I have always associated religion as a surrogate father and politics as a surrogate mother. While it may be a psychological theory to conclude this is true of all humanity, in my case it feels authentic.
My father was / is a man of good humor but also a man firmly attached to his beliefs. I am often blasphemous towards religion when writing jokes, but I strongly feel as if there is truth in every religious philosophy, at least as relates to the individual’s life.
Religion is not the problem, since it is the creation of human beings. Respecting a person’s faith is respecting their right to exist and consume, a basic human decency. If God exists, or specifically, a greater consciousness of species exist, then I imagine It to be absurd in Its perspective, at least according to human terms, but perhaps with an ultimate meaning that Life is suffering with knowledge and compassion as an optional take-away.
God, Faith, Eternal Happiness is whatever we say it is; the opposite of material reality, limited only by our imagination. I learned from my father how to rant on my own time, but how to show respect in the formal setting.
My mother was / is emotionally complex. Strong, compassionate and giving of herself, but with a mean streak that follows betrayal or personal attack. She was politically disinterested and emotionally unavailable to anyone who who would violate her trust.
After a lifetime of political disinterest, I gave it a shot. I trusted Obama in 2008, as many did, only to see him sell out and perpetuate war – violent American imperialism which is vastly unreported by the media and rationalized by every “tolerant” liberal in existence.
By 2016, I observed two evil sides of the same coin being tossed around and lost all interest in helping to perpetuate a corrupt system – a system that offers no option except to hurt somebody, somewhere…whether at home or abroad. But as the old mind teaser suggests, “Would you accept a million dollars if it killed someone halfway across the world?” I would say that I would not.
I learned from my mother not to tolerate abuse. To allow others their grief, their testimony, but to never put myself in a position where I could be compromised morally – because the moment you give a person your allegiance, you have lost your moral compass. I learned from my mother the virtue of patience, of detachment; and that sometimes the best way to protest is to flee from a playground of bullies intent on destroying each other. Bipartisan politics is gang warfare, selective cruelty, and I simply don’t have time for any more hate, whether that hate is nationalistic, behavioral or the bigotry of undermining one ideology in favor of another.
I also believe that in symbology, at least in Western civilization, fathers are associated with feelings of protection, strength and resources. Mothers are associated with nurturing, guidance and organization.
And of course, the point of it, how can you ever expect anyone to stop “believing” in their mother or father, who remains “flawed” but ultimately infallible?
The Late Mitchell Warren is the author and producer of The End of the Magical Kingdom Trilogy, coming this December.