OK, Missouri, show me
October 12, 2008
Politics has wonderful way of alienating one’s entire family. Case in point: my family.

We can talk about the kids, we can talk about the weather, but then we run out of things to talk about because we can’t talk about anything that would remotely suggest politics, State of the Union, state of my pocket book, my retirement, my mother’s financial situation, it would all end up badly.

My father was a Missourian. He used to say “I’m from the Show Me State.”

I used to laugh my head off until he’d prove his point. He’d say he would “show me” the road if my grades didn’t get any better, or “I’ll show you who the head of this household is;” so, as an adult, I can see where he was coming from.

My father trusted everyone until they proved different, but I think he wanted to prepare his daughters to be little more discerning when it came to people. And believe I am.

My father is gone now but I can still hear his convictions as they linger in the whispering fall wind. I go with the gut, I watch and listen and feel. Most of what I know today about morals and high certitude is from my Missouri family.

My father said you’re considered a “Missourian” if you were born with Missouri dirt between your toes and ride the fence, and to do that you need to have dug in and be vested in that state. So, when I look at the numbers from the political polls that are giving McCain the lead, I’m wondering if pollsters are polling folks that will vote in November and inside of two years will move to another state.

Missourians ride the fence until the last second. In all my years as a "summer" Missourian I never met a more upstage kind of people, downright honest, fair and folks who would have given the shirt off their backs to any man in need, black or white, and I say this because I saw it with my own eyes; it was a “show me” minute.

Missourians don’t talk about it; they ride that fence until it hurts, watching, and waiting. You might think I’m just talk, but I am experienced talk. Granted, I’m not there anymore to speak to the current situation, but I know Missourians. Oh, I go back now and again, just to check great grandfather's headstone to see if that fella with the red pickup has run over it again; I hate to see my people run over. They paid their dues.

My grandmother used to tell me of one of my ancestors volunteering for the Confederates during the great Civil War, only because he was convinced by some Tennessee relation that they’d have that war won inside a month. When that didn’t happen, my kin jumped the fence and volunteered for the Union.

They say he got chicken pox and came home, but that was OK for it was the defining moment for all.. “ride that fence until you know which side was gonna win.”

As I became a legitimate voter my grandmother would take that comment a bit farther. She would say, “You ride that fence until you knew which side took the moral high ground, then you can swing on over”.

The Gasconade River runs close to my family's sacred ground, and my kin would remind us that “it don’t run straight but it runs sure,” and I take that as the sort of people we are; might take us some meandering, but we’ll get there.

I do hope that Missouri looks seriously into its roots to find that strength to vote this year for the man that can do right by the people. Forget his color. It has nothing to do with nothing. Forget the TV. Forget the papers. Go with your gut.

It’s getting dirty as words from the right or left wing, (whatever that means) piles up more regrets to deal with down the road.

Missourians, you need to get on up on that fence, close your eyes and listen to the difference in the tone and hope for your kids and their kids. Look down that ole dusty road near Hazel Green and remember where you came from. Put Barack Obama into the Presidency and say, “OK, son, I’m from the Show Me State. SHOW ME!”

Commentary by K. Dimon
Lebanon, OR

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