Everything Is Going to be Okay

 

While recently going through some of my mother’s things after she passed away, I came across an envelope with a campaign fundraiser letter littered with “I’m With Her” stickers. I sighed and promptly added it to the trash pile, as mom didn’t live to see the outcome of this election. I believe if she had, she’d have never gotten over it. On the bookshelf were copies of every Barack Obama book and in a cabinet sat a Michelle Obama inauguration doll, still pristine in the box. Those items remain. I knew my mom was a hard-core “democrat,” but this didn’t occur over a lifetime. It was a fairly abrupt happening.

You see, she was home bound for the last part of her life due to illnesses that seemed to just pile on top of one another. CNN and MSNBC kept her company 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and that was much of her input, mixed in with the occasional episode of “Blue Bloods” and “American Pickers.” Quite the riddle. I adored my mom, and her heart was big; basically orphaned as a child, being married at 16 without graduating high school then becoming a single mom with 3 young kids, she was always looking out for the underdog. Not once during my childhood was the news watched regularly and discussions of current events were completely absent. She was simply not interested in any of it. She had never voted for anything in her life until 2008 when she proudly voted for Obama because he was black. That’s right, she wanted to vote for the first black man running for president. And she was open about that fact. So open, that when I, her conservative daughter who would sometimes even vote across party lines, asked her what policies he was running on that she was voting for, she icily replied, “I did not raise you to be racist. If you aren’t voting for him, that’s what you are.” My own mom, who knew me best, called me a racist over politics.

Ten years later I’m still thinking about this exchange, even a year after she is gone. I see that word “racist” all over social media now and I cringe. It’s tossed around when one can’t argue logically or think of another useful thing to say. I was prompted to write here after being added by a random kind soul to a Racist list on Twitter the other night for using rainbow and smiley (and taco) emojis as a comment on a Chelsea Manning post. Everything and everyone conservative is racist and that list addition got me to thinking about my beloved mom. Those conversations with her did not stop there, and if you had the audacity to turn on Fox News when visiting her house, she would let you know that was not allowed because they were all against Obama and “that” Bill O’Reilly was racist.

There came a time you could not question anything the administration would do in her presence because CNN had confirmed her own biases to her and she didn’t need another outlook or opinion. If I talked about any concern with the direction of education, including Michelle’s horrible school lunch program, I was a racist. If I mentioned how health insurance costs were killing our budget and that, after 20 years of being a stay-at-home-mom (with just a few years left to homeschool our youngest) I had to go back to work to help pay those costs, I was racist. Forget about mentioning the fact he basically repudiated American exceptionalism and that to believe America was the greatest country in the world was…racist.

Not only did she vote for him once, but twice, and proudly put her voting sticker right on her sewing machine where she could see it. There eventually came a time when we couldn’t talk about current events, and just went about with the small talk because any negative discussion would make her angry. It’s much like talking to a Trump voter who continues to see him as the savior we all need instead of being able to objectively consider things he does or says or tweets as they come. Everything is golden.

Of course, I do believe he will never be able to say or do the right thing for people who absolutely despise him, including media members who are supposed to be non-partisan. I read so much about those dang uneducated folks in those dang red states who voted for Trump, but there were many of the same who voted for Obama. People who had never voted before and wanted to be part of history in the making. People who had no clue what he stood for and how inexperienced he might be. He was a great orator and that’s all you needed to know. He could make the theft of your house sound like a great idea.

For 8 years we conservatives stood by and were called racist, among other things, if we didn’t toe the Barack Obama line. Sometimes by our own family members. It has never crossed my mind even since then about disliking a person based on their voting habits, but that attitude has come out full force on the left since this past election. Now we’re all called racist because we have a president accused of siding with white supremacy who ran under our party and won against a female. And that’s why my mom would have voted for the democrat again had she been able. Not because Hillary was qualified, but because she was a woman. She was With Her.

Mom turned 71 and just a few days later we learned she had about 6 weeks to live, which made our relationship take a complete turn that I wish had happened sooner. The Clinton campaign letters remained unopened and there wasn’t a word wasted on election talk. We weren’t sitting around pondering who would be president, comparing running mates, or what the outcome would look like. Cable news wasn’t rolling for hours a day anymore and instead we were sipping coffee, looking at pictures and talking about her childhood and laughing about good times we had shared. She wondered aloud what she would have done if she could have made it to the upcoming retirement years of her husband, and openly forgave her first husband of things she had held against him for decades. She patted my hand and told everyone that everything was going to be okay, which is what she always said in the face of tragedy or sadness.

In the end, mom showed us what was important, and it definitely was not our political affiliation. She cared about her family and her eternity and making sure we would see that her loving husband, who had spent years taking care of her, would carry on without her. We are fed so much junk that it seems we can’t see the important things through it all until it’s too late. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a logical debate of politics, current events, and history, but to have those things we have zero control over outweigh what’s happening right in front of our faces, sometimes even to the detriment of our relationships, is foolish.

You will most likely never sway anyone to your way of thinking via social media or arguments over the phone, or even calling someone else a racist because they disagree with you. Work on your own little corner of the world and look at the bigger picture in your own sphere of influence, because very little of what’s going on in Washington, DC, is of no concern when all is said and done.  Take it from me and mom, no matter where your political loyalties lie, everything is going to be okay.

