I really do. We have always disagreed politically. When I was a wild eyed college student(not a generalization, I was infact wildeyed) I made Michael Moore look like Bob Dornan. Dad was all about “If you don’t like this country leave it!”. We butted heads because I was…well…wild eyed. Now, here we are some 30 years later. I’m no longer a wild eyed college student. Now, some would say, I make Bob Dornan look like Michael Moore. Dad, on the other hand, has told me that Ted Kennedy and his buddies are the only thing keeping America from falling into anarchy.
In 1987 things were different. We were mildly concerned with the Red Menace(for those of you in your 20’s that’s the former Soviet Union) and their ongoing activities around the world. Abortion was the social topic d’jour with environmental issues coming a close second. We didn’t have to worry about barbarians flying planes into building or having our heads lopped off because we happened to be Americans. Dad and I could have these political conversations and even though they got heated, neither of us thought the other was part of a grand scheme to destroy the country. Tonight’s phone call was alittle different.
It started out with a little chat about the goings on in Frankfort where our ambitious Attorney General started a witchhunt about the hiring practices of the Governor’s office. This particular witchhunt has turned up some witches and a senior Cabinet official has been indicted and now faces 25 years. There are now rumors flying around Capital City of pardons, the AG announces press events and the mysteriously cancels them, and men are hovering in dark corners of the Capital plotting their next moves. I can’t remember exactly how we got started talking about the National political scene…I probably lobbed a grenade as I have been known to do.
Dad’s take is that President Bush is truely evil. That he knew and probably planned the 9/11 attacks so he could consolidate power. That he is single handedly responsible for the prices of gasoline. All Republicans are nasty greedy b@stards…I’m not sure if I fit into that category or not. 😉
The thing that really bothers me about Dad’s thoughts on the President and the country isn’t that he thinks that way. He can be a bit contrary and I’m certain would argue over the color of the sky if the mood struck him. He’s also been an anti-government type. Not a militia nut, just very cynical and skeptical of anything that comes from Frankfort or Washington. My guess is this comes from growing up in the hill country where hatred of “revenuers” runs strong to this day. Anyway, the thing that bothers me about his feelings about this particular President is the way he expresses it. It’s all just talking points. He can’t back anything up with ANY evidence. Bush had prior knowledge of 9/11? How? and he says, “Everyone knows that’s a fact!”. No…everyone DOESN”T know that or else we would have riots in the streets of New York and real people getting really dead. The thing that bothers me about this is the fact that he only watches one station for news. It’s been the case for as long as I lived under his roof and even now, lo those 20 years later. He watches CBS news.
My Dad isn’t an ignorant man by a long LONG stretch. He isn’t highly educated in the Ivory Towers of Academia but he is highly educated in the ways of the world. He’s truely a brilliant man. He has that rare brand of intellect that can only be found in folks that have lived their lives, fed their families, and run their businesses from the blood, sweat, and tears of honest labor. So the question is, how can a man like this come to sincerely believe such nonsense?
Several times tonight Dad asked me if I wanted to see the “working man” in America taken care of. Of course I do. Dad apparently wants to see the CEOs of American businesses take substantial, government forced, paycuts so that money can be used to help the “working man”. I have never got him to tell me just how that money is to be used to “help” the “working man”. We start talking about examples of which there are plenty here in Kentucky. Fruit of the Loom closed in south central Kentucky and the region STILL hasn’t recovered. Dad blames government for letting that happen. He says the lives that were destroyed there falls squarely on the backs of the government…the FEDERAL government. I tend to think those lives could have been repaired if they CHOSE to move to where the jobs were. Life is about choices. Putting food on the table and keeping the roof over head is about choices. If you CHOOSE to put your fate in the hands of a single company and the task they offer you then you have to accept the fact that you are bound to the business decisions made by those who run the company. If they choose to end the task you are doing then you are out of a job. There is no one to blame there. That’s business. What I tried to tell me Dad is that the answer to the problem is teaching people to fish for themselves. Give them SKILLS they could use ANYWHERE….even in business for themselves.
So…cutting to the chase here. My Dad believes a pack of lies that apparently “everyone” believes but me…and the rest of the country. We have these chats about twice a month. An hour and half later on the phone and we both agree to disagree, remind each other that we love each other, and hang up. Then I’m left wondering if he thinks I’m as evil as the President that I think will go down as one of the best of the Century.
I have to wonder if this same kind of conversation took place in the days leading up to the Civil War. Father and Son bitterly divided on the issue(s) of the War. Love him dearly. But I just can’t agree with him politically.