UnderCover Waitress: Lessons From the Elders

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lessons From the Elders

The theme for today's Let's Blog Off is, "My grandmother always said... " In my case, it is not my grandparents but my parents whose influence comes to mind.

As we as a nation are currently watching a few entitled men vie for the Republican presidential nomination, I often revisit political lessons learned at my mother's knee. 

I come from a family of strong, liberal Democrats who value social justice. Selfishness and self-centeredness were seen as utterly deplorable by my mother. Personal integrity was one of my father's strongest values. I remember him telling me that if a cashier short-changed him, he would go back and ask for correct change. Therefore, if a cashier gave him too much change, he would go back and return the extra. Can't have it both ways. 

Personal integrity never meant just taking care of your own, and expecting everybody else to take care of themselves. It meant putting your money where you mouth is. Social justice is created when a society works together to build safety nets. Yes, I am talking about a citizen's duty to pay taxes. Currently, the richer you get in this country, the less you have to help out others. The rich should be helping more, not less. 

As much as I can stomach it, which isn't always much, I listen to the Republican candidates posture, make jabs at each other, and show just how clueless they are about what the majority of Americans go through every day. 

Mitt Romney has made some hilarious blunders. On national television, he said that his speaking fees of over $345,000 were not very much at all. He said this to people who are making five figures and terrified about losing their jobs (if they still have one.) 

Mitt claims that he is not responsible for the fact that he got rich in part by owning mutual funds in large mortgage companies foreclosing on middle class homeowners. Because his portfolio was handled by the hired help in a blind trust. Therefore, he did not know and is not responsible for how his money was made. Now that he knows, I don't think he is giving anything back. 

Then there is Newt. With his riches made via holding stocks in Fannie Mae, Newt is focusing on values. With his history of divorce and remarriage, Newt will keep the sanctity of marriage holy by refusing to allow homosexuals to marry. What a relief!

They both lack integrity. And these real life comic strip characters wear their Christianity on their sleeves. Anyone who has read the New Testament knows that Jesus said "Love thy neighbor" and "Give to the poor." 

Jesus never said "Help the poor by refusing to give them hand-outs. When the poor can no longer afford their homes, let them move out. It is better to not know how we have benefitted from their trauma. Besides, the poor must learn responsibility. It is better to let an uninsured man die outside of the emergency room than it is to teach him to take hand-outs." These Christian politicians are hypocrites. 

Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to travel through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." I wonder if Mitt has somebody on payroll who is working on a way to get that camel through the needle's eye. 

I am not a Christian, but I believe in social justice. I learned to share from my parents. I learned to think of others from my parents. I learned to value integrity and honesty from my parents. And I learned progressive politics from my parents. 

Many, many moons ago when I was still in college, I shared a dorm floor with quite a few young people who came from conservative, Republican, Christian backgrounds. We held different opinions on these issues. 

I was wearing a plaid shirt with red in it. A small group from my floor walked by; one pointed at me and said, "Look! Her shirt is red! She really does have a bleeding heart!" They laughed and moved on. 

And I thought to myself, at least when they make fun of me they get it right.


  1. Well, I must say you are very much preaching to the choir! My family was actually Republican, and as a young man I read most of the output of Ayn Rand and believed she was god for more years than I care to remember. What changed my mind on that subject was reading history. Laissez faire capitalism simply results in the world we had in the 1890s. A handful of people own the world. Actually, we seem to be getting back to that!

  2. Hi, Joe. I had a boyfriend in college who was quite the Republican. He and I read "Atlas Shrugged" at about the same time. Talk about two different reactions to the same book...

    I wish I could remember the name of Ursula K. LeGuin's book that I read at the same time; her work refutes Rand's so it was interesting to read them together.

  3. I couldn't agree with you more. I've worked hard since I was 12 years old and then I got sick and since I didn't have decent health insurance because I couldn't afford it I ended up with a bunch of medical bills. Then I lost my job because I was too sick to go back to work. The Republicans would prefer that I float away on a piece of ice and die but I'm still hanging in there thanks to programs that help the disadvantaged. Programs that the Republicans would like to take away. Meanwhile they get excellent health insurance because of their government jobs!

  4. The reasonable Republicans are of a mindset of letting the party commit political suicide under the auspices of the Tea Party so that there might one day be hope of restoring sanity. This is also why no good candidate has put their hat in the ring this time out for the GOP nomination.

    Here in Canada, we're governed by the Conservative party now. It's a pack of religious right fanatics and neo-cons who believe in ideology trumping facts and doing everything possible to obliterate the opposition. To them, compromise and progressive are obscene words. I would have once referred to myself as conservative, in the old progressive sense, but the way these jackals run their party and the government horrifies me, and the damage they're doing to the country's reputation and sense of itself will take generations to undo.

  5. The religious right fanatics are the worst, they are destroying everything; they destroy the environment by insisting that global warming isn't happening, they destroy education by insisting the "creationism" is as valid a theory as Darwinism, and they destroy the rights of women to receive appropriate medical care from their doctors. And the rest of us bend over and take it. What gives?


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