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  1. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Absolutely lovely.  My Mom voted for Trump, I voted for McMullin.  But my relationship with her is so much more important than politics.  (I still haven’t told her that I protested Trump in Phoenix last Tuesday.)  Please promote to the Main Feed.

    • #1
  2. Weeping Inactive
    Weeping
    @Weeping

    Laura Gadbery: We are fed so much junk that it seems we can’t see the important things through it all until it’s too late. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a logical debate of politics, current events, and history, but to have those things we have zero control over outweigh what’s happening right in front of our faces, sometimes even to the detriment of our relationships, is foolish.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with your mom with us. I’m sorry to hear things got so bad for awhile; but I’m so glad that at the end, she was able to put aside her political differences with you and simply enjoy the time you had left together. The above comments are so true. Thank you for sharing them.

    • #2
  3. Mike-K Member
    Mike-K
    @

    I have five children. Two are conservative and three are leftist (I don’t call that “Liberal.” My father was a rabid Democrats, the type who said that he wished that Burton K Wheeler, a Democrat mind you, because he was an “America Firster,” would lie in Hell with his back broken. Both my parents were Depression Democrats and were shocked to the core when I voted for Nixon in 1960. I told my mother that I had taken an Economics class. I never discussed it with my father but years later, my mother said she had been a Republican. I didn’t argue.

    My leftist children are hard to talk to. One I can gingerly discuss politics with but the other two, no. The other two are lawyers. The one I can talk to was a Bernie voter but she admitted to me once that learning to read and do arithmetic is more important than learning Evolution in fourth grade. Evolution can be a very divisive topic. I got into such a nasty dispute here that I quit Ricochet for a while.

    My conservative children are doing better in life, at least one is. I’m not sure if that is related but I do know that all have had the best I could give them. Politics is too unimportant to break up families but this time is very unusual right now. It reminds me a lot of 1860.

    • #3
  4. Laura Gadbery Coolidge
    Laura Gadbery
    @LauraGadbery

    @mike-k I couldn’t agree more. I’m hopeful for the strength of the family unit to win!

    • #4
  5. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    Welcome to Ricochet Laura. I’m glad you and your Mom were able to reconcile at the end. I’m still trying to understand how someone who was more or less apolitical until age 60 or so, could become such a rabid partisan even around those most dear to her.

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Family is too important to be messed up by something as base as politics.

    Welcome, Laura!

    • #6
  7. Laura Gadbery Coolidge
    Laura Gadbery
    @LauraGadbery

    Thanks @tigerlily. I wish I had an answer for that. It’s easy for me to blame cable news and the local paper because she had no other real conversations with anyone about it outside of home during those years. I suppose it’s like a fox news only viewer; you start to believe every single thing they say. I can say I watch and read news from many different sources and try to balance it all out. Thank you for reading!

    • #7
  8. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    Laura, that was beautiful!

    Please accept our most sincere condolences and the heartiest of welcomes!

    • #8
  9. Laura Gadbery Coolidge
    Laura Gadbery
    @LauraGadbery

    Agree @percival. It was a tough road. Thanks for the welcome!

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    I have this one first cousin…

    Welcome, Laura. I know how it can be. Focus on the important things.

    • #10
  11. Captain Kidd Inactive
    Captain Kidd
    @CaptainKidd

    I don’t just like this post, I love this post.

    That should count for 2 votes.

    We are living the same drama in my family.

    Keep writing here. That was great.

    • #11
  12. Laura Gadbery Coolidge
    Laura Gadbery
    @LauraGadbery

    @captainkidd I was thinking I couldn’t possibly be the only person going through this. I will keep writing- thanks for reading and for the vote(s) of confidence!

    • #12
  13. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Welcome, Laura. Thanks for your post. Likely that many here have some of these conflicts within their families, I know I do. Our public education system and our universities have really let us down and taken advantage to use those institutions for political indoctrination. They have gotten a good head start and now the turn around will be difficult. I don’t see this as a debate environment at all. That process has been abandoned. I think Scott Adams’ persuasion theory is the path we will probably follow. It works in some cases.

    • #13
  14. Laura Gadbery Coolidge
    Laura Gadbery
    @LauraGadbery

    @bobthompson Indeed. I started homeschooling for mostly those reasons. Then we sent them off to college hoping they can articulate what they stand for and not be easily swayed. One down, two to go. I hope they are known by their fruits and not their protesting abilities. ;)

    • #14
  15. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Laura Gadbery (View Comment):
    @bobthompson Indeed. I started homeschooling for mostly those reasons. Then we sent them off to college hoping they can articulate what they stand for and not be easily swayed. One down, two to go. I hope they are known by their fruits and not their protesting abilities. ?

    Well, this was our hope. But now it turns out that this is no longer allowed in many of our universities. Many on Ricochet admit to not being able to use their actual names because they may become unemployable for their political positions. The SPLC is designating Christian organizations as ‘hate groups’. We are now in a real fight. Keep up the good work.

