A mother’s haunting words..


Hanging out with my mother is always the highlight of my week. Besides the fact that she curses like a longshoreman, cavalierly offers up life changing words of wisdom, has a morbid sense of humor that makes a world champion asshole like myself blush, has never so much as flinched at my pugilistic approach to life, she also is a willing participant in some of the best conversations that I’ve ever been a part of. Saying that she’s my best friend is obvious to anyone privy to the descent into madness that I call a twitter feed. Anyway, last Sunday, as we sat outside on a bench my brother and I made her a few years back – her downing glasses of red wine and smoking cigarettes, me savoring every moment like a death row inmate about to get barbecued as he eats his last meal – my mother says the following: “Do you ever think the country would be better off if Barack Obama was never elected?” Scrunching up my face and fully positioning my body towards her I said, “Please don’t tell me that you’ve become a black Republican? Because, not for nothing, you coming out as a lesbian Jehovah’s witness would be much easier to deal with.” Grinning she said, “No, let me explain.” Taking a drag off of a cigarette where the ash was longer than the cigarette itself, she continued. “When I look at Republicans trying to get rid of planned parenthood. The all out assault on women’s reproductive rights. The various voter suppression efforts. The union busting. The severe cuts in education. The botched abortion that is austerity. Republicans in Congress and Senate willing to let the economy go tits up in the name of politics. The recalcitrance of Republicans as a whole..” Interrupting her, because the woman could have gone on all day listing all the shitty things that Republicans have done during the President’s first term, with the utmost respect I blurted out “So what are you saying?“. Finally flicking off that ungodly ash at the end of her cigarette, she leaned back, letting out an exhaustive sigh usually reserved for doctors about to inform someone of a terminal illness – she said: “Look, Obama has done a fantastic job. I still support him. I’ll enthusiastically vote for him come November. His list of accomplishments are quite impressive, and he’s killing bad guys like he’s at motherfucking turkey shoot. But..” Cutting her off once again I chime in, “But what?” Then she says, “But so many bigots out there hate him, hate him so much that they are willing to hurt their fellow Americans. Yes, Republicans have shitty ideas – but I don’t think that people would be catching so much hell if he wasn’t elected. It’s like they are punishing people for the sole fact that a black man is in a White House. Because of that, I just wonder if people’s lives would be better if he had never been elected. That’s all, and it really pains me to say that.

What my mother expressed to me on that overcast Sunday afternoon wasn’t exactly a newsflash. I’ve surely thought about some semblance of what she said many times before, but hearing it all together in one sitting rendered a chatty scribe like myself speechless. Not an easy feat let me tell you. But at the end of the day I’m a lot happier that Barack Obama is our President instead of someone else – but at the same time my mother did drop some serious jewels on me, so to say that I disagreed with her theory would be inaccurate. After our discussion we just sat there in silence, her smoking a freshly lit cigarette, me wanting to grab her wine bottle and take it to the head. That’s how much that conversation was haunting me, how much something I would have disregarded out of hand a few months ago admittedly had validity now. It’s the first time since the beginning of my sobriety that I felt like I needed a drink.

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