His politics aren't mine, but his commitment to his cause makes me proud.
Growing up, I was the poet and my younger brother was the politico. I put on plays and entered writing contests, while he watched C-SPAN and organized his friends into cabinet positions. If you shared your video games with him, then he might make you secretary of Defense someday. Insult him, and you could forget about being secretary of State. Despite our differences, and a dose of sibling rivalry, we were close.
These days, we're still close. In fact, we live within 15 minutes of each other. But, politically speaking, that's another story. I'm a registered Democrat – not the kind who carries a "Democrats for McCain" sign – and he's a devoted Republican.
Long before he could vote, my brother was manning phone banks and talking up his candidates, trying to learn as much about campaigns as he could. My dad even took him on a weekend road trip before the Arizona primary in 2000 to help with the McCain primary campaign. I stayed home with Mom so I could rehearse for whatever musical I was doing at the time.
I'm still writing and he's still campaigning. He spent his summer at McCain's Washington campaign headquarters, and now, as a college senior, he spends as many weekends as he can jetting off to campaign events.
I've always been proud of him, but I've never agreed with his political views. After several heated debates about abortion and economic policy, we've just agreed to disagree. Since politics are such an important part of his life, I try to respect his views. I don't crack jokes about Sarah Palin or attend Obama rallies or post political rants on my blog. Our phone chats center on movies, friends, or family.
Though policy discussions are offlimits, I admit to feeling a surge of pride when he called from the convention to tell me he'd worked on a speech for the first lady. Or when he talked about riding in the Straight Talk Express with people I've only read about.