My Dad and the 2016 Elections

Wednesday, November 23, AD 2016



Like most people I guess, the two people in this world who had the largest impact on me were my parents.  Considering how large they loom in my memories and in my heart, it is hard for me to comprehend that my Mom has been gone from this Vale of Tears for almost a third of a century, and my Dad for just over a quarter of a century.  I look at myself now and I recognize that most of what I am is an amalgam of their qualities that I received, either through genetics or what they taught me when I was growing up.  Intellectually probably my debt to my mother is greater.  She was the reader of the family, and I received from her a love of verbal sparring, logic and an endless thirst for knowledge.  Politically I received more of my inheritance from my father.  My Mom was inclined to the liberal side of the ledger, although the Democrats lost her vote when abortion became an issue.

My Dad, and go here to read about him, came from a long line of Republicans, probably dating back to the Civil War.  My branch of the McClareys never had much money, but we usually voted Republican.  My Dad had no great fondness for the Republican party, having a low opinion of almost all politicians whatever they called themselves, but he had certain beliefs and instincts that led him to vote for  Republicans.  Always something of a rebel, too much Irish blood in his veins not to be, he always thanked the Union steward in his plant who handed out voter guides because it was handy for him to know who his Union endorsed so he could vote the opposite way, he disliked most things big:  Big Business, Big Unions and, especially, Big Government.  It is from my father, back in the early sixties, that I first heard the Libertarian, “Their ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”  Dad taught me  that everything in this world has a price tag, and nothing is free but the grace of God.

While not being fond of the rich, he once succinctly defined feminism as “Games for rich women.”, he had nothing but scorn for those who sought to live off the government.  The salaries that Union bosses got used to drive him up the wall.  The dishonesty of television commercials would sometimes elicit a derisive snort from my laconic father.  Any sort of sham or pretense produced a strongly negative reaction from my father who was a naturally honest man.  The idea that government could solve problems, outside of perhaps winning wars, he regarded as a simple lie.  When Walter Cronkite used to say at the end of his news broadcast on CBS, “Well that’s the way it is.”, my father’s rolled eyes gave his assessment of how much he accepted that contention.

In regard to the 2016 elections, other than knowing that he would sooner have lost a right arm than vote for Hillary Clinton, I only know one thing for sure about Dad and his reaction to the elections:  he would have loved how the confident prediction of almost all pollsters that Hillary would win came tumbling down.  Dad hated polls.  He hated that anyone thought that they could predict an election before the votes were counted.  That seemed wrong to him.  When it comes to making predictions on elections, obviously I have not followed in my father’s footsteps, but in his belief that it is human hubris to pretend certainty when massive amounts of people are involved in making up their minds, I do agree with him.  So, here’s to you Dad!  I am sure you privately shook your head about your eldest son and how he seemed to pay little attention when you spoke, or argued with you, but I was actually paying close attention, and the older I get the more I appreciate the instruction I received from you and Mom.  May my kids say the same a quarter or a third of a century from now about me and their mother, especially when their thoughts, as mine are now, turn to family and absent loved ones at Thanksgiving.

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7 Responses to My Dad and the 2016 Elections

  • Slainte to you and yours.

    My favorite quote from your Dad; ” Nothing is free but the grace of God.”


  • Will post more later, but I am reminded of a phrase frank j Fleming wrote that I’m sure your dad would enjoy:

    “The only thing governments are good at is destroying things. That’s why I prefer mine pointed at other countries.”

  • What a beautiful remembrance of your father. I also really like this: ” nothing is free but the grace of God.”

  • Thank you Clara. Dad was a man of few words, but when he spoke he was often eloquent.

  • “My Mom was inclined to the liberal side of the ledger, although the Democrats lost her vote when abortion became an issue.”

    Mine too.

  • Finally got around to what I meant to post earlier (though I could swear there was a link somewhere I wanted to post but can’t recall now).

    I look at myself now and I recognize that most of what I am is an amalgam of their qualities that I received, either through genetics or what they taught me when I was growing up.

    You know, as I watch my friends have children, I find that a blessing. There’s something… comforting to know that this person who’s company I enjoy, who’s personality I delight in, will have an echo of themself continue on, lighting the world up as only that person can. It helps one to understand why our ancestors considered it so tragic for a person to die without offspring.

    having a low opinion of almost all politicians whatever they called themselves

    Well that’s just good, common sense. 😉

    Dad taught me that everything in this world has a price tag, and nothing is free but the grace of God.

