You know, my father and grandfather (his father) were, much like those generations in general, really good men. Both were very generous with what little they had. They were both kind, compassionate men that had a habit of being quietly helpful. They believed that people, especially family, were more important than things. Unlike me, I can’t recall ever hearing my father or grandfather ever swear.
They were totally accepting of people that were profoundly different from them, and this was during the time of significant racial tension in the south, where they lived. Race didn’t matter to either of them. They just felt a need to treat everyone the same way: with kindness and respect, and they would help anyone that needed it.
Neither was particularly political, and both had a strong sense of personal faith that they pretty much kept to themselves. They made a habit of doing what they believed in, not really talking about it.
My father solicited funds from his friends and colleagues at work to help put struggling students through college. None of those young people ever had any idea who paid that month’s tuition bill that kept them in school.
My grandfather loved listening to Christian media. It brought him a sense of serenity. Media was significantly different back then.
And, while I would give anything to spend an afternoon chatting with them today, I have to say I’m so glad they are not alive now. I’m so glad that the hate and crazy thinking that courses through the rich, angry, white men in the media today, men like Rush Limbaugh and the Fox “team of mean” didn’t exist when they lived. So many older people today hear a steady diet of hate, fear, unkindness, meanness, lies, and distortions. I wonder how that kind of vile media would have changed my father and grandfather. I shutter to think.
The rich, angry, white men in the media, and the religious hate/political/”evangelical1” machinery have really poisoned the generation of men that came after my father and grandfather with such anger, hate, and greed. For example: Instead of personally helping them, it’s much easier today to see the poor, struggling college students today as “the dependent class” or the moochers, or an opportunity to make a usurious amount of interest .
I’m glad to see more and more people of faith renouncing faith practice that has nothing to do with helping people. I’m delighted that people are standing up to and taking back faith practice from the wickedly hateful evangelicals who want to tell you and me how to live our lives. I’m glad more and more people are seeing through the political party of wealth, greed, and intolerance.
I’m guessing it will take at least a decade to make a significant impact on the damage these greedy politicians and intolerant religious bigots have foist on our country, but I’m glad I see change in the wind. If the Republican party suffers a major set back in the next election cycle (state and federal), I think the nation will be able to get back on track. We need more men like my grandfather and father: just decent men.
1. To me, the term “evangelical” has come to mean forcing others to live they way you want them to live whether they embrace your ideology or not. It’s disrespectful, even hateful. ↩