Mollie Hemingway's smart post below spurred a thought I had late Sunday night as I settled into a semi-satisfied coma (damn you, OKC, for not making it the perfect day) as a result of a wonderful Fathers Day celebration out here in the high country. Unfortunately, as I cruised to sleep, NPR (which actually stands for "Nonstop Programs about Race") was on our clock radio. The newest meme is that the presidency is just too darned big for any man (or woman). It recalled similar screeds I remember (and parroted because I was then a brain-dead liberal fresh from J-school) from the last dregs of the Carter Administration
So cut BO some slack, was the vibe. He’s doing the best he can considering the incredibly tough circumstances. All those crazy foreigners, screwing him up. Plus the GWB curse, don’t you know.
Okay, backtrack to the dinner. One daughter (25) made the salad, my wife cooked the fried chicken (thank you, Pioneer Woman Cookbook!) and another daughter (21) made peach pie from scratch. My third daughter (25, twins!), away at law school called to touch base with everyone. I must say -- at the risk of your rolling eyes -- that I’m intensely proud of all three of my girls. They’re beautiful, tough, smart, and hard-working. At least one of them has the correct political instincts. The other two, I believe, will come around. They may have already come around -- and not admitted it to their father. I have optimism because they have good values and faith and they get angry at the entitlement culture. And they're infuriated they or their friends can't find good jobs.
Last night, I sat on my deck and smoked a cigar and thought about how much I loved my daughters.
They're independent and they have solid husbands/fiancées/boyfriends who respect them and cherish them (and if those males don't, I swear, I'll put them in the ground. Every time a boy comes out to our place I tell them, "I have a rifle, a shovel, and 15 acres of land.") . My daughter's values are instilled, even though there are a few arguments. My wife and I lead our lives knowing we did our best and we cut them loose. They seem to appreciate it, and they'll -- all three -- be terrific citizens and wonderful people. We've done all we can do.
But imagine if we had chosen another path. Imagine if, at this stage in our lives and theirs, we tried to control what they ate, what they drank, what they drove, what their health insurance must include, how many gallons of water their toilet tank must hold, where they got their contraception and whether it was "free," how many watts their light bulbs must be, how many inches of R-12 insulation must be between their walls...
And they would say, rightly, "Butt out, Dad."
It would be overwhelming, trying to control every aspect of their three lives in different states and in different circumstances. I would write columns or novels about how being a father was just too tough these days -- how overwhelming it was. Imagine doing the same for 310 million daughters. How can any father -- or any politico -- possibly succeed if he thinks that?
And why would we agree?