Do you know what I’ve discovered? Parents are constantly under surveillance. We’re not being watched by the CIA or the FBI (well, maybe some of you are, depending on how crazy your behavior got in the 60s), but we’re being monitored by our children when they think we’re not looking. Before you decide I’ve lost my mind, think about the last time you spent any extended amount of time with your grown children. Didn’t you notice them staring at you—watching your every move as if they expected you to self-destruct before their very eyes, and for the most part, looking absolutely scandalized at you as they thought: “Oh, my God, did you see that; have they lost their freakin’ minds?”
Image from forparentsbyparents.com
. . . Or: “Oh, Lord Jesus, the Poor Rents—I knew all that pot-smoking from their college days would catch up with them sooner than later.”
Image from baby-cute.com
My husband and I were recently made aware of the scrutiny of our adult children in our lives when we went to visit our younger daughter and got lost at every single meeting point the entire weekend, even though we’ve visited the city multiple times. Baby-girl was so mortified at our mishaps that she told every friend who would listen about our crazy missed exits and off-ramps. I just know she is secretly checking out nursing homes in her area in case we show other signs of incompetence and brain fogginess, and she’ll be forced to commit us.
I blame last weekend’s mishaps on the fact that WW and I have lost our inner traveling compass. For the past five years or so, we haven’t left home without an electronic GPS system, but we didn’t have one in the rental car and that’s where all the mayhem began. We no longer know how to function on our own. Without a GPS our instincts fail us. We have lost our personal compass.
Because I was “Oprah” long before Oprah was Oprah, I did what I frequently do and turned last weekend’s “lost in Minneapolis” debacle into an “A-ha” moment when a mother in a minivan full of kids flipped me the bird because she thought I didn’t turn fast enough. (Who gives you “the finger” in front of their kids?) My A-HA moment: Losing one’s traveling compass is akin to losing one’s moral compass, so that when we’re stressed, fearful, or angry we lose our way as humans and crap all over each other. But Houston, when this happens, we have a problem because the children are watching. (Look out Oprah!)
So this week, I reviewed the most uncivil acts committed by high-profile people (and some not so high-profile), and I sent them a short note with a picture of a particular type of child they may have influenced with their gnarly behavior.
Gov. Jan Brewer Disrespecting the POTUS||File photo/Google Image
Dear Gov. Jan Brewer: Rumor has it that at the Republican Party’s annual Flag Day fundraising dinner in Irvine, AZ,you gleefully posed with an admirer while recreating your infamous, classless and tasteless action against the President on the tarmac in Phoenix a while ago. The back-drop pictures on stage were two oversized photos of your now slovenly act against the President with the words: “You go, girl!” Some say it was racist the first time you did it (I said it was a low-class way to up the sales for your book). But I say, now that you’re taking your wagging-finger show on the road, it’s not only racist, but it is damn contemptuous of the Office of the President. Get over it, woman, the intelligent, sophisticated, Harvard educated, “not-scared-of-you” black man won the election and does not ask “how high?” when you say jump. That’s all she wrote, Gov. I also read that you consider yourself to be a born-again Christian, so I thought, as a “sista in Christ,” I’d school you on the lesson you taught to the likes of Arizona’s “Bad-ass Baby, Clive Jr.” (picture included). Baby Clive was watching your finger action and emulated your spirit which elevated him and you right up there to the top of the list of what Jesus would not do (WJWND). Sista Jan, remember that scripture that says: “Woe to you who cause these little ones to stumble”? Yikes, wouldn’t want to be you when Arizona’s kids grow up!
Outhouse labeled as Obama’s Presidential Library that was painted to look like it was riddled with bullet holes and proudly displayed to a laughing, cheering crowd in Montana.||AP Photo
“Inside (outhouse), a fake birth certificate for “Barack Hussein Obama” was stamped with an expletive referring to bovine droppings. A message in the structure gave fake phone numbers for Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi “For a Good Time.” By Dana Milbank/The Washington Post
Dear Head of Montana’s GOP convention: Wow, remind me never to visit Montana. As a “Negro” and a woman, my ass would be grass! Come on Repubs—have you no mothers, sisters, or female cousins? Do you not have one black (light-brown) person in Montana? And here we go again dissing our (your) President and his Lady in the most disrespectful way. It’s like you’re itching to have a bunch of black people come to Montana and beat the shit out of you just to make you give the Prez some respect. But then we’d be no better than you, so we’ll keep following the President’s gracious example and “turn the other cheek.”