    • #15
  16. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Excellent post, and welcome to Ricochet, Laura.  We’re happy to have you.

    • #16
  17. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Laura Gadbery: Work on your own little corner of the world and look at the bigger picture in your own sphere of influence, because very little of what’s going on in Washington, DC, is of no concern when all is said and done. Take it from me and mom, no matter where your political loyalties lie, everything is going to be okay.

    ^ This. Thank you. And welcome!

    • #17
  18. Laura Gadbery Coolidge
    Laura Gadbery
    @LauraGadbery

    @randyweivoda @midge Thanks so much! Happy to be here.

     

    • #18
  19. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    In 2012 when I found out my (then) 86 year-old mother was voting for Obama over Romney, I told her we’d use that as evidence against her at her competency hearing.  She laughed, and we haven’t discussed politics since.

     

    • #19
  20. Laura Gadbery Coolidge
    Laura Gadbery
    @LauraGadbery

    @miffedwhitemale That made me laugh so loud I scared the dog!

    • #20
  21. dnewlander Coolidge
    dnewlander
    @dnewlander

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Our public education system and our universities have really let us down and taken advantage to use those institutions for political indoctrination.

    John Dewey’s goal from over a century ago. Leftists play the long game.

    • #21
  22. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Welcome Laura, glad to have you and your refreshing attitude. Sorry about your mom being taken way too soon.

    • #22
  23. Laura Gadbery Coolidge
    Laura Gadbery
    @LauraGadbery

    Aww, thanks @kayofmt– it was too soon for sure. I appreciate the welcome!

    • #23
  24. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    In 2012 when I found out my (then) 86 year-old mother was voting for Obama over Romney, I told her we’d use that as evidence against her at her competency hearing. She laughed, and we haven’t discussed politics since.

    I guess it wasn’t for the birth control.

    • #24
  25. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    I noticed the impact on Democrat leaning friends and relatives of the constant exposure to liberal media when I’d come back to the country every few years.  They were pulled into a radical stance on most issues without realizing  that they had drifted to the far left  while the rest of us had the same views about the constitution, the economy and traditional values and understandings on most things.  It kept getting worse.  There’s no pulling them back unless they’re young.  I try to ignore political and even cultural issues at least to the extent they touch on partisan politics. It’s best to just ignore the topic, but that’s not always possible.  My brother is a political junkie as much as I am, so  I find that a non partisan focus on basic policy problems and solutions is possible and on crony capitalism.  Of course  it makes me feel a little less pusillanimous when I point out that  the crony in question, almost always a Democrat supporter, was made possible by the administrative state fostered by big government liberals from both parties.   I don’t call them liberals, just corrupt political elite.  But even this one can’t take very far, after years of exposure to the media without compensating reading and exposure some minds just don’t work well.  I guess that’s why there was a liberal bias in the first place that made them open (Sowell’s “Visions”) to nonsense.

    • #25
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    I Walton (View Comment):
    crony capitalism

    No such thing. One either has capitalism or cronyism. The two are mutually exclusive. The use of this phrase is a lie to denigrate capitalism.

    • #26
  27. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    That’s a sad, bittersweet story in so many ways, but mostly personal. Everything you said politically speaking could be repeated in nearly every household, because that’s what has happened to politics and common sense. Everything you said personally should be said in every household – before it’s too late.  Thank you for such a powerful post – and do yourself a favor, ditch Twitter….

    • #27
  28. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Arahant (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    crony capitalism

    No such thing. One either has capitalism or cronyism. The two are mutually exclusive. The use of this phrase is a lie to denigrate capitalism.

    I told you I’m old, we used to call it a mixed economy.

    Edit: that’s where those with input inside the beltway get the feds to impose regulations and other barriers to entry, mostly in the form of costs, to reduce competition,

    • #28
  29. Laura Gadbery Coolidge
    Laura Gadbery
    @LauraGadbery

    @frontseatcat Thanks for the comments. You are so right. I wish I had just made an all-out effort sooner. If I knew then what I know now….Also, I would ditch Twitter if I wasn’t a social media coordinator. I have kept a low profile and made my account public a little over a year ago after joining in 2012 just to figure it out. I love the mute and block features.  And yes, my employer knows my political viewpoints. ;)

    • #29
  30. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Arahant (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    crony capitalism

    No such thing. One either has capitalism or cronyism. The two are mutually exclusive. The use of this phrase is a lie to denigrate capitalism.

    Actually it was a thing and capital was private but it wasn’t a market economy.   It was various stages of mixed. It was first used to describe Marcos’s Philippines, where all sectors were organized under one or another of his cronies who used monopsony to control producers and suppliers.   But all economies use capital and most of that capital is owned by private people.  It’s just not a good word it derives from Marxists.  We don’t have a good word only phrases,  perhaps free market under the rule of law is what we mean so we use capitalism because our enemies do.  But nothing is pure nor widely understood, not even “markets” or mixed economy.    Where ever there is mercantilist past,  regulation or subsidies or tax rates so high Congress must carve out deals,  there will be cronies.  Now we just use it for specific  examples of corruption and we’re deeply corrupt and on purpose so it pretty much describes our economy.

    • #30
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