On "Good Morning America" today you saw former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr. discussing the controversy surrounding a decision to build an Islamic center and mosque near the site of the World Trade Center terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In his book, "More Davids Than Goliaths: A Political Education," Ford writes about politics in America.
Read an excerpt of the book below and then head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.
This is Harold Ford, Jr., and I'm campaigning for my daddy for Congress. If you want a better house to live in, better schools to go to, and lower cookie prices, vote for my daddy." I made my first political ad when I was four years old. It was 1974, and my father was running for Congress. My mom propped me up on a brown folding table at the back of my dad's campaign headquarters and I spoke into a microphone attached to a cassette recorder.
I did it in one take.
Politics was ingrained in me early. It was part of me in the best of ways. For my entire life, I've met and heard people, especially other politicians, talk about how they started early in politics by handing out leaflets, brochures, and so on. My start in politics was equally honest -- a commercial for my dad on his first congressional campaign. In a lot of ways, politics was -- and remains -- a part of my genetic makeup, and, for that matter, so was my party identification. I learned to be a Democrat the old-fashioned way: I was told that I was going to be one by my father and mother.
The campaign headquarters was a comfortable setting for me. I was there almost every day. My folks would pick me up at preschool and take me to the headquarters, where I delighted in the hustle and bustle and the steady inrush and outrush of staff and volunteers. For as long as I can remember, I've loved being around people.
As a kid, I always felt comfortable around adults. I didn't necessarily prefer adults over my peers, but sitting with, listening to, and talking in front of adults never really bothered me or made me nervous. I wasn't overconfident or anything like that. But I wasn't lacking confidence—I get that from both my mom and my dad. Nor was I different from other kids my age in that I enjoyed and played sports. It was more that I wanted to be a part of the conversation—I wanted to help in any way I could. I felt a particular but unarticulated closeness to the politics surrounding me—perhaps because it was my family involved and my dad's name on the ballot.
A few days after I made the ad, I heard it on the radio. I was sitting between my parents in the car. My mother smiled. My father grinned. I remember, at a precocious moment, thinking at the time, "I enjoy talking, and I really enjoy talking about campaigning." Although I didn't appreciate what exactly my dad was going to do to get people better homes and kids better schools, I knew he was going to try.