among the many black-and-white world war two movies i remember watching with my father when i was a little girl were a couple i dimly remember as featuring a talking mule named francis. i don't remember much about the mule's adventures, but i do remember being captivated by the mule's name... francis, like my mother's.
when i mentioned this to my mother - upon her return from the beauty parlor - i remember being very taken aback when she bellowed: I AM NOT A MULE - and my name is FRANCES with an E!!
yesterday i learned from my sister - my phi beta kappa sister - that our mother went to washinington, to protest obama's health care policy.
two things leaped to mind: one of jesus's last sentences on the cross, and a vision of Frances the Talking Mule.
there are two kinds of people who oppose the idea of health care for everyone, ive decided: the angry and the scared. my mother isn't angry (unless of course she thinks you're somehow implying she's a mule)... my mother's scared. what saddens and ashames and appalls ME is how my mother doesn't understand that she's become a mule in the worst sense of the word - no matter how we spell her name. she IS a talking mule - a talking mule for a party and a set of convictions hijacked by the worst kind of racists, power-brokers and fear-mongerers the world may ever have seen.
and the trouble is, my mother doesn't know it. unlike francis the talking mule, my mother has no clue. she doesn't seem to realize that what she believes has been twisted and altered into a monstrous weapon of greed and deceit. these are not republicans in the tradition of lincoln, or conservatives in the manner of edmund burke. these are tyrants, masquerading as sheep. they have put on christian garb, they cloak themselves in the pages of the gospels, they mouth words jesus would never have said on his longest day, and they've scared a lot of people.
and they've turned my mother into Frances the Talking Mule.
to paraphrase jesus - whose work my mother most sincerely tries to do - i'm trying to forgive her... because i know she really doesn't know what she's doing.
and furthermore, the War will end. blessed be.