27 January 2007

Kennedy Toppers

My freshman year in college at Rutgers I lived in a dormitory that had a broad spectrum of students, many unlike people I had ever met before. Among these were two chubby young guys who seemed inseparable and who always wore suits and ties. No sooner did they get there than they enrolled in the Young Conservatives. (I don't know if there was a Young Log Cabin Republicans Club there)

When Kennedy, at an earlier Democratic National Convention, had broken with tradition and campaigned actively for the Vice-Presidential nomination, I was working in my uncle's lab at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, as a lab factotum and bottle washer. I listened to the convention on the radio in rapt attention whenever I could.

So when Kennedy was running for the presidency in a later election, I was inspired to join his supporters and, informed by the Conservative gold dust twins' example, I looked for a Young Democrats Club on campus.

I look back fondly to those days, especially raising money for the campaign by selling Kennedy Toppers, the straw boaters such as pictured above, which were a vibrant symbol of this youthful campaign.

Years later I worked actively in the campaigns of Vance Hartke and Birch Bayh, both for the Senate from Indiana as well as the early campaign of Frank McCloskey for Mayor of Bloomington, Indiana, before he ran successfully to become a member of the US House.

Later, I worked in the US Government for 30 years and was prevented from working for my candidates actively by the Hatch Act. The Bush Administration has perniciously rendered the Hatch Act meaningless by so politicizing the bureaucracy that the Hatch Act should be scrapped immediately!

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