Mother made national news years ago when she took issue with the county judge, a Democrat, meeting with him in his office to demand that campaign signs for Democrats be removed from the courthouse lawn. The law was clear that these signs were not allowed within a certain distance of the building. The judge argued but, soon, acquiesced and my mother was declared the victor. Shes always spoken her mind.
Our house was political. Hosting receptions for gubernatorial candidates, Mother would introduce them to local business owners. She organized teams to call registered Republicans, urging them to vote. Back then, this effort hardly made a dent.
Even we children were summoned to dutyhanding out brochures. I remember when some anonymous caller phoned and wanted to know if the little Nazis would be out on the streets again with their propaganda.
My mother was born into a staunchly Republican household. Accepting her familys views, she lived and breathed conservatism: I remember as a child, talking politics with Democrats, taking issue with their positions, she told me. I loved this debate.
Still, she admitted that even while local Chair, she examined the candidates and didnt always vote a straight Republican ticket.
We have to take care of our poor. The Republican Party cuts taxes for the wealthy and either under-funds or eliminates government organizations that help the poor and middle class. Also, the Civil Rights Movement was a huge wakeup for me.
During the 2000 presidential campaign, Mother didnt think either candidate was solid (she thought Al Gore relinquished himself to his handlers) but she recognized Gores foreign policy expertise. Its not just Bushs lack of experience, she said. He cant pronounce countries or their leaders names. Actually, my mother and father thought Bush lacked the intelligence necessary for the task.
After 9/11 when Americans were thirsty for revenge, both of my parents were dismayed that the president continued to build a case against Iraq. My mother had just read Howard Zinns A Peoples History of the Unites States, a book she recommends to all who want to be knowledgeable about the roots of terrorism. Its her hope that Americans will engage in the reality of our tyrannical foreign policy. Our image was damaged before the presidency of George Bush, she says. But hes accomplished its destruction.
When people say they like Bush because hes tough, Mother lets them know that toughness and a disregard for truth are a dangerous combination. She tells them this war has created more and more young men and women who are eager to volunteer for suicide missions against Westerners.
Both of my parents are appalled by the corruption of this administration and that so many Americans continue to support a president who has no regard for our Constitution.
My mother believes that if Bush hadnt been handed the election by the Supreme Court and, instead, Al Gore had taken the oath of office as president, a country having no connection to that Tuesday in September would not be on the brink of civil war and our own society would not be so bitterly divided.
And Chase would be with us, living the life he loved, and joining us at family gatherings. His absence hits my mother in wave after wave of disbelief.