Wednesday, February 03, 2016

My dad gave me a road map

Some parents show their kids how to live. That is loving and important. My dad showed me how NOT to live. That's a valuable lesson, too.

My dad was an autodidact with a passion for politics and history. That we share.

My father was also a committed Right Wing Nut Job. Of the old-school Goldwater variety. He thought pacifists were "chicken." That minorities wanted "too much, too soon." That the white male was the backbone of American Society, and no one appreciated him. This is, obviously, where we differ. I'm what the RWNJs would call "a libtard," a Kennedy Girl, an old-school, unreconstituted Liberal.

He loved arguing his point. Debating. Explaining why the person on the other end of the spectrum was just wrong. I don't enjoy debating these things. I like learning, yes. And digesting other points of view is vital and it be illuminating. But these issues are too important to me for me to treat them like sport.

And he did nothing to effect change. I never saw him phone his congressman or write a letter to the editor. He never even made campaign contributions, much less attend a rally or volunteer to leaflet.

Yelling at Walter Cronkite, making snide and disrespectful remarks about the opposition, turning the holiday dinner table into a tense debate stage ... none of these things makes a difference. None of these things makes anyone happy -- not the one spouting, nor his audience.

That is so not me. I try to walk it like I talk it. My dad never enjoyed the glorious moments I've had: balloon drops and storms of red, white and blue confetti. Seeing your candidate's face flash across the screen above the caption: THE WINNER IS. Knowing I played a part in making history.

So maybe his road map showing the path not to take me was his greatest gift to me.


  1. The other day I was talking about my own lack of community involvement over the past years. When I was in college, I was active in the community--volunteering, campaigning, organizing, participating. I need to rediscover that side of me.

  2. It sounds like you learned a lot from your dad both ways!


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