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Friday, Oct. 7, 2006 | So I had the pleasure recently of meeting a voiceofsandiego.org reader who freely admitted he never read this column.
“Ah, your column is about parenting. I’m more into the political articles.”
“That’s cool,” I said. The last thing I want to do is make someone feel guilty. Actually, it’s the first thing I want to do, but in these situations I hold myself back. “However, I personally feel parenting is one of the most political things we can do – even more than vote.”
“I don’t know if you have kids but it’s all about negotiation and compromise. This, to me, is politics in its essence.”
“I suppose,” he said, humoring me, the humor columnist.
“Seriously, if you can convince a 3-year-old to do something they don’t want to do, you can easily talk sense into Mike Aguirre.”
“Maybe,” he said, adding, “Is that my cell phone ringing?”
“No, it’s not. Did you know that Freud felt the family was the basic unit of civilization?
Well, politics is simply a vehicle set up to reach all these units and to convince them of what they need to do to satisfy the greatest good.”
“You make sense there but I think I see my bus.”
“You drove here, remember? Anyway, the politics of parenting begins with sex – perhaps, the most political act of all. It requires two parties manage to agree on something together while each side brings something to different to the table. For instance, one person might be offering dinner or a lifetime of financial security, while the other might be offering tenderness and devotion. If neither party is aware of what the other will do, the whole deal gets screwed in a manner of speaking.”
“In a manner of speaking. Oh, they just announced my license plate on my favorite radio station. I better call in and win.”
“You were supposed to do that 20 minutes ago. Anyway, the decision to become a parent – or not, is a truly political act. Some people do it because they’re told it’s their civic duty. Others do it to improve their station in life – say the undocumented workers who want their kids to be U.S. citizens. Still, there are others, who decide not to have kids because they don’t believe it’s a safe world. Each one of those decisions is a political act.”
“You may be on to something. Oh, I’m getting a message on my Blackberry.”
“Look, I know parenting sounds like a dull road to squaresville and there is nothing worse than hearing someone talk about how it’s the most amazing thing that’s happened to them. It’s not for everyone. I often wonder if it’s for me. But gun ownership isn’t for everyone either, nor is driving a car. But each one is a statement of exercising personal freedom. Being a parent is saying to the world, in a genetic sense, I’m here and I’m not going away for at least one more generation.”
“Hey, do you know Scott Lewis? Man, I read his stuff all the time.”
“Yes, he’s as nice as he is smart. And you know he’s smart. Anyway, as I saying, having kids is a political act and if you don’t believe me, take a look at the movers and shakers in this state. Phil Angelides never would have been voted to be the Democratic sacrificial lamb – I mean gubernatorial candidate – if he hadn’t had his three babealicious daughters doing his commercials for him. Notice what happened when he ditched them and went at alone? He dropped in the polls.”
“They WERE pretty cute.”
“And that’s before they were legal. Now, take a look at this Chargers stadium deal. It’s all going to depend on how much it costs our kids. And when all is said and done, all the discussion about Doug Manchester’s proposed Navy building is basically going to come down to one question: ‘What about the children?”‘
“What about Andrew Donohue? What’s he like?”
“Really cool guy. Good at explaining arcane information in an interesting way. All the members of voiceofsandiego.org are cool people. Anyway, what I’m saying is that parenting is political because at some point, every decision comes down to ‘What about the children?’ Should the seals be allowed at Children’s Pool? Well, let’s ask the children. Should gay people be allowed to be married? Maybe, it depends on how it will affect the children. What about this here pension crisis? Well, the folks receiving pensions are just trying to feed their children.”
“You know who I always liked? Neil Morgan. Man, I grew up on his column.”
“He’s a remarkable man. His wife is very nice too. I hear they’re working on a book together as well. But here’s the deal: Politicians talk about kids in these general terms but don’t really get specific. Like you never hear Mike Aguirre say, ‘My child is really smart but, man, does he have a temper’ and you never hear Jerry Sanders say, ‘I am so proud of my two daughters but I fear they’re catering too much to the popular crowd and letting Ronne Froman’s kid do all their homework.”
“Ha ha. That’s great. Hey, do you guys at the voiceofsandiego.orgever go out drinking together?”
“Maybe the other staffers do. But I really can’t. I have two kids.”
“Oh yeah. You’re that parenting columnist.”
David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer who has yet to change his voter-registration to that area. He can be reached at email@example.com