I stood up to leave Consuelo’s, a Mexican restaurant in downtown Manchester, and turned around after zipping up my knee-length down coat and was surprised to see the cook standing in front of me with a smile on his face. Out of his pocket he pulled a pin that read “Hasta la vista, Donny!” and eagerly held it out to me. I looked down at the pin, confused as to why he was presenting it to me.
He said, “My friends made these buttons, here have it. I can’t wear it in the restaurant. But you should know I am a Hillary supporter. I just can’t tell anyone in here.” I was still confused about what the pin meant.
Suddenly I realized—Donny is short for Donald Trump. Still, I wondered how he knew I was not a Trump supporter-- I looked down to my jacket where a Hillary sticker was prominently located and laughed at my forgetfulness.
After I understood why he came up to me, we had a pleasant conversation about his restaurant and history. Consuelo’s is his life: he is a Mexican immigrant living out his vision of the American Dream. He represents the foundations of the American Dream, one that was founded by immigrants who sought a more prosperous life.
Like so many other New Hampshire residents, the owner of Consuelo’s was excited to talk politics. While getting your face slammed in the door or being hung-up on while phone banking discourages me from believing in the power of New Hampshire and in the power of the primary system, people like owner of Consuelo’s lead me to believe that my work is making a difference. There are citizens who care about the future of our country and wish to discuss it. We need more citizens like these to excite others and renew a vibrant political discourse in our nation. Without these exuberant citizens our nation will continue down the path of narrower political intelligence and civic engagement.
-Rose is a sophomore at St. Olaf College studying economics and political science. She is studying in New Hampshire during the month of January, interning at a political campaign and learning about the presidental nomination process.