I grew up during the last great age of Jurassic parenting.
We called our Dad “T-Rex” because he was the ultimate alpha predator with a big mouth, sharp teeth, limited peripheral vision and small arms that prevented him from doing any housework. His home was his castle.
Our dining room table was his bully pulpit, and fact-checking was an act of sedition, prohibited when he was on a roll. On occasion, a courageous teen would put his college education to work to question my father’s draconian position on the war in Vietnam (“Bomb the NVA back into the Stone Age”) or social protest (“America, love it or leave it”). My father would listen incredulously and then ruthlessly suffocate the nascent rebellion like a banana republic dictator.
My father is no Archie Bunker. At 86, he’s lost a step and repeats himself, but he still understands Keynesian economics. He’s a tried-and-true carnivore capitalist who borders on being libertarian. He has an IQ of 170, and in his heyday he was the regional CEO of a large ad agency. But he has major blind spots and a black-and-white view of the world. His reptilian brain is in fear mode thanks to Fox News and a world that has been reduced to a dozen meds and 3,000 square feet. Before the election, he was angry—always interpreting any action by Obama as a sign of a decline in the values and ethic that made America great. His contradictions would come fast and furious:
“No, I don’t want immigrants. Oh, yes, I do love my immigrant caregivers.”
“I hate socialized medicine, but I love Medicare and don’t want to pay more for it.”
“Bush Jr. was an idiot, but Obama is worse.”
When I listen to Donald Trump, I hear my father.