argument.
Richie had decided he was old enough to make his own decisions, and Howard was furious, simply because his son was going against what had always been the party of choice in the Cunningham household.
There was one exchange during the episode that I thought was classic. Richie had made Howard so upset by his decision, Marion, his mom, tells him he should apologize to his father. Then little sister Joanie breaks the ice.
Richie: I know I’m right. Why should I have to apologize?
Marion: Because He’s your father.
Joanie: Right or wrong, I always apologize. It keeps my allowance coming in.
So where am I going with all of this?
Here we are in the middle of a very important election year, and I, as one who loves politics, have watched and listened to all of the candidates very carefully – and I am disturbed.
Despite which side of the fence you are on, just listen to the candidates. It appears that, more than ever before, there is an overwhelming desire by every candidate to take care of their party before they take care of our country.
What if, rather than voting a straight ticket, we voted for individuals? What if, rather than voting based on how our fathers or grandfathers voted, we voted based on who was the best candidate for the job?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling anybody who to vote for. That is your decision.
I firmly believe, however, that as long as Americans continue to vote with party allegiance as our first priority, we likely will not see things change for the better anytime soon.
Personally, I long for the day when the men and women who we vote into office, go and serve based on what is best for our country, not based on what is best for their party.
Those will be “Happy