My Father Was a Republican

My Dad has been dead for more than 20 years, now. But while he was alive, he was a dedicated Republican. But not the kind of Republicans that run our country now. Oh no. Were he alive today, he would be agreeing with what Garrison Keillor has written at Truthout, which begins:
Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned – and there was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today’s. Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor.
How did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty transmogrify into the party of Newt Gingrich’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk? Keillor asks.
I think part of the answer is that too many Republicans like my Dad and Dwight Eisenhower are dead. And with them were buried the values and ideals of a Republican party that upheld the Constitution. And so, as Keillor goes on to describe:
The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous.
As my father got older, he got interested in the “Gray Panther” movement, got on the city’s Housing Commissioner and worked for decent housing for low-income and senior residents. He frequently talked about the value of a “socialist democracy.” My father was a Republican in his heyday. But he would be embarrassed to be one today. And I’m sure that he would not vote to continue into four more years of this tragic failure of American leadership.
It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile, and it’s not my father’s Republican Party.

1 thought on “My Father Was a Republican

  1. Mainly ’cause he was a good man who cared about people. He lived there among the workers and those less fortunate or able. And he never abandoned them at all. You’re right. He’d have choked on today’s so-called Republicans.

Leave a Reply