Monday, September 15, 2008

Dear Daughter ..

From The LA Weekly ... a father laments "the road not taken" in this moving letter to his community organizer daughter.

You'll Never Be Vice President

Daughter Dearest,

It is with great pain and a certain measure of shame that I write you this note. Having grown up in the '60s and watched, sometimes at glaringly close range, the emergence of the women's liberation movement, I had always harbored great dreams and aspirations for you.

But as I listened to Governor Sarah Palin address the nation the other night, I had to confess that — as your father — I have clearly failed. Honey, you will never be able to achieve the greatness of being nominated for vice president of the United States. Forget about it.

And for this sad reality, I accept all blame. 'Twas I who steered you wrong.
Here you are, almost 25, with what your mother and I believed was a solid education behind you, and yet you are nothing but a common community organizer. Yes, the labor union you work for represents nearly 2 million service workers — about three times the population of Alaska. But, alas, as Governor Palin pointed out, you have no real responsibilities.

By helping janitors, security guards, nursing aides and orderlies gain a living wage, paid health care insurance and a retirement fund, you have only robbed them of the personal initiative to go out there and make something better of themselves. You have rendered them feebly dependent on Big Labor and tax-and-spend Big Government — and all in their own crass self-interest in survival.

I'm not sure when I helped nudge you on to such a mistaken road. Probably sometime while you were attending that government-run high school in which we enrolled you. You could have joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, as Ms. Palin did. Instead, I pushed you to become a columnist on the school paper.

You could have spent your afternoons becoming the local barracuda on the courts. But, nope, your mom and I indulged your trivial passions for staging and directing the plays of Shakespeare. You could have competed to be Miss Woodland Hills or even Miss Congenial California, but — no — there were your mom and dad encouraging you to finish writing your first play. Sorry.

From there, the mistakes only multiplied. Instead of letting you wait until the responsible age of 44 before letting you secure a passport, we strained our family budget and squandered who knows how many thousands by putting you on countless Flights to Nowhere: New York, Washington, New Orleans, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Santiago, Mexico City. And to what end? So you could return home — as the huggable Mayor Giuliani so neatly put it — some sort of "cosmopolitan"?

Exposure to so many foreign ideas (like the notion of spending an idle afternoon reading a book in a café instead of learning to field-dress a moose) only contaminated you, rendering you insensitive and contemptuous to the day-to-day needs of bowling league members in Michigan's Macomb County. Worse, you returned from those European jaunts a brainwashed follower of the elite, angry, left media.

By the 12th grade, all the warning signs were there. I'd walk into your room at 1 in the morning and catch you with a flashlight under the covers, reading the book pages of The Atlantic. Why didn't I nip this all in the bud and buy you a well-oiled Remington 12-gauge so you could plink the coyotes south of Ventura Boulevard?

The real disaster came, of course, in college. Four straight years wasted at UCLA, when you could have been following the course of the governor, sampling five different schools in six years. You were reading Orwell. By then she was practicing doublespeak. You were studying public policy, by then she was figuring out how to win the 909 votes she needed to become mayor of Wasilla.

You were inclined to donate $100 to the ACLU. She was way ahead of you, sweetie, as she calculated how to avoid the ACLU when she made her inquiries into pruning the local library of un-American and anti-Christian propaganda. She was on her way up and you, dear child, were dead-ended in the silly task of trying to organize seven hospitals back to back.

It's not healthy to dwell on so many regrets, I know. And as I said, this is mostly the fault of your parents. While you are the victim of these reckless choices, your mom and I, nevertheless, pay a heavy price. If we had only been sage enough to bar you from sex-ed class and contraceptives and instead had let you rely on abstinence and prayer, there was an even chance you could have been pregnant by age 17. You'd have a joyous 7-year-old child right now to help you get through your 10-hour workday. The father might have married you. And we'd have a lovely grandchild who a mere decade from now could produce us a great-grandchild and we would all still be young enough to go snowmobiling together — the next time it snows in Woodland Hills.

Ah, but better not to dwell on the negative. Make the best of the little we have given you, and grant us your understanding and forgiveness. And don't despair too much. Remember, when McCain-Palin come to power, real change is gonna come, and we'll all be better off.

Love, Dad


Terry Hansen said...

Susan, it's almost become automatic to go straight to your blog each morning when I sign on to AOL and see what you've found and put on your blog. Thank you so much for the "Letter from a Dad," I don't think anything could have put it so well. It would be so easy to say something snide or cutting about the McCain/Palin ticket, but why bother, that's simply using the Rove playbook and I still have hopes that there are enough of us out there to ignore such trash.

Terry Hansen

RonF said...

So I'm not sure I understand this. Is the gentleman's daughter a community organizer or is she a labor union official?

Ellie Finlay said...

It's really, really good.

Also tragic.

JCF said...

RonF: Sounds like she organizes a community of service workers (w/ the logical results that they keep organized through a union). What's your question again?

FWIW: while I'm all for community and/or labor organizing, I wish the tone of this piece wasn't quite so "Either/Or". You can travel the world AND field-dress a moose, y'know?

---another Michigan Sportsperson for Obama/Biden. :-)

RonF said...

BTW; Jesus was NOT a community organizer. Name me one time when Jesus got a group of people together and had them ask for one thing from the secular authorities. His sole focus was getting individuals to establish their relationship with God, not getting groups to change their relationship with the Emperor.

This is not meant to degrinate the role of community organizers. That can be a very worthwhile role - depending on the goal, of course. But "Jesus was a community organizer" grossly miscasts Jesus. It also feeds into the "Obamessiah" theme that is raising a red flag with so many people.

RonF said...

My question is who she works for and who pays her salary. Does she work for the union as a union official? Or does she work for some not-for-profit organization and for some reason focuses her effort on union members? Or does she work directly for some government agency?

Is she paid by the union or is she paid by the government (i.e., by you and me)?

IT said...

Ronf, I have come to the conclusion that you belong to the

"I got mine, you can get your own" class of Christians.

I'm vaguely recalling some exhortations about caring for the least of these, but as the token atheist in these parts I may be misremembering.


RonF said...

IT, I am not particularly familiar with the class of Christians you refer to, nor do I have any idea how you can justify classifying me as such.

This may be the passage you are looking for, Matthew 25:34-44:

"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' "Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

I would be very interested to hear from you why you think I don't favor this.