On Being a Republican Parent

Bear with me a moment here. I’d better leave a note for my (grownup) kids here, even though I’m pretty sure they don’t read this blog. Mom is still as left liberal as she always was and she still wishes we still had that last family still living in the White House. But sometimes, you just have to talk to people who don’t believe as you do. (We call that diversity, inclusion, and equity, and I know you believe in those too. No matter how you vote.)

This morning I heard a story on the news. It’s been seven months since those children coming over the southern border of the US have been separated from their families. Seven. Whole. Months. They gave an example of a four year old, now completely regressed. And I thought of you, when you were mere babes and I was a La Leche League group leader, helping moms get even closer to their babies. I used to tell the story of how Great Britain changed its policy on parents visiting children in hospitals, based on a study of the long-range, damaging results of a once-a week parent visiting policy. You may be neither rich nor famous, but you grew into wonderful, caring adults. You care about people. You help them. You even make sure animals are taken care of. That’s because you have retained your capability, given you at birth, to connect with people. This poor four year old has given up on ever getting caring, so is unlikely, even with years of therapy, to attain that birthright.

Last night, I heard some other news, which, if you heard it, probably didn’t make you jealous. You just aren’t like that. Yes, it was the current president and some data on what his father gave him. But I hope you – like me – treasure more the ability to care, to love, to feel connection.

So now to the lesson, and it comes from your great-grandmother of blessed memory (on my father’s side), who adored you so much. This is what she would say to Republican parents who are still supporting this unconscionable act of what many have termed ‘soul murder.’

In her heavily accented English, she would use as many words as she knew, and then revert to her first language, Yiddish. Fun fact: Yiddish is a spoken language, so there is no one correct spelling. (I don’t want a lot of comments from editors who will argue forever over this…) I will write it as I heard it.

I can even hear her saying it: “Have you no rachmunus?”

There isn’t even an official translation for rachmunus, although some people will say pity. It is more than pity. It is humanity. It is sensibility. And it is proof that we – or at least most of us – have a soul.

Please find yours and act accordingly.

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