Friday, August 15, 2008
IN MY OPINION (Column)
Reporting on the 2008 Election: Ready, Set, Go!
By TED RUHIG
An important presidential election is coming up this November, and I plan to share my observations about the campaign over the next few months. In preparation for my campaign reporting role, I would like to present to you, my readers, my reporting credentials so youíll know where Iím ďcoming from,Ē as the saying goes.
I am a 91-year-old Chicago native. Receiving bachelorís degrees in both psychology and chemistry at the Illinois Institute of Technology, I served in World War II as a chemist.
I married the love of my life, Nan, while stationed in Mississippi. After the war, I returned to Chicago with my new bride. While working full-time, I went back to school, receiving a masterís degree from the University of Chicago in adult education thanks to a Ford Foundation fellowship.
Nan and I produced three children - two daughters and a son. We left Chicago for Hawaii, where I worked in the governorís office as Commissioner of Manpower. And then, finally, Nan and I settled in for the long haul in California, where we really felt at home. We lived in California for over 30 years.
For 62 years, Nan and I kept faith with each other, ending up in Ohio with our daughter when my Nanís health began to fail. She passed away some two years ago now, and I still miss her every day.
Politics is in my blood. Coming from Chicago, it is impossible to avoid politics! Nan and I bought our first TV back in the early 1950s so we could follow the campaign and watch the conventions of 1952!
I worked in local and national campaigns in Chicago and all the other places Iíve lived. In California, I got immersed in senior issues, and as I am fond of telling people, I will never get too old to fight for the rights of seniors.
It takes energy to stay engaged with the events of the day. As a young man, I was exposed to the Martha Graham modern dance technique. Under her influence, I helped to organize a Chicago dance council.
Since that time, I have followed a daily exercise routine that keeps me going. I walk for about 30 minutes each day, either outside or on a treadmill. I also do calisthenics for around 30 minutes each day using 5-pound barbells to keep my muscles strong.
Many people comment that I am more vigorous and athletic than many people much younger than me.
I watch my diet, and I have an expression I use: ďIf itís good for me, I like it. If it is not good for me, I donít like it.Ē
This philosophy has kept me in relatively good health. I eat lots of fish, fresh fruit and vegetables. Once in a while, I snack on a bit of chocolate candy because - yes, in moderation - it is good for me.
I have given myself the nickname of ďBristlecone.Ē The bristlecone is a small prickly pine tree that lives in isolated areas on mountainsides in parts of the western U.S. Though buffeted and twisted by the wind, this tree is thought to reach an age greater than any other single living organism.
I identify with this tree. Maybe Iím not the oldest human being, but I intend to keep striving to reach my goal of 100 years. I will continue to send out new shoots (which in my case are prickly words).
Today, I am getting geared up for the election of 2008. I read a lot and watch the news. I am concerned that many of the voters today donít have a clue about whatís going on in our country or how Congress and the presidency work.
Who has power in the House, Senate and White House? What kind of agendas are our elected representatives supporting? What are the presidential candidates saying about the issues of the day? What is their agenda for seniors?
Because I have good health and the energy that goes with it, I look forward to sharing my observations with you in answer to these questions, as well as other issues in my Spectrum column. And perhaps, just maybe, Iíll share a poem or two ... as befits my role as poet laureate of the California Senior Legislature.
Let the 2008 election season begin!
ó Capitol News Service