This past weekend, I was thrilled by a long overdue visit from my eldest son. It had been almost a year since we last sat together, and in preparation for a move to Oregon, he had come home to touch base with a few family members and choice friends, that he might not see for a few years yet to come.

The thing about my son and I,  is that when it comes to the world of politics, we often are so diametrically opposed in our thoughts on the matter, that conversations we have are remnant of those you might remember between Archie Bunker and his son-in-law Michael ( the Meathead ) on the old “All in the family” television program.
I have always tried to instill within my children, the concept that they should think for themselves. Teaching them to not follow blindly the campaign slogans, bumper stickers, and most definitely political ads that are all too often either vague or just plain out and out misrepresentations of fact, but instead, to do diligent research and come to their own conclusions on any given candidate, issue of the day, or other life issue that they may be confronted with.
In retrospect, I should perhaps have insisted more that they just follow my train of thought, but that would not have done them justice, nor have been as entertaining at family gatherings.
Our visit began much like our phone calls, a few minutes of niceties, “How was the trip?”, “How’s your sister?”, “How’s your car?”, and then bamm! We suddenly launch into political and philosophical subject matter, that has us digging deep within our own souls, trying to both, understand where the other is coming from, while expressing our own core beliefs and opinions as we sailed along from topic to topic in near seamless fashion.
Happily, we do at least respect each other’s opinions enough to not allow our discussions, no matter how heated they may become, to evolve into attacks of sarcasm or insult against each other. ( with the exception of the customary ” Damn Berkeley Education! ” comment from me.  He actually went to UNO!  ) However, I do feel that if I had been blessed less with striking good looks and a little more with the ability of a telepath, I would surely have heard an occasional ” Dad you’re an idiot” , or ” How did I ever spring forth from this man’s loins?” coming from my loving son.
We understand our differences. He with his youth and exposure to our all too often leftist higher education facilities, has developed a rather liberal yet educated stance to most issues, while I under the guise of age, life experience and a more nostalgic feel for the small town USA mentality, have found myself heading down a more conservative path. It is the typical “You young guys are full of crap and just don’t know yet!” versus the ” You are living in the past old man, and your generation has screwed it all up! ”  Your basic Father and Son difference of philosophy.
This battle of will and wits went on for hours that first day of his visit. Each citing “this” historical relevance or “that” fact, to quantify the point we were making, all the while threading the needle of challenge and amusement.
I know from the many such conversations we have had in the past, that the likeliness that we would come to some major agreement was about as slim as the chance that Charlie Sheen is going to be able to pass a coke dealer or porn star without inviting them into his hotel room, so ending in a joint celebratory hug of reconciliation of conscience was not in the cards.
What I was pleased to find however, was a new realization, one that I had always hoped was embedded there somewhere, hidden away like bigfoot in a deep cavern, or sub-terrainian UFO’s hidden just out of sight, or even a realistic honest budget from Mr. Obama, but had still questions of it’s existence due to the various and deep divides in ideology we have experienced through the years.
There I stood, ladle in hand, deep in debate and stirring his “welcome home” spaghetti sauce, in a manner that would likely turn it’s chunky base to puree’, when a sudden epithany breached our discourse.
Halfway through our individual dissertations about the Founding Fathers, applying their vision and conceived plans for America, against the America we both are witnessing now, ( and over the recent past history ), and as sauce splattered against the back wall of the stove,  my son and  I realized that regardless of our individual perceptions of the past, present and process, We both were in favor of, and hopeful for,  a renewed application of Government more in line with our Founders’ “intent” as opposed to the manner in which administrations and Congresses have misapplied or totally rejected such Intent for most recalled history.
My son and I!  Two islands of firm indignance, sharing battled tsunami waves of opinion and philosophy, finally agreeing on something. A shared belief that if this country was ran and had been ran more in line with the “Intent” of our founders, regardless of their personal and human failings, Many if not most of our problems would be minimalized, or somehow removed altogether.
Not an awful amount of agreement within this our total package of debatable subject matters, but a small and basic step towards furthering both, the understanding of each other, and from just exactly where do we derive our beliefs.  A salty tear of hope for all of mankind filled my tomato sauced eyes, and at that point , – A Father Smiled!

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