-Galileo Galilei, philosopher, astronomer, mathematician and a seeker of truth, 1564-1643
I think the adage, that we become our parents, has a degree of truth in it. I don't mean we become them, not completely, but in a way that we end up seeing in ourselves something of them. In my case it is my father. When my dad retired he lived for a number of years in England and then Florida and I would go to see him quite often. It was a wonderful time, and I knew it then that it would not last forever, and I always cherished my time with him. We disagreed quite a lot about politics. It was the eighties and I was a strong supporter of Ronald Reagan and my dad was a decided Democrat. I was full of the conviction of youth and thought my dad wrong and too liberal. I saw his views as soft and opposed to principals of independence and self sufficiency. To say I was thinking like an elitist would probably best describe me. I belonged to the group that was on top, that is white, educated, employed and a Republican.
My dad was a man of the world who had fought in World War Two and served as a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy for six and a half years. He mostly served on Destroyers doing convoy duty in both the North Atlantic and early in the war in the Pacific, escaping from Singapore as the Japanese came in. He had lived through a horrendous time and those years defined his life. What I did not understand was that he was a compassionate and deeply moral individual and had a great sense of social responsibility.
I think that he must be looking down on me now and nodding his head in approval of my position on the issues of our day. Those issues are the poor, immigration, health care, the war, foreclosures, the banks, social injustices, the environment, climate change and political hypocrisy to name a few. I am sure he would approve of my criticism of Fox (make believe) News. He was an avid news junky, and he knew bullshit when he heard it.
He saw the world with a clarity that I had to acquire. It took me listening to Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and the likes of Bill O'Reilly to finally realize that they were blowing smoke up my ass. It is weird that when you really, I mean really listen to the words and compare it to what you know and understand about the world and the issues that really matter to people that it suddenly becomes clear. The Right Wing media and politicians are preaching a mantra of exclusivism and hate. No matter how you slice it, it is exclusivity and that is a philosophy that excludes a lot of members of society.
The Right Wing Republicans and Right Wing media do not embrace the Hispanic community, they don't embrace the gay community, they don't embrace people of color in their white tent, in fact none of these people are in the Right's White tent. They don't embrace women with their advocacy of anti-abortion, denying women the right to control their own bodies because of someone else's religious views. They don't embrace inclusion of ideas that might seem moderate. In fact they don't embrace Republican moderates or anyone who have doubts or questions their views. They don't embrace intellectual inquiry and they are if anything rabid anti-intellectual. It is only their Evangelical radical philosophy that is acceptable. Their heros are Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh; the defense rests. And the new darling of the soggy tea baggers Michele Bachmann (D-Min) who's compassion for the poor and working class is none existent. She gives hypocrisy a new meaning.
Yes, I think dad would approve. He would see that all those discussions and disagreements on political and social ideas were not in vain. He did effect my thinking with his sense of moral responsibility for our human family and it's importance. I think he would have embraced the Obama presidency as a chance for America to keep it's promise to all those who look to America as "the shining city upon the hill". Hey dad I voted for Obama, yes I really did and I'm glad.
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