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Jewish World Review May 11, 2001 / 18 Iyar, 5761

Dave Shiflett

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Letter From the Bush: Not the momma! -- THOSE of us who live in the bush ó that is, beyond the great metropolitan areas ó find ourselves in unfamiliar and unsettling territory this Motherís Day weekend. The problem is this: We are beginning to feel superior to our widely acknowledged superiors. This is very bad, for pride is a terrible thing. Unfortunately, the temptation to strut and flutter is getting harder and harder to resist.

The problem didnít start yesterday, though as it happens yesterday did bring news that Motherís Day had been banned in an upscale Manhattan school. Brother Goldberg, who attended this school, has hung his head in magisterial shame. We weep with him. However, the fact is that kind of thing would never fly in the bush, where we still love momma ó and daddy as well, who has also gotten the bumís rush.

In fact, we tend to believe that what has happened in New York is worse than a communist plot. After all, itís safe to say that had the commies taken over the United States, they would have known better than to attack motherhood. Thatís the kind of thing invaders from outer space would do in order to sever civilization from its roots.

As some bush philosophers advise, that is exactly what is happening in the superior regions. They point out that the sophisticated elite are lining up behind the ban ó and, as usual, insist that theirs is the morally superior position. A New York holy man put the point perfectly: "In my judgment, children who, for whatever reason, have no mother should not have to sit in class while cards are being made for the mothers of others. We assure you that the commandment to honor parents is taught faithfully at Rodeph Sholom. But so is the commandment to Ďlove thy neighbor as yourself.'"

Even a Sunday morning gin guzzler, a definite bush subspecies, knows that to be a highly selective reading of Holy Writ ó which, after all, includes fierce condemnations of the very lifestyle (which still goes unnamed in many parts of the bush) that reportedly inspired the ban. Those of us who avoid theological disputes have a different question: How did Fatherís Day survive all the sad-eyed children of war orphans? Didnít they feel left out, too ó or didnít their feelings matter?

The larger point is that Motherís Day is gone--and parents are afraid to go on record in its defense (out of fear of reprisals, one told the New York Post). This is cowardice, pure and simple, and cowards are inferior beings. In fact, between a coward and a full-throated hick who nonetheless will speak up for momma, you just have to go with the latter. That these parents pay up to $20,000 a year to send their kids to a school that will not allow their children to honor them is another sign that the serf mentality is well advanced.

As it happens, another mother took a serious blow a few weeks before in San Francisco: Mother Nature, who was found wanting by the local government. The issue was sex-change operations. The locals agreed, after due consideration and perhaps some arm-twisting, that sometimes, as a news report explained it, women and born into menís bodies, and vice-versa. To correct this natural disaster, the pols agreed to pay for sex-change operations for city employees of a yearís standing or more.

The idea of women being born into menís bodies (and the opposite) is fairly interesting in a theological sort of way, something along the lines of a botched ďensoulment.Ē But this idea is, at the very least, highly speculative. By current scientific knowledge, which is taught at the community-college level here in the bush, we know that sex is not a state of mind. Ergo, even if you sew a custom-built love appendage on a female, thatís not going to make her a real man. Or, as a local professor of anatomy put it on talk radio the other day, ďJust because someone pins a tail to my ass, thatís not going to make me a dog.Ē Some also wonder if the city will write a check for those who donít want to change their sex, but instead their sexual orientation. Out here, weíre figuring probably not.

Bush people, to be sure, have plenty of reason to be humble. We eat too much, drink too much, sleep too much, and have unleashed terrible plagues upon the world. But when one of us kicks momma, the rest of us tie him to the railroad tracks and wait around for the evening train. Civilization demands as much. Our superiors used to know that, but they donít know it no more.

JWR contributor Dave Shiflett writes from central Va. Comment by clicking here.


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© 2000, Dave Shiflett