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We just didn’t talk about politics at our house. Mr. CowGirl and I don’t agree politically, most of the time, so we just don’t discuss things, out loud. Actually, he wasn’t much involved in political things 46 years ago when we married. He was active-duty Navy. His draft number was “2” so he decided to pick for himself which branch to join. He was always going to enlist in something because that’s what his family did–all three of his older brothers, his father, and even his stepmother (she was in the National Guard for several years). He was a biker, in the Navy, basically. The motorcycle was a huge focus of his life, and he was a really great daddy.
He served, but he didn’t voice opinions about government leadership. The one time I knew he had an opinion was when the SecDef made a big change in the enlisted rates that effectively eliminated his active duty position, preventing him from ever achieving a higher rank unless he changed his MOS. He thought about it for many months, and ultimately decided to let his enlistment end, rather than change rates, and he went to work for a military contractor, doing essentially the same work he’d done as a sailor. One factor was that he’d have been gone to sea most of his remaining seven years, and we had five children ages 2-10. This job led him into an amazing career for the next 25 years, and ultimately, he got hired as an employee of the feds and was able to use his military time to add up to an official retirement, a few years ago.
But, during all this time, I was a political animal. I read everything; I listened to radio talk shows; I attended candidate forums wherever we lived. Once when he was in Saudi Arabia camping in the sand with the Marines he worked with, (during Gulf War I; yeah…he ended up traveling quite a bit…). I actually was so upset at the stupid geezers who were picketing with signs outside the base that said, “No blood for oil!” and other nonsense, that I, too, made a sign, and I stood across the street from them. I got lots of thumbs-up and honking from passers-by with it: MY HUSBAND IS OVERSEAS PROTECTING YOUR RIGHT TO PROTEST! I told him about it in a letter and he wrote back telling me how the Marines were very enthused by my actions.
Maybe my failure to openly discuss my political opinions is the reason why all five of our adult children are apparently liberals. This pains me terrifically. Their political affiliations, according to what they post on social media, are all quite associated with the blue side of American politics. I know they heard who I listened to on the radio when they were little. I picked them up from school every day with those opinions being spoken from the car speakers.
But, as they grew older, away from elementary school, they took themselves back and forth, so they weren’t listening anymore. I took them to church–it was hardly a liberal place. Many of our fellow congregants were active-duty military (we always lived near a base) or had served in the military at some point. My children believed in God and Jesus Christ, and served God in their daily lives. Three of them served as Christian missionaries, and one of our daughters used her nursing degree to join the Peace Corps and was assigned to a Muslim country because, “You dress very modestly already, and don’t smoke or drink alcohol.”
Only one of our children was openly rebellious as a teen and gave us quite a lot of grief. But we kept loving him and helped him stay a part of our family. Then, in his early 20s, he finally was able to get someone else to convince him that maybe he needed to treat his depression and his whole life has been much better since.
They are all living totally productive lives. They are raising our grandchildren responsibly–children who were born to married parents. They all have jobs and support themselves. There are several college degrees; one is a Navy vet; no one has ever been arrested. They are kind and considerate to their parents, and they maintain relationships with one another–online mostly — because they live from coast to coast and are spread out in between. Only two of them are still involved in our religion, however.
But…maybe I should have talked more openly about political things with them? Maybe I should have pointed out more directly how much we actually need to stand up for conservative ideals? I lived them! Mostly they did too, so I have been astounded that, now that they are married and grown-up, with some raising kids, they are all voting for the Democrats. I feel like I’ve failed.Published in