Elijah and Grandpa

“Grandpa,” asked six-month-old Elijah yesterday, “who’s George Bush?”

IMG_8782 Elijah

Elijah and Grandpa

“Which one, Elijah?”


“Yes, but there are two Georges. Both were presidents of our country. There’s George H.W. Bush, who is now 94 years old, and there’s his son, George W. Bush. Which one do you mean?”

“The old one. The one like you, Grandpa.”

“Why are you asking about poor old George, Elijah? He’s not doing well. He’s gotten a little feeble.”

“What’s feeble? My baby sitter says George is a dirty old man like Garrison Keillor, Al Franken, President You-Know-Who — Marissa told me never to say the President’s name in her presence or she’d throw me out of day care — or that judge down in Alabama, but NOT like Jimmy Carter! Who’s Jimmy Carter?”


Former President Jimmy Carter

“Oh, my, Jimmy Carter! I almost forgot. Jimmy was president too. Way back before George H.W. Bush. People made a big deal out of it when jimmy said he’d lusted in his heart. But, so far as we know, he didn’t harass anyone. That was a long time ago! Way before your time. It seems ages ago.”

“We want to be like Jimmy, right Grandpa?”

“Jimmy Carter would be a wonderful person to emulate, Elijah. But remember, even Jimmy’s not perfect. None of us is perfect. I want you to grow up to take responsibility for your own behavior and follow the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.”

“So Jimmy’s a lot different from President You-Know-Who, right Grandpa?”

“He’s pretty special, Elijah. A professor named Ted Gup wrote about the difference between President You-Know-Who and President Carter last year in New Republic. Here’s what he said, Elijah.

“Unlike Carter’s words, Trump’s suggest a man incapable of looking inward, of feeling shame, humility, or love. That such a purposefully divisive figure could represent the best hopes of tens of millions of Americans, even as he revolts and alienates tens of millions of others, speaks to the yawning chasm that divides the nation politically and culturally. What comes to mind is the question that once brought down another demagogue, Joe McCarthy, more than 60 years ago: ‘Have you no sense of decency, sir?'” [“On the Subject of Lust, Donald Trump Is no Jimmy Carter,” New Republic, Oct. 10, 2016].

“Hmmm. Grandpa, who was Joe?”

  • Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, December 1, 2017.






12 thoughts on “Elijah and Grandpa

  1. I’m way behind here; catching up is not the word, it’s catching back (or something). Anyway, the shoe can be on the other foot. BJ has a friend whose son was accused, but she says she doesn’t believe it. The kid is just not like that, and she’s a good judge 9 (she knows the boy well too). It really hurt, though apparently most of his friends don’t think he did it.


  2. I heard some of the second half of NPR’s Fresh Air on Nov. 30th, and at least one of the guests being interviewed talked about some of what Mona brings up. That may have been a small part of the broader discussion, but I was intrigued and made a note to go back and listen to the whole thing. You two might like to listen to that as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Mary, how good to hear from you! I will go back and listen to Fresh Air. It troubled me that there is so little interest, curiosity, inquiry into the deeper question of what lies beneath the wave that’s swept other news away. American culture has a love-hate relationship with sexuality and its boundaries. Women become either the Virgin Mary or a whore; men become Jesus or Satan. Okay, that’s a little over the top! But most things today are over the top.

      If you haven’t yet seen today’s Washington Post article about amping up the volume to 11, it good. Really good.

      Thanks for you comment, Mary. i’ll listen in on NPR’s Fresh Air.


    • I don’t know how to find the link. I do know I’ve been thinking all day about the degrees of informal penalty. Garrison Keillor has essentially been killed — his life work gone in one decision — and do we even know the crime? There are child rapists whose sentences were shorter.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There are, it seems to me, questions such as the one you’ve raised out the consequences fitting the offense. ab. There are questions of justice, the difference between accusation and guilt, similar to a charge and conviction that insure some measure of due process. Workplaces also have policies whereby an employee is issues a first warning for behavior that violates company policy followed by a second, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m concerned. Yes, I’m happy to see women unshackled from the restrictions that prevent speaking out about sexual harassment, but I’m worried about the path it’s taking. Men’s careers and reputations are being destroyed — a powerful and effective penalty that will, I hope, produce powerful changes in respect for women. But just what is the crime? What is sexual harassment? Is there a statute of limitations? Is there room for re-training and forgiveness? I hope we’ll get into exploration that goes deep into the issue.

    Liked by 1 person

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