Monday, August 1, 2016

Raised Too Right

Summer 2016

"Well, it's down to two candidates now. Hillary or Trump. Not a big fan of Trump, but I hate Hillary."

As I sat comfortably on the couch listening to my dad, I started to think. My father and I have never shied away from respectful disagreements. I continued the conversation.

"I could never vote for her either, but I don't know about Trump, Dad," I said. "He openly advocates for bribery, lies, and treats people despicably. He is a scoundrel and is just plain corrupt."

Dad settled into his favorite chair and sighed. "Sometimes you just have to choose the lesser of two evils. Trump is bad, but he is better than Hillary."

As he continued talking about the evils of Hillary Clinton, I started to stare out the window. My mind wandered back to my childhood...

Summer 1974

On the floor of our postage sized little house, I was playing with my matchbox cars and building a racetrack for my favorite Porsche to race on.  Dad stood up to adjust the rabbit ears on the TV.

"It's official. President Nixon has resigned. The Watergate scandal has finally caught up with the President. After his Vice-President resigned last year due to bribery and extortion charges, the extent of the corruption is now complete in the White House..."
"What a mess," my dad said. " How can we have leaders so crooked? How does this happen?"

Summer 1984

Sitting at the dinner table, Mom passes the bowl of fresh green beans over to me as Dad talks about my brother's 'friends'.  The horrific accident from the prior year has left him debilitated but still resilient. His largest struggle might be the 'friends' who have been making fun of him lately. My dad has zero tolerance for such people.

"You can tell a lot about a person by how he treats people who are handicapped. We don't need those kind of people in our life and anywhere for that matter.

They are the true scum of the earth."

Fall 1984

As my parents are unloading my luggage and getting me settled into my dorm room at a conservative university, I can tell Dad is wanting to sit down and talk. I stop moving and sit.

"I know this school is strict. They are that way for a reason, though. We have talked about the evils of the modern world, what with moral relativism so big. 'It all depends on the situation,' they say. 'Sometimes you have to do the wrong thing if the situation calls for it.' Don't believe it. Don't sacrifice your conscience for such nonsense. I am just a simple man, but I know the truth. These people will help you understand these things even better."

Spring 1987

"Do right! Even if the stars fall, do right!"

The words of the university's founder ring out loudly through the auditorium.

The speaker is playing an old recording of his famous sayings. He continues with another old recording.

"It is never right to do wrong, even to get a chance to do right!" 

Fall 1998

"I can't believe it." my dad growled as we sat around the living room over Thanksgiving watching the Detroit Lions play again.

 "I cannot believe how the country just ignores this whole Lewinsky affair. The man cheats on his wife--in the White House no less-- lies about it, and the country lets him off the hook. Doesn't anybody care any more? What has happened to the morals of this country?! If a man cheats on his wife and lies, what do you think he will do with the country?"

"Christians care," I said.

 "Yeah, but that's it." he quickly countered. "If we stop caring, there will be nothing left to stop the devil."

Summer 2016

"Aren't you listening?" my dad snaps me back to the present.

"I'm sorry," I muttered. "I just don't think I can vote for Trump."

"What? You have to."

"I respect your judgment more than anything, but I just can't."

Grimacing with disappointment, he said,

"Did I somehow raise you wrong?"

I dropped my head thinking,

No, Dad. You raised me too right...

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6