    EVERY Dad should be teaching it (yep, mine did too) and if a Dad teaches no other lesson to his kids, it should be this one. (It’s hard for mom to teach it since… well for awhile she was your free lunch.) That there are so many fatherless homes nowadays goes a big way towards explaining why everybody’s forgetting this.

    the older I get the more I appreciate the instruction I received from you and Mom.

    Yeah, that’s the curse of life, isn’t it? To realize your parents were right all along. 🙂 I need to see if I can make some “i told you so” greeting cards. Might be a big business there.

Saint Joseph the Worker and Dad

Sunday, September 1, AD 2013

Saint Joseph and Jesus




Every Labor Day weekend two men always pop up in my mind:  Saint Joseph the Worker and my Dad.  When I was growing up I always associated Saint Joseph and my father.  I thought of Saint Joseph as the strong, silent type.  The Gospels recall no speeches or quotes of Saint Joseph, but it does remember his actions:  the refusal to expose Mary publicly when he initially assumed that she had betrayed him, his leading his family into Egypt on the warning of the Angel, the years of Christ’s growth to manhood when Saint Joseph labored to support his family.  That was my father, a man of actions and not words.  My father was not a talkative man, he simply was always there when anything needed to be done.  From going off each day to cut steel in the truck body plant where he worked, to repairing broken items around the house, to fixing a furnace for an old widow who couldn’t pay a professional to come to fix it and then asking my mom to buy the widow a sack of groceries because he saw she had no food in her house, to defending me from a child hood bully, I grew up under the protection and inspiration of my silent father.

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8 Responses to Saint Joseph the Worker and Dad

  • That is a really beautiful tribute, Don. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Much Thanks Donald. Your a loving son and always will be.

    I have been “using” St. Joseph at many death beds of our residents for the past twelve years. He has brought so much peace to the families as their loved one prepares to sail on to another shore.
    To ponder the great possibility of Jesus and Mary at St. Josephs own death bed.
    Then, humbly imploring Joesph to call on Mary & Jesus to be present for our loved one.
    The Carmelite order has Beautiful respect and Honor for St. Joseph…and rightfully so. St. Joseph pray for us.

  • There is much to learn today from St. Joseph’s actions. He, first of all, saw the goodness of the Mother of our Lord and obeyed to His messengers to be able to protect and provide.

    Our culture of many absent fathers, some of whom ironically revere Mary, have ignored the example of the Holy Family and rejected the idea of the work of their hands. Reliance on running water, electricity, sound dwellings, and food hasn’t produced a supply of competent tradesmen. It’s as though ignorance of St. Joseph’s life brought, is bringing, indolence into the role of men who leave their fatherhood for a means of income from the state. Pieces of shattered souls around who could never imagine the richness of your reminiscence.

    Had my father read your post, he might have said it was ‘writ by hand’ if he were pressed to comment.

  • You are so lucky you had a dad like him. I also envision my dad as industrious as Saint Joseph. And you are right, I haven’t really read a lot of Saint Joseph in the bible. I wish there was really some details on what kind of a dad he really was. But I think Jesus had a good man as an example as he grew up to be one fine young man himself. I should let my husband read this.

  • You had a good and earnest dad; so does your daughter she will probably grow up to marry a man who reminds her in some ways of her dad- even if she doesn’t recognize it at first
    The family is how God forwards love in the world.

  • Thank you all for your kind comments. I have always considered myself lucky in my parents. My sainted Mother would often invoke the Holy Family, Mary, Jesus and Joseph, especially in time of crisis, or after my brother or I roused her ire after doing something foolish/bad! I think that helped and I have always remembered the Holy Family as a result.

  • So beautiful! My dad never even got to the 8th grade but he worked and worked and worked. There was nothing he couldn’t do. He was a jack of all trades and he mastered them all. He died so young, only 52 but his efforts left my mother and the boys complete financial security. If he didn’t know how to do it he educated himself until he did it “and did it well”. He was a lifelong Republican and the night before the Kennedy win, he alerted us kids, “If I wake up tomorrow morning and John Kennedy is president of the United States, you are going to see a grown man cry!” When John Kennedy was assassinated he bawled like a baby. He was devastated. When we asked him about it he said, “That man was the president of all of us, not just me. The president no matter what party deserves our respect and prayers even if we don’t agree with him. This is a terrible thing for our country.” I am trying to hang onto that thought now as I truly do not have good feelings about this administration. Maybe St. Joseph could help me with that.

  • I love this image of Christ and St. Joseph. Do you know anything about it, title or artist?