I have been married to a Republican for almost forty years. I’m not quite sure how that happened. My liberal roots are firmly planted. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and witnessed the turmoil of the civil rights movement through the pages of Life magazine and the nightly news. My family boycotted grapes in support of Cesar Chavez and the farm workers. They voted for Kennedy and Johnson, and didn’t vote for Nixon either for governor of California nor president. I left California to attend college in rural Eastern Oregon in the late 60’s. I was already against the war in Vietnam.
I met my husband in college. He had long hair and wore huarache sandals. He was against the war too. He had a relatively low draft number. When he got his induction notice he was found to be 4-F. After college we entered the Peace Corps. I’m not sure when he became a Republican. I remember him voting for Jimmy Carter, but he says he’s always been a Republican and that was the only time he voted for a Democrat. Most years we cancel out each other’s votes.
On the issues, however, we are more likely to agree than disagree. We both trust women to make decisions about their own bodies. We support stem cell research. And, we believe equality extends to the right to marry for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.
My granddaughters, two and four, are the products of a mixed marriage. Their mother, my daughter, is a Democrat and her husband is a Republican. Their children will, I’m sure, be Democrats…if Nana has anything to do with it!
I’ve already taken them on educational field trips to Democratic shrines including the Clinton Presidential Library and the Johnson Presidential Library. When they are older we will go to the Smithsonian and see the Woolworth’s lunch counter or to the Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis and I will tell them the stories of the fight for equality. I will show them pictures of their grandfather with shoulder length hair at the Vortex Festival It’s not a proud moment in our personal history. We went there rather than protest the war at the American Legion Convention in Portland, Oregon in 1970.
I visited the grandchildren last month. I had taken them to the Goodwill to purchase things for their dress-up box. They both bought wedding dresses. At home they dressed up in their finery and had a tea party. Hunter, the two year old, stated that she was going to marry her sister.
“No, silly” said Megan “Girls marry boys.”
“Some girls marry girls” said their mother.
“No” insisted Megan “Girls marry boys.”
“No,” said their mother “Girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys. People marry the person they love.”
We didn’t get into the discussion about why marrying your sister wasn’t appropriate.
We liberals have a responsibility to teach our children well. I’m grateful to the people who have led the fight for equality. In my lifetime we have made great strides in many areas. Now is the time for all of us to support the fight for marriage equity. Everyone should have the right to marry the person they love.
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