“I’m a Republican now!” my mother gushed excitedly over the phone as I gasped silently in horror. My mother: the one who never wanted to “talk about it” when politics were brought up; who never chose a side; who never had an opinion on such things. Here she was, squeaking out her right-wing joy in four little words, “I’m a Republican now.”
This is how I see it: someone has been niggling in her ear. Let me tell you a little something about my mother. She lives on an extremely fixed budget as a disabled elderly woman with several people who pop in on her daily to clean her house, fix her meals, check her meds, and make sure that she has not tripped on her oxygen cord and strangled herself. The Republican vote has cut her food allotment, has variously made cuts in her meds and in her medical treatment allowances. They’re not done yet. She has no business being a Republican.
When Mom was fourteen years old, she ran away from home and found herself working as a “card girl” in a casino somewhere in Chicago. During the time she was away from home she was raped by a policeman in the backseat of a police car. The Republican Party would have us believe that the officer had done nothing wrong and that she had brought this upon herself by running away from home. It’s too bad that her body didn’t “shut itself down” in order to avoid the rape. Since it didn’t, does that make it consensual? She has no business being a Republican.
Actually, Mom doesn’t dwell in the realm of any party, even with her most recent proclamation. She leans toward a more independent way of thinking, but would rather not deal with any of it at all. I am truly shocked that she would “turn” one way or the other, but I would rather see her side with a Party or a philosophy that would benefit her, not bite her in the hand. She has always been an independent person. I would never classify her with the “barefoot and pregnant” thinkers, or with those who would have a woman remain completely at home to “take care of the kids, clean the house, and do the cooking” (although she was a most excellent cook and pastry guru). She was an “Enjoli” kind of gal; she brought home the bacon (and fried it), and took care of what needed to be taken care of in her life. During her marriage with Dad, she worked as a cook in a rather posh café near Hollywood, went to Mount Sac college for art history, baked cakes on commission, and took care of her family. She worked full time while caring for her father in the last months of his life. She worked herself into a frenzy, ending up disabled. Her lot would be to care more for the working class in America than giving any thought at all to the upper crust wannabes in politics. She has no business being a Republican.
She is a religious woman, but not so far-flung in her beliefs that she has no tolerance for anyone else. After all, her daughter, (your’s truly), has been everything BUT a Christian since 2001. She was brought up without color lines, without those little boxes that proclaim one group or person as less than any other group or person. She has always stood by the “All men are created equal” philosophy. Her favorite President is Lincoln, as is evidenced by the “Gettysburg Address” poster she created as a teen and has framed in a gold frame hanging above her mantle today. She loves people. She loves God. She loves. She IS love. And she has no place in a Republican Party world.