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The Second Oldest Profession

Story ID:8314
Written by:Kathe M. Campbell (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Spokane Washington USA
Year:1964
Person:Ken and Kathe
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The Second Oldest Profession
by Kathe Campbell

I believe it was President Reagan who quipped... "Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."

So many Presidents have had a great and needful sense of humor, for as in all generations, our founding faith finds American values and our constitution constantly under assault.

This disturbs me greatly, for like most grandmothers, my thoughts tend to weigh heavily on family issues. Abortion stops a beating heart, and children should have two parents working hard at their marriage. Drugs are a crime, kids shouldn't kill kids, and drunk drivers leave me fuming.

Imagine a hot potato issue that befuddles a few duly elected weak sisters who can't decide who or what they stand for. But then politicians are the same everywhere. They promise to build bridges where there's no water. I have a million thoughts and memories in my duffle, but one in particular stands out.

My husband, Ken, and I were among the first to jump on the bandwagon of a brilliant and energetic young man as he announced his run for Governor of our state. As his eastern district co-chairmen, we had helped to successfully bring him through his nomination. No longer babes in the woods, we blossomed into seasoned campaigners, beginning each day with, "first we pray-then we work."

And the work was sometimes grueling. As chairman of (WOW), Women On The Warpath, I rarely saw our children. Cell phones were barely heard of, so phones were installed in our cars to keep abreast of the home front and each other. Occasionally the campaign trail became dirty business as we trounced on the mud-slingers and their grist for the gossip mill. It hardly paid for our candidate to have his family tree traced, for his opponent was trying his best to find something - anything. But we played the game astutely and wisely, keeping our powder dry, learning much, and having a ball.

As delegates to the National Convention in San Francisco, we pinned our hopes on our choice for president. It was the experience of a lifetime allowing all of our enthusiasm to unabashedly hang out with thousands of exuberant and cheering delegates. Yes, there were a few rowdy tipsters in the Cow Palace, but much of the assemblage packed the workshops for smart and stimulating ideas. Nothing pleased me more than when our Women On The Warpath league was snapped up by other states during roundtable events.

Back home again the weekends brought our candidate to celebrations, anniversaries, dedications and holidays with their parades, picnics, and high school marching bands. I followed the troops like a war-weary widow acquainting myself with the newest WOW gals. The media was captivated by the ladies all decked out in simple rope-waisted beige shifts, moccasins, and feathered headbands--an exuberant show of women participating in politics en masse. We brought the townsfolk out for a good look-see in every city and hamlet, and on television and front pages everywhere.

With the general election only two months off, Ken organized an enormous rally in the populous Tri-City area where he was born and raised. An authentic stern-wheeler river craft picked up our congressional delegation and gubernatorial candidate upstream on the Columbia River. They stopped at each community for handshakes and spiels while the local WOW gals saw to handouts, badges and bumper stickers. The final stops included the largest city with full frippery and fanfare designed for our good looking and popular front runner.

As the band played and hundreds of folks waited on the dock, a sudden squall caused the river boat to surge sideways and wrap around a bridge abutment. I had stayed behind with our children that day, feeling I needed to oversee the evening banquet and entertainment. Our son tore into the kitchen screaming, "Dad's boat is sinking, Mom, it's sinking in the river!" Panic stricken, we watched the news flash and sat glued to the television while they filmed the harrowing, but safe rescue of all aboard.

You'd think it was intentional the way our opponent's cohorts billed it as a shrewd and shameless way to monopolize air time and the front pages. But none of us could help thinking the good Lord had a hand intercepting near disaster that day. Despite all the hoopla and headlines, our candidate was not only a handsome and savvy rising political star, he was also an ordained Lutheran minister with God in his pocket.