Carol Andrews: My Political Mentor

“Take care of Number One. Nobody’s going to do it for you.”

“You need to know a lot of people. Make friends everywhere you go.”

Sam and Carol Andrews (with Trixie lurking at bottom)

These were prime pieces of advice from Dad. I heard them most every day until he died. On the first, I haven’t always done so well. On the second, I’ve been fortunate, mostly because of a career in politics.

Dad was political. He was bipartisan. He taught my three brothers and me to be bipartisan, though we haven’t stayed that way. They went fairly right; I veered left.

My first political campaign was working the polls on Election Day for one of Dad’s candidates, a Democrat. I handed out matchbooks with the candidate’s name on it. I was very young. The candidate was the beloved incumbent state senator from Lebanon, Tennessee, Bill Baird. He won.

A farmer and a World War II veteran who was passionate about politics – not for their blood sport but for their good – Dad believed that everybody should damned well exercise the privilege of participating in the process, whether their views were left, right, center, up or down, or they should just get the hell out of the way. He was right.

Twenty-six years have passed since Dad left this Earth. He wouldn’t get it that fewer people exercise this privilege or why people wouldn’t want to be political. 

I don’t get it either, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

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