My Mom (!) Says: Impeach and Imprison!

My Mom will be 78 on Tuesday.  She is a stiff-upper-lip Yankee, born and raised in a tiny town in Vermont.  This was the 4-room school she attended (and at which she received a superb education) and graduated from as the top 14 percent of her class of 7:

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She married my Dad (USNA ’50) six days after she graduated from college.  They had met in June 1950 at the wedding of her college roommate and his USNA roommate.  My Mom and Dad had been on three dates when he called from his deployment in Naples, Italy in January 1951 and proposed.  They were happily married for 49 years.

My Mom was a Rockefeller Republican for almost all of her life — liberal on social issues (she has ALWAYS been pro-choice) but somewhat conservative on other issues.  She grounded me when I participated in the Moratorium.  She thought Nixon was a crook, but was intimidated by the anti-war movement (although she did shake Hubert Humphrey’s hand at a rally).

My Mom went back to school when I was 12 to get her master’s and doctorate in education and psychology (Manhattanville and Columbia).  She maintained at A average while raising me and my brother and, later, working full-time (which she did because she wanted to) — and while being a terrific wife to my Dad, who could be, um, difficult.  She then taught at a Lutheran elementary school for 30 years and subsequently retired (5 years after my Dad did) and followed my Dad to a barrier island in Texas where he wanted to live.  They built a house with an observation deck for my Dad’s telescope.  She voted for George Bush for Governor because she was still a Republican and that’s what Republicans did.

In December 1999, my parents moved to Rancho Santa Fe, California.  My Mom and Dad had been out to San Diego to visit my brother and sister-in-law at Easter and my Mom had fallen in love with the flowers, the weather, the gorgeous light, the clean beaches and beautiful Pacific — and with the chance to be near her precious granddaughters.  My Dad never said no to my Mom, so off they went.  They arrived two days before her 70th birthday.  I flew out for a surprise party for her on December 11, 1999.

Just over a month later, on January 22, 2000, my darling Dad dropped dead from an aneurysm.  It was a horrible time.  I was in the middle of a dreadful divorce.  My Mom and I were both so sad.

In June 2000, my Mom moved to Washington, D.C. (where I was living) and we bought a house together.  

Thoughout the fall, we watched the debates and my Mom, always an avid newspaper reader, read even more.

In November 2000, my Mom voted for Al Gore, mainly because of stem cell research and because she had decided that GWB was an idiot.  

She became even more convinced of his idiocy — and then of his mendacity — as we watched, with horror, the build-up to the Iraq War.  My Mom has been opposed to the war from the outset.  Then, she still kept her views to herself when speaking with her lifelong friends — many of whom are rich, spoiled Republicans who support President Bush to this day because of his tax cuts.  She still loves her friends, because they have been friends for five decades, but she no longer understands how they could think the way they do.

In September 2004, my Mom took a deep breath and registered as a Democrat and voted for Howard Dean in the primary.  She loves Howard Dean — we had driven to Vermont in the summer of 2003 to meet him at the Capitol in Montpelier, back when you could just walk in and meet him.

Then, she asked me not to mention this to her friends.

Last spring, my Mom registered at Daily Kos.  She reads every day, although she does not comment and has yet to recommend even one of my diaries. 🙁

My Mom went back to Texas for Thanksgiving.  My younger niece was playing in a soccer tournament in Plano and my Dallas relatives (including my Dad’s sister’s son and his wife) had asked Mom to visit for the holiday.  At Thanksgiving dinner, my Dad’s younger sister (who had earlier emailed my Mom to ask her to be an “early” Giuliani supporter) started in about supporting Giuliani.  My Mom, who truly believes that if you have nothing nice to say, you should say nothing at all, glared at her and asked that the subject be dropped in the interest of Thanksgiving.

Tonight, my Mom watched TV with her jaw open.  She looked at me, after watching the news about the CIA torture videos (an issue about which we completely agree, and about which I have previously written) and said, about President Bush: “Why is this man not in prison?”

If she’s there, isn’t the country finally there, too?


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  1. No wonder I turned out so well.

    • yoduuuh on December 8, 2007 at 07:24

    After watching PBS tonight and seeing Brooks blather because he is not going to say right or wrong for any republican, my winter blues deepened.

    I have always had friends like your mother and it never bothered me they were republicans.  I felt they needed to have money more than I but I also felt they were entitled to their choice.  I never felt they would rob me so they could have more.

    Now I cannot stand to be in the room with people like your aunt.  I feel they have demonstrated to me that they will go to any lengths to remain right whether they are or not. That they would rob me at every opportunity if at all possible so they could have a new Louis Vitton.

    They have sold not just their souls but the prosperity of the country for all time.  Once a country is destroyed from within; it never recovers.  That is why Greece, Rome, Spain, and England never recovered in the eyes of their own people much less the world.

  2. and Vietnam.  He’s so intelligent, and such good company, and has mellowed so much from the harsh disciplinarian he was when we were kids.  He’s even kinda proud that I follow my ideals–

    But mine aren’t his.  And every once in a while he opens his mouth and makes me so sad that I can’t stay in the room.  It could be something he says supporting the lies and destruction.  I could be something, usually muttered, about how I like to be involved in “mob scenes”–demonstrations, to most of us.

    Pete McCloskey (remember him?  unique guy) told me to shine it on, that my dad was a “crustacean” and always would be.  I still maintain that little glimmer of hope that such a good man will someday have an epiphany.  

    • Zwoof on December 8, 2007 at 08:25

    she really should rec your diaries.

    And tell her zwoof needs some mojo too.

    Nice essay NW!

  3. …Mom.  Great diary.  Thanks!

  4. I will also have you know those wonderful stories about Vermont talking about succession from “the Union” lifted my spirits at a time when I needed it most.

  5. What a great essay and what a wonderful woman — no, wait, make that women, because you’re both inspiring. Plus, it’s so good to know that people are coming around. Now if we could only get Congress on board…  

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