I read that Congressman Dennis Rehberg and Newt Gingrich were on-site and neither one of them said a word in protest of the Outhouse. (I wonder how they would have reacted if it had been them and their wives?) You’re bullies—no more, no less. Truth is that I have no idea what will happen to the lives of the people you stuck in your toilet (maybe you will get your wish, although I doubt it), but I do know that you’ve been responsible for setting back the education and citizenship in the family of man of Montana’s children by about 100 years because your babies are watching and learning from you.
Karen Klein, Elderly School Bus Monitor||AP Photo
“A widow of 17 years and a grandmother of eight, Karen worked as a bus driver in Greece, New York for 20 years, and has been a bus monitor for the last three years. Her duty is to ride in the bus with students, making sure that they behave themselves on the route to and from school for which she gets paid around $15,000 annually.” Posted by Charles Wuckland
Dear Pack of Thirteen-Year-Old Boys from Greece, NY who took it upon themselves to torment a sweet, hard-of-hearing Grandmother: Now let me get this straight, children. According to all the news reports, you said the following hateful things to a sweet old lady who had never done anything to you, except try to keep you safe:
Oh, my God, you’re such a fucking bitch!”
“You are such a fucking troll!”
(After poking Mrs. Klein): “Your reflexes are so slow, you freakin’ fat bitch.”
“You’re so ugly, you should commit suicide.”
“You don’t have a family because they all killed themselves because they didn’t want to be near you.” (The worst part of these taunt boys is that Mrs. Klein’s son did kill himself ten years ago.)
And to all this Mrs. Klein replied as she was crying: “I am a person, too. I shouldn’t be treated this way.”
Dear Parents of the 13-year-old future terrorists, Gov. Jan Brewer, the Tea Party, the Birthers, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, Fox News, Andrew Breitbart’s friends, the preachers praying “imprecatory prayers of death” against those who disagree with them (California preacher Drake says he’s praying for death of President Obama while another preacher has burned his body in effigy), and all the nameless haters and bullies like the ones who built the “Obama Outhouse Presidential Library:”
Haters: I give you your children.
Children: I give you your teachers!
I am discovering that regardless of what the politicians and the news pundits tell us, it is not the economy, stupid. It is our ability to remain a civil society in the midst of hard times and be our “brother’s keeper” that matters. Yes, times are hard, but we’ll get through them if we stick together and don’t adopt the Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged attitude of the Tea Party, “I’ve got mine, too bad it sucks for you,” as the Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush once wrote. Where are our leaders (especially on the Republican side) who will stand up and say enough is enough? I may not agree with your politics, but I regard you as a fellow citizen, a child of God, born with the right to exist, and I will listen to your “civil” discourse and treat you in the way I want to be treated. Besides, some of my best friends are Republicans.
Dear Repubs (yes, I’m singling you out because I don’t recognize you anymore, and I used to be a Republican): Don’t give me that childish excuse that the Dems said awful things about President Bush (since when did two wrongs make a right, children?). And don’t even try to give me that teenager’s excuse that everybody else is doing it, and you can’t control certain elements of your party. Tell that to your god, because People, our kids are watching and they are going to “lose their way” just like us! If we don’t hurry up and change our compass to due North, we’ll save the economy and leave the country to a bunch of fat and sassy racists, terrorists, homophobes, misogynists, and heartless cretins. Are you listening, Mitt?
(“Suffering from disgust of grownups?”)||Piclac.com
“When once the forms of civility are violated, there remains little hope of return to kindness or decency.” Samuel Johnson
“The uncomfortable truth is that if we are to solve the difficult problems we face as a national community, we must act affirmatively and with courage and clarity to reclaim civility in the public square. Civility is quite simply the glue that holds us together and allows us as citizens of a representative democracy to dialogue with each other.” Cassnadra Dahnke, Tomas Spath, Donna Bowling (Institute For Civility In Government)
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”—Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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