Thursday, September 06, 2007


I just heard my first...and hopefully my last...Fred Thompson speech. About the only thing I can remember about this memorable rhetoric is that Fred wants us all to return to "Old Values." This sounds suspiciously like the "return to morality and integrity" that we have been hearing from the old Republican reprobates for the past six years or so.

"Old Values!" This is a bit like trading in your new rifle for an old blunderbuss! Returning to "old values" just won't happen, and it is a good thing it won't. There was nothing that good about the old values. I know, and I can remember old values very well.

Old values consisted of trying to keep the wolf from the door, and having very little besides oatmeal and corn flour in the cupboard. When I was a girl, my parents worked from sunup until sundown, my father in the barn and the cornfields, my mother in the house and in her garden. My father's skin was leathery and brown from constant exposure to the elements. My mother was bent beyond her years, had one dress in her closet for "good," and damned few rags for "every day." She was very religious and didn't believe in anything that was fun, including dancing, singing anything besides hymns, and even playing cards, which she said was akin to inviting the Devil to dinner.

My father played a fiddle and used to play at square dances. He was accompanied by my mother until she got religion and began believing that square dancing was sinful. Yet, despite her beliefs, every one of her twelve children participated in those forbidden activities, dancing, card-playing, music....and she continued to love them. Even then, the old values of the parents and the new values of the young were vastly different.

What are the Old Values anyway? How does one interpret a Value? Is it sexual morality? We have that today. Many people are happy with their mates and do not wander. Just as happened back in the old days, some people did wander. Things have not changed that much.

We have single mothers today...and single fathers. The difference is, back then there were few single fathers, unless they were widowers, and single mothers were treated like garbage. Their children were called bastards and their legitimacy was even duly noted on their birth certificates, to make sure that this stigma followed them around for the rest of their lives. "Good women" did not allow their children to play with "bastards," so the Old Values caused trauma and lifelong pain to little children. I guess Fred wants to return to all of this.

Crime? We had it back then. There weren't as many people, so the incidents of crime were much less, but it existed. There were rapes and murders and muggings, the same as in today's world. Does Fred Thompson think human nature has changed that much?

Somehow, the idea has taken root that women should go back into the kitchen, don their aprons, forget such modern marvels as birth control pills, and become continuous toys for their husbands' pleasure, pregnant at every turn of the road, born only to please their masters, and...get this...some Christian websites even promote "spankings" as a form of wifely punishment.

I'm not against erotic spankings if that is your thing, but if my husband had ever considered spanking me for punishment, he'd have had a date with a flying frying pan. Of all the ridiculous, sexist and stupid notions, this takes the trophy. This is pure encouragement of spousal abuse, which was a national problem before the Christian Taliban decided women should be subcitizens.

My mother was a slave to poverty, cooking on an old woodstove, canning food for the winter, standing over that stove until her face was a brilliant red and sweat rolled down her brow, mopping, scrubbing, sewing clothes for her household of children, doing laundry in a galvanized tub with Fels Naptha soap scouring the flesh from her fingers, working all day long for her family. Was she happy? No happier than the woman of today, tucking her clothes in an automatic washer, buying her food at the supermarket, and using birth control to make sure she does not have twelve children...and perhaps not as happy. My mother was too busy and burdened with chores to take a moment to think about happiness.

I had an idyllic childhood, give or take a troubled moment or two, but I cannot describe my parents' lives as particularly pleasant, other than the fact that they loved their children deeply. If this is an Old Value, it is still prevalent. Most of us love our children deeply. Occasionally, one reads of people who are brutal to their children. Some have even killed their children. But they are happily in the minority and they are clearly mentally deficient. Perhaps Fred Thompson can think of a cure for that.

I can remember Fred Thompson, very vaguely, in past years. As I recall, he was dating this starlet or that...and then, just today, I got a glimpse of his current wife. Oh, my Heavens, there is hope! This is not a woman to put on an apron and a bonnet and have twelve kids! This one stepped out of the Swimsuit Issue of a Men's Magazine! Old Values must have tumbled by the wayside when Fred met his much younger mate. If Fred by some chance wins the Presidency, some folks have suggested that we will not have a First Lady at all, but instead, they say, we will have a First Bimbo. I would not go that far, of course, but it has been suggested.

Now, mind you, I am not saying that Fred or his mate are immoral or lack integrity. How would I know about that? But then, how has Fred gotten the idea that I am not moral and am without integrity. If he believes I have these virtues, why would he want me to go back to the Old Values? Why wouldn't he want me to stay exactly as I am?

Actually, I think all of these Conservatives love complaining about the movies, television and video games...all of those sinful pleasures we indulge in today. However, both Ronald, Arnold and Fred come from the Entertainment business, so why are they complaining? Evidently the Entertainment business is a great university for budding politicians, or old politicians who have left Washington to try new avenues of exploration!

Why do Conservative politicians always have to insinuate that they, and their followers, are a cut above the rest of the human race? They don't claim that they want to help the poor, make life easier for the Middle Class, or give the rich reasonable, but not ungodly high profits! They do not talk about ways to provide Health Care for the millions of Americans who have none. They do not come up with viable solutions to bringing our soldiers home. They never admit that their cherished leader, George Bush, was not exactly honest with the American public. They never talk about Environmental problems, like those lumber trucks allowed in our National Forests or the almost constant collapse of this coal mine or that! They seldom if ever mention any of this! Instead, they always harp on "old values," "morality," and "integrity."....then sit back with egg on their faces when the indictments roll in or the undercover cop sits on the next toilet stool.

So, shut up, Fred! I am just as good as you are, and I don't need your "Old Values" to be a happy, well-adjusted human being. No way do I want to repeat my Mom's life, as much as I loved her! She worked too hard, Fred, for too many children! She didn't have a minute for herself, and I think we all deserve that.

All we need in Washington is another middle-aged, ego-driven politician, singing the praises of war while shaking his head at the behavior of other people. Reaching back into years of Old Values, I remember a phrase my mother used to quote when one of us would "get too big for our britches."

"Look the beam in your own eye," she would say. "Remember the people who lived in glass houses!"

So, check out your own values, Fred, and don't keep bleating about mine, or that Glass House may just end a shattered pile of broken shards.