My dad was a John Wayne Republican. He served in World War II. The only thing he loved more than his dogs and football was time spent as a boxer in the Navy, and it made him proud to say his nose was broken three times because of that fact. He watched golf whenever it was on and supported the military, firemen, and especially the police.
He mocked my liberal arts education with an Archie Bunkeresque routine that was not a routine at all. He was more Archie Bunker than Archie. He made stupid, insensitive, imprudent comments I’ve been dumb enough to repeat, because to write that he was politically incorrect does not begin to cover it. All The Lily Whites In This Country Are Going To Drive Us To The Poorhouse – his Mantra hurled at me and the television whenever I drove home to visit.
He read Newsday and watched News 12, complained about taxes and crime, especially crime, was from Sheepshead Bay, and got kicked out of his Catholic prep school for fighting. He would graduate from Saint John’s University thanks to financial assistance afforded in part by the GI Bill. Did you read that last part? He played football for Saint John’s University in Queens, New York. He owned a gun cabinet with lots of rifles in it. He loved everything about Texas. This was not the person you’d have asked to speak at your sensitivity training workshop or invited to the ballet.
And if he had witnessed the mob descending on our Capitol, dragging police officers into the crowd and desecrating the halls, it would have repulsed him. Destroyed him. Had he seen that blond threatening Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez through a locked door, it would have enraged him beyond all things, not that he would have aligned himself with her politics; that’s not the point. My die-hard American veteran father would have distanced himself from the rhetoric of Republicans long before the insurrection.
Keeping fossil fuel monies out of politics, bodily autonomy, abortion rights, healthcare, social security, safe and reasonable gun laws, background checks, assuring LGBTQ rights and quality of life, voting rights, immigration reform, improving our standing in the world- it’s all on the table right now. And all we have to do is vote. Please, please vote.