Tuesday, January 27, 2004

A Letter to My Little Unintentional Radical

A Letter to My Little Unintentional Radical
Bridgette Burge

Dear Little Mister,

You’ve turned two. On your birthday we had cake, presents, balloons, and we took care of some last minute details of our plans to crash Senator John Edwards’ presidential fundraiser party. You were most cooperative that day. Just like you knew what was brewing.

Since you were baking in my womb, you’ve been a little peace activist. Your first in-utero action was when you’d existed for about fifteen weeks. We were trying to get President Bush to sign on to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, banning the development and testing of new nukes. He didn’t. He must be too busy keeping us safe and all.

Wonder what you think of your conscription into the peace and justice movement. Wonder what you’ll think of it when you’re sixteen, and thirty-six. Already I worry about making you do something you don’t believe in and haven’t decided for yourself. But that’s a bit ridiculous, right? You’re tiny, and it’s my responsibility to make decisions for you, until you can make them for yourself. So, guess that makes our peace and justice work my prerogative.

When I was pregnant with you, your daddy and I shared our fears about how you’d turn out. His surfer-Topsail Island-North-Carolina-born-self’s biggest fear was that you’d be afraid of the water. No joke. That was his biggest fear. Mine was that you’d turn out to be some racist, sexist, militarist, homophobic, capitalist Republican.
If that doesn’t sum up why your daddy and I didn’t last past your eighth month on this side of belly, I don’t know what would.

A few weeks ago, the local NPR station aired a grossly edited, totally de-politicized three minutes out of a two and a half hour interview with you and me. Someone please explain to me how it’s possible to nearly de-politicize an interview about war and peace!

The reporter found it “compelling” that your paternal step-grandpa is now serving in the military somewhere in the Gulf, and here’s your wacky momma demonstrating against the war on some corner in Raleigh. You pulled your weight, too, during that rowdy, little demo. I love that photo of your candlelit, rosy-cheeked self, grasping onto a “Support My Grandpa, Bring Him Home” poster. What a little media magnet you are, Jake!

Ok all you two-year olds, here’s Jacob’s favorite rally chant. It goes like this:

When I say, “George Bush,” you say “Ew!”

“George Bush.”


“George Bush.”


Nicely done, little futures of this world.

Raising children is probably the most important work in the world. I think being a full time activist is a distant second, though it probably doesn’t seem like that to you when I’m working all those long, long hours. But, doing anything else just wouldn’t feel right.

In fact, Jake, as long as you can say the same thing about what you choose to do with your life, then I’ll be proud as pie. That’s right, even if you do end up a racist, sexist, homophobic, capitalist, Republican. I’ll love you, I’ll be proud of who you are and not what you believe, and I’ll be on your damned front lawn with a picket sign.

Your mama,

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