Wisdom from My Father

My father is long gone now (which is to be expeced, since I am past 80, myself). He was a man of very few words, which, I have finally begun to learn, is the secret to being listened to. Many of the things he said to me only make sense now, having (hopefully) learned a few things, myself.

He was, for all his working life, in the hospitality trade (for the most part, a waiter and maitre’d) in New York City, and a proud union man. One of the things he told me was that strikes rarely benefit the strikers; he felt that it was all but impossible to recoup wages lost. Like most rational people of his time, he felt his most important role in life was to support his family.

Wars, he always said, were fought over money, irrespective of the patriotic patina governments always painted on them to justify their rationale.

He was never a fan of insurance. Life insurers were basically betting on you to stay alive, so they wouldn’t have to pay. After all, paying out benefits is not part of a good business plan. To this day, I marvel at the chutzpah of these TV ads that promise to replace any of your appliances if a “covered” part or system fails. Somehow, it’s never the one which fails in real life .

The main thing he taught me regarding politics is one I have never made sense of: the Republican Party. (“Roger, the Republicans are the party of the rich; the Democrats are the party of the working man”) . Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is a democracy, the majority rules. Aren’t there more poor people out there than rich folks? If so, the GOP should have been out of the electoral business ages ago. Ya think?

These words were uttered to me in the late 1940’s. The old man had to be wrong. But, guess what? He was right then, and is still right today!

In a previous post, I wondered whether the republic created by our Founders could be kept. I see, in events of the just-completed presidential election, real hope that the present generations want very much to keep it. Although it took a pandemic to do it, much of the Republican voter suppression was shattered, and we got a huge vote total out of it. Yes, it took a long time to count the votes, and an unofficial result finally became available on the Saturday after Election Day (even though our President has not acceded to the inevitable). Counting continues, and the President-elect’s popular vote margin has crossed the five million margin, which constitutes a landslide, given the bitterly divided state of our politics.

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