| A father, Dad, Daddy, is unique to each son and each daughter. The relationship, based on love and nurturing, is reciprocal. As we grow, we are protected and educated, by our fathers, in the ways of life. The loyalty of an offspring to a father is unswerving. The bond between the two is enduring, withstanding occasional differences of opinion.
As a politician, Patrick Henry said it best. "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
"Father Knows Best" is more than a classic TV series. I may disagree with my father. However, if you disagree with my father--I will defend him. The situation in the United States has become us against the outsiders. Family loyalty is a sturdy stockade.
Father has faults. Being human, he's not perfect. Decisions are made based on the best knowledge of the situation at the time. If we disagree with the outcome, we often defer, because Father knows best. He is wiser because he is older and more experienced.
During my teen years, I was fortunate to have a "Daddy taxi" to transport me to and from the skating rink every Friday and Saturday night. One evening while driving home, a four footed shadow cast its darkness in the illumination of the car's headlights. A microsecond later, "thud" echoed in my head, and I shrieked in horror. I couldn't believe my father had killed a cat. The speed at which the event happened, instantly changed my opinion of my father. He had killed an innocent wandering animal.
If you were to call my father a cat killer, you'd have an argument on your hands. Cats don't belong in the middle of the street. Stopping or swerving a car to avoid a loose, confused animal could result in vehicular damage, injuries, or even human death. Though I thought my father a harsh man at the time, I understand now. I hope you understand too, and won't send me e-mail as a cat hater. I love cats. I love my father.
He died when I was 19. His memorial services were conducted at funeral homes in Houston and Dallas. When my mother and I arrived at the funeral home in Dallas, a gentlemen asked to speak privately with my mother and my uncle. In a musty room with subdued lights and voices, an invisible whirlwind of whispers about non-binding contractual obligations further deepened the despair associated with my father's passing.
The funeral had been pre-paid (funeral insurance), and the Dallas funeral home was not cooperative in fulfilling expectations. My mother wailed as if my father had died a second death. My uncle muttered under his breath, and consoled my mother. On that day, I vowed to obtain a law degree, and drive that damn funeral home out of business. They'd kicked my father when he was down (How more down can you get?), and I was going to get them back. The Bible is full of such tales of vengence.
I never got the law degree. I did, however, have the satisfaction of not only seeing the place go out of business, but also seeing it bulldozed to the ground. Retribution feels good.
President George W. Bush undoubtedly has such loyalties to his father's presidential contribution to history. For years political newscasters and analysts have blasted the former President George Bush for not going all the way in to Bagdad, and finishing off Saddham Hussein and his evil regime when he had the chance.
To some extent, this pending conflict is steeped in paternal retribution. Why would a son with the opportunity and power to finish a job his father started, not take advantage of the it?
Is President George W. Bush capable of discerning the difference--if indeed there is one--between family pride and what's best for the country?
Related article at orion.org: http://www.oriononline.org/pages/oo/sidebars/Patriotism/index_Matthiessen.html