I learned democracy in Brooklyn but lived it in Iowa.
My Spanish immigrant father, in the 1950s, walked the streets of Flatbush as if he owned them — his Desi Arnez accent stood out amidst second- and third-generations of Irish and Italians. Our Jewish neighbors were less known by him but greatly influenced his children.
On voting day, he donned a fedora, suit, tie, and gloves to shepherd his children and wife to a public school where he cast his vote, all the while pontificating about why working people never voted for Republicans and how only in America was speech truly free. Further, that there were no fascists here, now — not like Franco’s Spain, his birthright.