Thursday, July 01, 2010

Hey momma, look sharp


Lately, Sarah Palin has given up on comparing herself to a pit bull with lipstick, and has instead employed a "mama grizzly" analogy.  I'm not sure how she, and the people who pay to hear her speak, are like female grizzly bears, because she did not elaborate.  She never elaborates.  I don't think she knows how.

If I were to give her the benefit of the doubt, which I suspect she relies upon pretty heavily, I would speculate that she is invoking a protective ferocity regarding one's offspring, which I am not against out of hand.  In fact, I admire female bears generally for their willingness to die in order to save the lives of their cubs.  Although I should point out that these are actual cubs, mind you, not pre-cub fetuses still in-bear-utero.

What Palin doesn't mention, of course, because I think she can only utter variations on 3 or 4 sentences per event, is that male grizzlies will kill, and even eat, grizzly cubs, even if they were fathered by him.  So I'm guessing that Todd won't be invoking any "papa grizzly" comparisons any time soon.

Parenting is not easy, and lord knows that you encounter plenty of bad examples, usually right in front of you on line at the supermarket.  When I used to wait tables, I saw all kinds of parenting on display in the restaurant, including the kind where toddlers were basically set loose in our dining room as if it were their own private play room.

Of course, the inevitable occurred one day, and a child was injured as a result.

The child, a four-year-old boy, ran full steam out of the restroom and straight into the legs of a server in the hallway who was carrying one of those giant trays absolutely loaded with dishes. And although the waiter actually had the agility and the presence of mind to regain enough control of the tray to slam it into the wall with the dishes trapped between the wall and the tray, rather than let the whole kit and caboodle fall on the boy’s head, one small dish from the tray did fall on his head, causing a one-inch bruise under one eye.

Of course, the parents sued the restaurant.  I don't even have to tell you that, do I?

They were also very nasty to the waiter, which struck me as particularly vile, since it was his fast thinking that kept 50 lbs. of heavy-duty stoneware from raining down upon their offspring’s little fontanelle.

Don’t get me wrong, I also saw some exemplary parenting in the restaurant. I once saw a woman dining alone with her toddler look at the menu and exclaim loudly "Look, Geoffrey!  They have salade Ni├žoise!" Think how differently your life might have turned out if your mother had done that for you!  Also, many times, I saw parents tell unruly children that if they didn’t behave, then they would have to leave the restaurant. And once, I saw a parent actually follow through on that threat.

The thing is, when you see parents who think their children can do no wrong, and then you see parents who are really dedicated to making sure their children grow up to be good members of society, you may have vastly different views of their parenting skills, but you don’t generally doubt, at least not on that criterion alone, that they love their kids. They all love their kids, right?

I would venture to say that there are those out there who maybe even think that the conscientious parents might love their kids a tiny bit more.  Because they are willing to take the heat and work just a little harder.

And yet how funny that the Democrats, the ones who are willing to give this overgrown bully of a country a little tough love, a little correction, we are the ones who are said to not love the U.S.A. Because we criticize the country we are raising up, we therefore do not sufficiently love it.

Yeah, see what I did there? Y’all didn’t even know you were mid-metaphor, didja?

Look, I fucking love my country as much as the next guy. I love it as much as that meathead in line behind me at the hardware store with the Toby Keith t-shirt and the Bush/Cheney sticker on the rear window of his 4x4, whether he thinks so or not. Because I’m there, buster, buying mulch for my front yard so it looks well-kept and the property values stay up and the gangs don’t move in and your kids still feel safe cutting down my street on their way to school.

And I’ll be there in that voting booth, whenever the state needs to authorize another bond to pay for their education. Even though I don’t have kids myself and it means higher taxes for me - I’ll be there.

I’ll be there wherever there’s the LAPD beating an immigrant protester. I’ll be in the way gays yell when they’re angry that they can't marry the one they love. I’ll be in the way people say yes to their doctor, even though they know what he's about to do will send them to the poorhouse. And I’ll be in the way soldiers fight back their tears as they unload the coffins from overseas in the dead of night, so that no one can see the cost that we pay for this war that we’ll never win and this victory that we'll never have. I’ll be there, too.

I’ll be everywhere. Because I love my country. And I’m not giving it up without a fight.