In my newspaper days, I seldom accepted anonymous solicitations. But, this isn’t a newspaper and, occasionally, some people who need to stay behind the scenes still have an opinion to express — and the eloquence to express it. So, here is the first anonymous submission to Milam Blues.
Would Grandpa be a Republican?
I don’t know what my Grandpa’s political party was before he was starved off the land and went to pick cotton.
Before his wife wore her best Sunday clothes, some old ripped overalls with one side longer than the other, to take their family photo by the side of a cotton field.
I don’t know what he thought about rich folks before his baby died at home, too poor for hospitals, April of ’35; Before mama cut out her hair with her own scissors and cried for that baby every night for six years in those tenement shacks.
Before the dust blew like nuclear war across the plains.
I don’t know what grandpa thought about Republicans before the government gave him a jack hammer and a paycheck, making Texas 6 into a paved road.
Before the government farm programs helped him buy that bottom land from the farmer who made the supreme sacrifice and put a bullet through the top of his head.
I don’t know what he thought before the government sent his later children to school, bought his corn and hogs and made him from a day laborer into a respectable citizen. Before he became a Deacon at the Baptist Church and proclaimed that no one should suffer again as Christ suffered. Before his government taxed the soulless corporations, broke their monopolies, began the old-age pension, provided healthcare to the aged and infirm.
I don’t know what he thought before October of 1929, when the corporations ruled our nation as they now do again. But I know one thing in solemn certainty, Grandpa would shake his head in visible pain if he heard these young, rich Republicans who claim Christ but follow him none too closely.
If someone suggested we “just let ’em die if they can’t afford healthcare,” I think he’d have used his giant, calloused hands to remove any doubt about where he stood. Tell that to man who lost a child, a real human baby with painful cries and little, curled fingers, to the goddamned system the Republicans want to restore.
Grandpa left a better world. He often said the only thing good about the “good old days” is that they are now gone. Replaced by a more just world, a fairer world. For how long? Until no one alive remembers what it was like before, is my guess.