Yes, Dad's still around. In his 80s now, in middling health (two heart attacks, back surgery, etc) but just as charming and irascible as ever. He still comes over for coffee every Sunday morning, promptly at 9:30.
I have recently again become unemployed. And unlikely to get another (real) job ever. At 61, and with obsolete skills, although I keep looking, it's unlikely I will be really gainfully employed again. I have enough unemployment and savings, thank goodness, to get me through to 62, when I can start drawing Social Security.
He brings me the want ads every Sunday morning. Talks about the shutdown and hates the political theater involved in all of it.
He talks about the future. I said "well I'll be fine IF they don't decide to just gut Social Security". He says "well with the amount of debt we have, I suppose they will need to reform "entitlements" some time - it's unfortunate, but probably necessary." I said "Dad, you know that debt is NOT the problem - the US Mint could print money to take care of the debt." He actually does understand that concept, because he laughs and goes "oh I know - isn't that what the Federal Reserve is doing right now."
He said "the reason people are so upset is no one knows if any of the govt benefits they have will be there in the future (and he should know - his military retirement pension is up for grabs in the shutdown). I said "well Dad, there's a simple answer to all this - just QUIT VOTING FOR REPUBLICANS. THEY'RE the ones who want to take it all away."
He was kind of flummoxed by that and sat thinking for a minute. Then his face lights up a little bit. He said "you know I remember when you were making big money as a programmer and used to complain about how you were getting taxed more than anybody - now you're poorer and you're taking quite the opposite tack."
Haha - well go Dad - he's always been a subtle thinker and a good debater. Now it's true that I did some grousing about taxes back in the day - but not because I didn't think I shouldn't be paying taxes - I just didn't like that as a single person I got taxed more than anybody in my income range. I also didn't like the fact that millionaires in Minnesota were still paying less in tax percentagewise than I was. And actually, when I said that to him, I was pretty much just trying to suck up and throw a sop to his Republican sensibilities. Haha big mistake. Those Republicans never forget and they will come back with something you said 15 (15!) years ago and deck you with it.
So Dad won this round - except he didn't. I pointed out to him that while it's every American's God-given right to bitch about taxes, I never quit voting for the Democrats that wanted me to pay them, because I've always felt it's my duty as a citizen. He felt vindicated though, so he left all happy.
I've always enjoyed sparring with my Dad about politics. Keeps us both sharp. And we never let it get ugly.
Dad, despite being a Republican at heart, voted for Obama both times. He felt the alternatives were awful. But he still wants Republicans to prevail. Just not THESE Republicans. The ones he knew in his youth.
I love the old guy. But I'll be glad if the country ever comes to its senses and quits thinking like that.