It's All Daddy Frank and Mama Bess' Fault...or
Blame it all on your parents....
I grew up in a home where my strong, outspoken father, Daddy Frank, a World War II and Korean War veteran was a Democrat and my loving, gentle, kind and saintly mother, Mama Bess, was a Republican. I loved listening to them talk about politics, especially during the presidential election years. Wow, that was a debate worth a rerun or two!
Daddy Frank contracted TB (tuberculosis) during the Korean War and should have received 100% disability before I was even born in 1958. He lost a lung in that war, but he never missed one single day of work in all my growing up years. I remember people kidding Mama Bess about putting his shoes and socks out every morning and getting down on her knees to help him put them on. They thought she was spoiling him and she was an oppressed housewife but she knew he had coughed non stop for hours every morning and was struggling just to breathe while trying to get dressed for his job in the pulpwood business or wherever he needed to work to provide for his family.
They were some team, Frank and Bess.
Daddy Frank knew he had worked hard and risked his life to protect his country and now he might need help from the very government he had served so faithfully. He recognized that his own sons and grandchildren were doing the same thing and they should also be protected. He understood that no matter how strong and proud you were, if you were not physically able to take care of your family, you might need help. No matter how brave you had fought in a war on the battle field, when you came home injured and maimed you still needed that circle of camaraderie around you to carry you through. He knew one day we may all need each other.
Mama Bess had worked hard all her life in the cotton fields, her fingers bleeding from a day’s work like her entire family. Everything they ate or drank came from their hard labor, yet her heart was kind and gentle. She never expected anyone to do anything she wouldn’t do, but if they didn’t know how--she would spend hours teaching them. She watched her first born die and her 3rd child, a son, born with birth defects so severe he would never walk or talk his whole life. She knew the look and sound of pain that she prayed her own children would never know. She took care of her parents until they died because you just didn’t put your parents in a nursing home back then.
They were both good and loving people, Daddy Frank and Mama Bess, with totally different personalities and totally different political beliefs.
You see my mama was a Republican because she believed the party was conservative about issues that were important to her. Don’t spend more money than you make, money comes from hard work, be a good shepherd of what God gives you, make good decisions, and be personally responsible. She believed in the freedom of religion, that nobody should tell her who, where, when, or what to believe. That she should be able to go to church and worship as she pleased and pray for and to anyone she wanted to and she had enough faith in her God that He could take it from there. She was never once called a hypocrite for being a Christian, because she followed Jesus Christ teachings. She loved everyone and would help everyone with no conditions. She knew what it was like to be poor and go to bed hungry so she fed those in need. She knew what it was like to go to school with no shoes on your feet and no coat in winter, so she clothed those who were cold. She knew what it was like to have a crippled child and no insurance, while her husband was dying in the military from TB in another state and how she had to borrow the money for a train ticket to go back and forth between the two, sometimes wondering which one would die first. She understood that no one knows what tomorrow may bring. Oh.. she was a staunch conservative republican, she was, she gave to the poor, helped the sick and believed taking care of our children and the elderly should be our first priority.
Daddy Frank was the tough one. Like Mama Bess, he would give the shirt off his back, but he expected something in return. He would lend people money and then tell them how they could work it off if they could not afford to pay it back. He understood how much it hurt to ask for a handout when he couldn’t take care of his own family, so in his own way he was using tough love to give those in need respect and dignity that comes from a day’s wage for a day’s work. Over the years he gave many people the confidence to go out and start their own businesses or give them a good reference so they could get that job they so desperately needed. He would tell them to get the education he never had a chance to get because he couldn’t get out of the fields long enough to go to school pass 8th grade. Oh… he was a flaming liberal Democrat, he was. He held people accountable for their actions and helped them be fiscally responsible.
When it came time to vote, they would sit on the couch side by side holding hands like they did all the time and discuss if they should just stay home since they were going to cancel each other’s vote out anyway, or if they should come to an agreement after looking at both sides and weighing all the pros and cons? It was a sight to behold! Listening to them debate back and forth, seeing the fire and determination in my mama’s eyes and the no holds barred look in my daddy’s. It would get a little heated and I couldn’t help but smile because they were still holding hands after it was all over. And they would always go vote. I can’t tell you how they voted. Maybe they cancelled each other out, maybe they reached a consensus. All I know is that they talked about it, they discussed it and because I know for a fact they both had wonderful, unselfish hearts, whatever they did, they did it for the right reasons.
Lately, people are so divided. If you are a right wing conservative; you are a Christian Tea Party Racist and believe anyone who does not believe like you is going to hell. Or, if you are left wing liberal, you are an Atheist Communist Hippie, void of a moral compass who thinks everyone else is stupid.
I don’t think anyone I know on either side fits those descriptions. I think most of us are like Daddy Frank and Mama Bess. Just people trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got and sometimes strongly disagree on certain issues but still have the best interest of the country at heart. I think that is who the 99% is. I am not sure we will ever get together and protest anywhere, but I think we have enough sense to know that those who do (whether right or left) should be supported and not belittled. Be it the Tea Party or the Occupy Wall Street. We still believe in America, where you have the right to be stupid, smart, loud, or quiet. You even have the right to be in a mixed marriage, Republican/Democrat and Auburn/Alabama! War Eagle!
So you can see why I get a little confused about all the back and forth and name calling in politics. If we all have one goal in mind, shouldn’t we still be holding hands when it’s all over?