By Wendel Sloan
Columnist 

I'm my mother's son; bullies beware

 

November 5, 2017



The approaching anniversary of my mother’s death at 92 on Nov. 7, 2010, makes me reminisce about our differing political views, and the traits I inherited or acquired from her while growing up in the east Texas countryside.

Diplomatic to a fault, Fay Sloan was too sensitive about causing even a hint of friction with her favorite son (me) to talk politics.

Although I can’t definitively speak for her, in her latter decades I believe Mother generally voted Republican.

Since my parents supported seven kids (including a granddaughter) on my dad’s steel-mill carpenter salary, we were barely lower middle class. My parents were from dirt-poor farming families — so Mother’s views were unrelated to corporate taxes, tax shelters, trickle-down economics …

I suspect she was influenced by preachers — especially televangelists after she became too weak to attend our Pentecostal church — who admonished listeners to support Christian Republicans instead of heathen Democrats.

However, with his “locker-room talk,” Trump would have been a bridge too far. (Pence, with his pious pretense, might have garnered her support.)

Mother would also have been disappointed with Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, lying about Rep. Frederica Wilson delivering a self-serving speech at the dedication of an FBI field office in Miami in 2015.

He attempted to trash Wilson because she backed a military widow’s claim that Trump’s condolence call to the widow after her husband was killed in Niger upset her because Trump said her husband “knew what he had signed up for.”

I know Trump didn’t intend to offend, but, most likely, was guilty of inartfully parroting Kelly’s military-sacrifice language.

In slandering Wilson, Kelly — whom we are not supposed to question because he is a four-star general — called her an “empty barrel” who makes the most noise. When a video surfaced disproving his claim, he refused to apologize.

Mother would not have approved no matter how many stars obscured his obfuscation.

A friend once called Mother “gold-plated steel.” If you were hungry or broke, she would give you her last morsel or dollar. But if you bullied, lied to or took advantage of the vulnerable, the meek, nurturing housewife turned into Superwoman: defender of the innocent, defenseless and, God forbid if you messed with us, her family.


In my hometown, a white lawman constantly stopped and searched her two half-black great-grandsons because his daughter and her friends were friendly with them.

Mother had a “chat” with the officer. The harassment stopped.

In her late 80s, after being widowed for almost 20 years, a contractor bilked her on fly-by-night work on her modest duplex after she’d moved to a Dallas suburb to be closer to the granddaughter and great-grandkids she helped raised. When he wouldn’t make it right, she took him to court and won.


Inspired by my mother, I try to be objective about others’ views. If a candidate demonstrates authentic ethical values meeting Mother’s standards, I will give them fair consideration.

However, since I am my mother’s son, a warning to bullies:

Pick on me all you want — but pick on the powerless and you are tugging on the son of steel’s cape.

Contact Wendel Sloan at: [email protected]

 
 

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