A Few Small Tokens and Buttons by
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My association with buttons, pins, etc. is thin.  It starts with my memory of my father’s Stevenson button, then my Gene McCarthy button, and finally my “I Voted” sticker today.

I describe a few buttons and tokens from my past, and today’s sticker, “I Voted”.

As a boy, I remember my father’s Adlai Stevenson button.  Dad was an engineer at Boeing in 1956 and Eisenhower was running for reelection against Stevenson.  I asked if he thought Stevenson would win, and he said it was unlikely.  I imagine that he was one of the few engineers at Boeing that voted for Stevenson.  Many years later, when I worked for Lockheed, I could understand how engineers vote, especially since I was at Lockheed when both of the GHW and GW Bush ran for president.

In 1968, I was a freshman in college.  With the Vietnam War at its peak, and no credible candidate running against Johnson to oppose the war, Eugene McCarthy stepped up to the challenge.  Even Robert Kennedy refused to run.  McCarthy’s victory in the New Hampshire primary ignited many people’s involvement in politics, including mine.  While I was too young to vote (18), I started campaigning for McCarthy.  Buttons, posters, etc.  California’s primary election night  was a disaster for America.  Robert Kennedy, who had belated entered the race, won, then got assassinated.  Hubert Humphrey finally ended up with the nomination, even though he did not run in any primary elections.  I did a little for George McGovern in 1972 (another loss).

In 1970, I decided to do some volunteer work for some local candidates for congressional offices.  I could not vote for them in the primary election since I was only 20, but I turned 21 by the general election and could finally vote.  It was another disappointing loss.  After that, I limited myself to local politics with the exception of McGovern in 1972.  As a side note, if proposition 18 on this year’s California ballot passes, I could have voted in both the primary and general election of 1970.

In the years past 1970, I have done work for local candidates and issues.  The candidates I have worked for, I have known personally.  For issues, they have been matters I have felt important to me such as nuclear power safety.

The other buttons in my collection are from various organizations that I have done work for their efforts.  Included are the American Cancer Society, Kiwanis, youth sports, Toastmasters, etc.

Finally, these are the two latest buttons that are important to me.  I received “The President’s Volunteer Service Award”. Fortunately, it was from President Obama.  The other one I will receive today, “I Voted”.  I hope it helps retire  the current resident in the White House, a man that does not respect people, has no understanding of public health or economics and despises the US Constitution.  Hopefully, happy days are ahead.


Profile photo of Joe Lowry Joe Lowry
I was a child that moved so often, (8 elementary/middle schools) and finally went to to high school in Arroyo Grande California. I ended up at San Jose State University graduating in Chemistry, minor in Biology. Got married, and had two sons. Unfortunately, my wife passed 35 years later. I worked initially in the pharmaceutical industry. After being down-sized, I ended up in the aerospace field, working on satellites. I still live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tags: Buttons Tokens McCarthy
Characterizations: been there, moving, right on!


  1. Mister Ed says:

    Nice story, Joe. Lots of electoral disappointment over the years — although one of those disappointments (George W) was less electoral and more Supreme Court theft. I’m hoping fervently they don’t steal another under dubious rationale.

  2. Good story, Joe…and I’m happy to see you put up a photo on your bio. You’ve done so much good work for candidates and issues you believe in — bravo!

  3. Suzy says:

    Thanks for the story, Joe. Glad you campaigned for McCarthy. Good idea to focus on local issues and candidates you know personally – hope you have had better success there. And congrats on the President’s Award! That’s impressive. We have a Volunteering prompt coming up, so you can write about what you did to earn that award.

  4. Marian says:

    Great recap, Joe, very parallel to my experience. Really like the Santa Clara county “I voted” button and wish I could have one. Our votes are now in and all we can do is wait.

  5. Betsy Pfau says:

    My first electoral memory is also Adlai Stevenson. I am just a bit younger than you, but my mother was an FDR Democrat (until dementia robbed her of her reasoning and she voted for McCain in her final election). My brother (5 years my elder) and i staged our own election, with ballots from all 48 states. Stevenson won in my bedroom.

    You have done a lot of great work; congratulations on receiving the “President’s Volunteer Service Award” from Obama!

    And now, more than a week later, we know that Biden won, even if the current White House occupant refuses to believe it, or allow for an orderly transition. What next?

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