My Grandfather Ronald, the Eisenhower Republican, Supported His Family as a Socialist” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 11 x 15″
I have been reading over my father’s mini-autobiography this week with many questions about the validity of his observations. He is very nostalgic throughout, yearning for a past that he swears by all accounts truly happened. And I believe his memory, though question his interpretations of it. Contrary to his purer thoughts on matrimony, women did get pregnant out of wedlock in 1961. The term “shotgun wedding” was not invented by my generation, nor by millennials downloading the next fab app that will drive them to “interestingness” come hell or cool board game. And his assumptions about how happy women were to aspire to home economics for a god damn lifetime while their husbands flirted with secretaries, hunted slow pheasants and spouted 5th grade newspaper opinions, is downright insulting to millions and billions of daughters we raise today to be free of misogynist child-men who only desire their wives as lifelong pillowcases. My Dad does admit throughout that the old always rebel against the younger generation (rather than the other way around), and I find that introspective to an honorable degree. However, the political labeling of his family while growing up in the 40’s and 50’s is not only questionable, but provides keen insight into today’s mass delusion.
My Dad claims in all seriousness that his dad (my grandfather Ronald) was an Eisenhower Republican, leaning politically toward a new hopeful age of liberty. After WWII, Grandpa Ronald raised his two boys (with the buffer of a completely satisfied woman whose brain was second in command to the high man brain in the family), to be self-sufficient, like he, in every possible endeavor. Being Depression era children, in spring, Grandpa Ronald planted an acre vegetable garden in a residential neighborhood of peers who would rather acquire all produce magically at the new supermarkets, and Grandma Evelyn stocked a basement full of canned preserves in the autumn. They pinched pennies, darned socks, and ate potatoes, while saving an enormous amount of money in their lifetime. Enough to provide all five grandchildren with an undergraduate education, and relative comfort to my dear grandmother who outlived Grandpa Ronald by 22 years.
But here is the rub, and it’s eerily Mao Zedong-ish…
Grandpa Ronald lived his entire adult life dependent on socialism. Sure, he could call himself whatever he wanted—an Eisenhower Republican, lover of freedom and citizen-champion of man’s liberation from tyranny, potato farmer… We can pretend whatever we want to be. But whichever way you look at it, as it pertained to how he acquired a regular income, Grandpa Ronald was a socialist, through and through. Just out of engineering school at Cornell in 1936, he took a job working in the shipyards of the U.S. Navy. From 1941-1945, was cut a paycheck by the U.S. Army working as a field lieutenant under General George Patton, and for the rest of his life he worked as an engineer and planner for the New York State Highway department. Every job he had out of college was subsidized by federal and state taxpayers. That is microeconomic socialism in a nutshell. Every damn seed packet-purchased pea my Dad ate was provided to him by his neighbors, whether they wanted to help, or not. Even good ole Eisenhower, the mass killer turned President, got paid by the good graces of national neighbors. Socialist!
Anyway, I talked to my wife much of the weekend about this realization. It’s quite profound in a political sense. Since I am running for U.S. Congress in 2018, I need to account for my income, which comes solely from my wife’s hard work outside the home. She is employed by the State of New York, therefore all we have accumulated in material treasure, the roof over our heads, the food on our plates, and also the fuel to our furnace, has been subsidized by the good people of New York State. I want to thank you all for this socialism. Our family depends on you.
I have an old friend who works as a corrections officer for the New York State prison authority. Lately he’s been leaning right in his politics. Nope. Unless he quits by this afternoon, he is also a socialist pinko, and a hypocrite to boot.
John Katko, who I believe I’ll be running against for office in 2018, is also so very, very socialist. It cost a heap of taxpayer money to supply his salary and pension, and likewise to put all those feet into army “boots on the ground”, one of his favorite public expressions.
And all you good soldiers at Fort Drum, I have to say, are also tried and true socialists. You could join a non-profit militia if finding the need to keep your politics clean, however, I don’t think meals will be as regular, and you might accidentally hurt innocent people.
The janitors and groundskeepers of local schools, and county and state institutions all over my district, some fireman, every police man or woman, my assemblyman and state senator—all are rank and file socialists!
And that is just how they depend on their living. Like me, they could not pretend their present and future politics without the blessing of a populace that has chosen to shelter, heat, feed, and clothe them for a lifetime.
So, as your future congress person, I would now like to declare a first issue of mine (and I hope yours too!): I admit that I am a reluctant socialist who would advocate to allocate the money out of the U.S. Treasury into securing dignity in old age to our fathers and mothers. Medicaid for all who need it, and the end of for profit nursing care.
Money to dignity, not demagoguery!
Throop for Congress 2018!