Friday, October 10, 2008

My Response to Oh, No You Didn't

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Granddaddy this week. He died twelve years ago and I still miss him terribly. I particularly miss him at election time. He taught me as a child that “we” were “Yellow Dog Democrats.” He explained to me that “we” would vote for an old stray yellow dog in the street before “we” would vote for a Republican. He would laugh every time he said it. It wasn’t until later that I realized that by “we,” he meant he and hopefully, me, once I was old enough to vote.

And once I was an adult, we did talk a lot about politics. And before anyone gets the idea that my Granddaddy was some sort of straight-ticket voting, closed-minded liberal, hold on a second, because he wasn’t. Despite his self-proclaimed Yellow Dog status, he occasionally voted for Republicans, mostly on the state or local level, every now and then for someone he knew personally. But basically, he was a Democrat and voted as such. He taught me to care about politics and that voting was a privilege and a right that he had taken a bullet for one sunny afternoon in Italy during World War II. He was fond of reminding me, “If that bullet had hit two more inches to the left, you wouldn’t have to worry about what you were going to wear tomorrow.”

He had a fabulously serious sense of humor and he passed that along to me. He was a good, honest, tolerant, decent, hard-working man who loved his country and cared about basic fairness. He wore an American Flag pin on his lapel until the day in 1996 when he died. He always drove a Chrysler, for which he paid cash. I stood at his bedside and held his hand as he took his last breaths with seventy-five-year-old lungs that had been overtaken by cancer. His crystal blue eyes had clouded over twelve hours before as he slipped into a coma. The last words I spoke to him were, “I love you” and his last words to me were, “I love you too, Babydoll. And don’t you forget everything I’ve tried to teach you.” I wish that I could have responded with “I won’t,” but my sobs closed my throat. He signaled he knew what I meant by squeezing my hand. It’s still hard for me that he is gone.

So, a lot has happened in my life in the last twelve years. I’ve become a mother of two wonderful children and I’ve set about the task of teaching them the important lessons my Granddaddy taught me. We talk about politics, social issues, the war, the economy—lots of serious stuff. And we talk about all of these things with a great deal of humor and sarcasm. My eleven-year-old son has gotten pretty good with understanding and coming back at me with a sense of humor. My eight-year-old daughter struggles a bit because she is a more literal child. However, both of my children have a good sense of basic fairness and tolerance. I’m extremely proud of their developing sense of social justice.

I’m raising my children in Stepford because it is a safe place with good schools and nice neighborhoods. I’m fortunate to be able to do so. Stepford is certainly not the real world. The median household annual income is over $100,000 per year and the majority of those households only have one working adult. It’s not Beverly Hills, but no one I know is having to choose between buying groceries or putting gas in their SUV.

I’ve been writing on DivineCaroline for just over a year now. DivineCaroline has given me a wonderful outlet for expressing myself and it has been a wonderful form of therapy. I’ve met a lot of talented writers, some who are like-minded and some who are not. I’ve met and enjoyed interacting with thinking men and women who bring me new ideas to mull over and consider. Some I accept, some I reject. However, I always try to do this with an open mind and even if I disagree, a kind heart. If I read an article that upsets my sensibilities, I move on and usually don’t make it habit of reading that writer’s subsequent submissions. Chit Chats are a bit different ... they are meant to be an exchange of ideas and if someone’s post is offensive to me, I’ll let them know.

Now, thanks to the fact that one of my recent Stepford articles was included in DivineCaroline’s Digest, my writing has received a lot of attention in the last week. Understandably, because of my views concerning Sarah Palin, not everyone who has read my articles has appreciated my sense of humor or my opinions. I get that and because I choose to live in Stepford, I’m used to it.

What I’m not used to is being labeled as angry, intolerant, or close-minded. Nothing could be further from the truth. What I’m rebelling against in Stepford is not that the Stepford Wives are Republicans or Palin supporters. I’m rebelling against the fact that they assume that I am the same and act as if there is something defective about me because I am not.

I had a secretly Democratic Stepford Husband who had seen my “Obama ’08” sign whisper to me, “Why do you bother in Stepford?” I’ve really thought about this question. Why bother? Why not just go to the voting booth on Election Day and quietly cast my vote? This morning while reading some of the less than kind and very personal comments that have been left about my admittedly biting articles regarding Sarah Palin, I’ve thought “Why bother?” I’ve often thought while casting a national vote in Texas, “Why bother? The State will be red no matter if you vote or not.” And every time I get asked or ask myself why I bother, I think of my Granddaddy. I think of him teaching me “Every vote matters. Every voice matters. No matter if that vote is cast for the winner or the loser. No voice lifted ever goes unheard.”

So, to those of you that I have offended, perhaps my writing isn’t for you. To those of you who enjoy it, I’ll continue to bother as long as you continue to read.

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