"Dad, Rush Limbaugh and Me," about the divide between a liberal daughter and a conservative father, touched a nerve this week.
Overwhelmingly, the forceful responses by dozens of readers took one of two points of view: the opinion piece by Madeline Janis aptly demonstrated that conservatives are more compassionate than liberals (reader Paula LaBrot of Topanga echoed many when she deemed the author "the poster child for the left's intolerance of opposing viewpoints"), or our elders and loved ones deserve our respect (Nancy Pelletier of Plattsburg, Mo., was one of a number who asked: "Who was she, as a daughter, to question what harmless personal preferences he had, especially at a time of personal loss for him?" and, as Stephen Olear of Orange, observed: "He was 87 years old for crying out loud.")
Among the few exceptions were responses from some with similar experiences.
Wrote Bob Blackstock of Thousand Oaks:
My wife and I are caring for a 101-year-old man (not a relative). He, like your father, Ms. Janis, takes Medicare and Social Security.
Ironically, he loves watching Fox News. We've explained to him why its message is so contrary to what we do for him, but to no avail. So, he's certainly willing to receive those things provided by compassionate people yet supports those who are contemptuous of those who are compassionate, such as ourselves.
Perhaps I'm being played for a fool. At minimum, we should get extra points for continuing to let him watch Faux News.
Connie Thomashevsky of Kentfield, Calif., concurred:
The column reminded me of my father's decline into the conservative fringe. I was horrified when I discovered that my father, a uniquely liberal Jewish hero of World War II, had become a bigot. I was powerless over his conversion and, as with Janis, Rush Limbaugh was at the root of it all. Thanks to Rush, no reasonable conversations were possible and the poor man died afraid of things that never existed except in Limbaugh's angry heart.
Diana M. Granat of Altadena commented:
One some level I can understand those who criticize Janis' intolerance of her father's Limbaugh hats.
But as a woman concerned about the often-seen lack of respect for women in society, I find that criticism to be lacking in perspective. Would these same letter writers be critical of objection to a parent's KKK hood? I doubt it. Limbaugh's bigoted rants are in the same shameful tradition. Her father's tolerance of Limbaugh's woman-hating drivel showed disrespect for his daughter. My question is, what took him so long to ditch the hats?
John W. Conrad of Riverside concluded:
Janis did a wonderful job of both seeing a deep truth in our country's divisions and missing the point entirely.
She and her dad were able to reconcile not because they each loved America but because they loved each other. It's always about people — not politics, posturing positions or power.