I'm not the only member of my family with strong political opinions. Since my dad is here and he has stuff to say, I thought I'd give him a chance to share his opinions with the world.
Hi Dad, most families shy away from political conversations at Thanksgiving, but we’re not most families. Let’s have a political discussion!
Were you a hippie?
Only according to you kids. Otherwise, no. According to my children who make fun of our wedding pictures…
What differentiates you from the hippies?
My hair wasn’t that long.
Did you do drugs?
What differentiated me from the hippies? Let me tell you. That meant conforming and I don’t conform to nothing. Did I have good friends who were hippies? Yes. Did I have a good friend in the SDS [Students for a Democratic Society]? Yes. Did I have a friend who warned me that his phones were tapped and I didn’t care? Yes.
You seem to have two political crackpot children [My youngest brother recently ran for Senate against Lamar Alexander]. Does that disappoint you?
Only that all three of you aren’t.
When did you first become politically aware?
I believe it was during the… when was Eisenhower running for president? When was that? ’52? I was in first or second grade and I was walking to school and two of my neighbor boys were safeties. They had corners and they were standing there yelling “Boo on Ike. Yay for Eisenhower.” And I knew they were idiots. That’s when I learned there were idiots in the world.
Were your parents political?
My dad was a Democratic precinct man for years. My mother was outstanding Republican woman of the year several times. But that did not stop them from voting. They didn’t believe they were cancelling each other’s vote out.
That’s why I don’t make your mother vote the way I vote [laughing].
You say that when I cuss in my Pith posts, I sound like your dad. Did your dad have a marvelous, girly voice?
He could talk in any voice. [laughs] You know he had a German ogre’s voice. But you know my dad would never put anything like that in writing. I tried to teach you kids not to put anything in writing you would be embarrassed about some day.
But did he have any good cuss words I haven’t been using? I try to use old-school ones like ‘poltroon’ sometimes.
I didn’t listen! Who listens to their dad? You kids never listened to me. Call Uncle Jim or Uncle Gordon and ask them.
So, you were telling me at dinner that you had some thoughts on the Syrian refugee crisis and the Irish and the Italians. Care to go over it again for Pith readers?
Yes. There was no great outcry in the Christian communities in America during the Troubles in Belfast in Northern Ireland about one of the sides not being Christian. But then we’re yelling because Muslims around the world aren’t raising a cry over everything that happens in the Muslim world.
We as Christians knew it wasn’t Christian behavior, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of the world did.
That was the Belfast point.
Do you really want to take on the Italians? My opinion on the Italians is that we need to deport them, because they brought the Mafia and, if that isn’t terrorism, what is?
But one of your oldest friends is Italian.
A lot of my friends are Italian. I like them. I’ll miss them.
[Laughs again.] Be sure to put a disclaimer at the bottom so they know your dad is going by the name ‘Lefty’ because I ain’t right.
So, you’ve always been something of a rabble rouser. Tell me about your college escapades with the student newspaper.
Being a relatively liberal college, because we had a Master’s of Social Work and people who are working with people tend to be more liberal, being a liberal college, our newspaper was getting lots of rants and raves on liberal issues, but lacking anything on the other side — we didn’t call them liberals and conservatives then. We called them John Birchers and communists — being trained in debate in high school (and learning that you don’t do what you’re trained to do or you’ll make the girls cry, which prepared me for marriage. I’ll tell you that story another day.) I created a case for each side.
Using one pseudonym for one side — I never used my name. I stole the moose head. I squirted the president with water. I stole the dummy they were trying to burn in effigy. I didn’t have credibility. But my pseudonyms did — and another for the other. It started people responding on both sides of the issue.
You lived in Chicago during all the unrest in the ‘60s. What kinds of things were you involved in?
I ducked a lot.
We went to protests which ended up getting me audited after I was married, because the auditor was a member of my church and told me this was a harassment audit, that someone had been taking names at the protests.
The advantage of being poor was that whatever penalty they could give you wasn’t much of a penalty. So, if you’re young and poor, that’s the time to get into demonstrations, if the FBI is still running around taking names and feeding them to the IRS.
Was Mom also politically active?
Well, she was the town drunk…
No, she wasn’t.
Was Otis on Andy Griffith politically active?
[Mom] I had a chance to be politically active because my friend Ralph was a member of the SDS.
[Dad] Ralph was the smartest man I ever knew, because he moved into the basement of the girls’ dorm.
[Mom] No, I was oblivious.
Mom, have you ever even had a drink in your whole life?
[Dad] Our first trip to her college was her showing me all her favorite bars. I had to dry her out.
No you didn’t!
[Dad] You’re supposed to be interviewing me. No one care about your mom’s drunken ramblings.
[Mom] I was not drunk!
[Dad] So you did that stuff sober?
[Mom] I did used to say that I had two years of my life I couldn’t tell you about or I’d have to kill you, but that was just to make me seem more interesting.
[Interview breaks down into bickering about things that happened fifty years ago.]
We all understand the need for tough security measures at our nation’s airports, but these policies must be rooted in logic and fact, not someone’s political agenda.With the threat of terrorism rising, you’d think Black could stop pandering to the NRA for just a little while and focus on larger issues than easing travel headaches for handgun carriers who’ve forgotten their driver’s licenses. How about trying to stop terrorists from buying guns in this country? Just a thought.
One in three Americans own a gun and there is no reason to make them feel like second class citizens when traveling. …
After seven years of hostility from this administration towards Americans who exercise their Second Amendment rights, passage of the TSA Act should be a simple, bipartisan step we can take to stop the government’s marginalization of gun-owners and alleviate confusion for millions of American travelers this holiday season.
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