Labor Day

Our children are aware of our politics and live them with us, but we try not to drag them to too many political activities on things that they don’t relate to. In fact, we are much more likely to be at a soccer game than a teach-in. Today, however, we didn’t offer them the option of not attending the Rally for Health Care Reform on Boston Common. They get most of the health care they need, but, without a lot of input from us, they seem to know that isn’t true for everyone.

It was a beautiful day and a well-attended rally. We saw many friends, although there weren’t a lot of children that the kids knew on the Common. I went downtown on my bike, so it took me a while to connect with Ellen and the kids. My phone rang and, by coincidence, I saw Connie about 100 feet away, talking on Liz’s phone at just the instant that I answered. She gave Liz the phone and ran through the crowd to me, reminding me of just how good she can make me feel.

They listened to some of the speakers, and I’m quite sure they knew what happened when our Representative, Steven Lynch, got shouted off the stage by a crowd angry at his lack of support for a public health care option.

I think Vince, in particular, was hoping that we would flee when the rally began to march to Copley Square, but no such luck. We decided to walk the talk on this beautiful day. As the march formed, we ran into another family with two children from the Hernández School, the school both K & C attended last year. That seemed to calm any resistance to the march that might have been building.

Vince walked my bicycle for most of the way across the Common and down Boylston St.. He spent more time gawking at the stores (especially the giant new Apple store) than engaging with other marchers. That’s cool. He was definitely there in his way.

Connie carried a bilingual sign all the way and did a lot of chanting. Unlike many people there, she could understand the Spanish chants and was very proud of her ability to join in at the top of her voice.

We walked into a Copley Square full of the crowd’s energy. Connie asked what the African-American woman meant when she shouted at some people to, “Come off of the stairs and into the streets!” The Parent Imperfect (PI) didn’t take the time to give much of an explanation.

The kids were by now really ready to move on. What kept their attention for a few minutes was the marching band that had made Boylston St. sway, and was now leading a few hundred dancing health care advocates around the square.

“When they teach you to play the tuba at Latin, you can be part of a band like this one,” I joked with Vince.

“BUT I’M NOT GOING TO PLAY THE TUBA,” he shouted back over the perfect marching tune, the title of which the PI can’t remember.

The jig was up. More good music and speakers were to come, but we had reached the limits of familial harmony. For once, we had that timing right. We headed off in the general direction of the Prudential Center in search of a response to childhood hunger. Lest anyone think we are politically correct, we ended up in the food court at the Pru. We could help reform our own health by staying away from such places.


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