This is my answer to the pernicious, ceaseless, rampant stereotyping that uninformed right-wingers heap on the left. Meet my liberal family:
Mom was raised in Danville, Virginia, the daughter of a single mother who became a businesswoman in a man’s world. She attended Mary Washington College and graduated from Averitt College, teaching history there.
An accomplished, actress, singer, and dancer, she married my dad in 1953 and raised two smart, liberal, and gifted boys, taking on part-time jobs when money was tight. On the Raleigh amateur stage, she appeared in dozens of dramatic and comedic roles. I saw a lot of great theatre for free because of her.
After she and dad were divorced, Mom returned to work, first in retail at a craft shop, then as a librarian for N. C. State University, where she won many friends in the faculty. In her sixties she indulged her love of learning as a master’s student in (yes) liberal studies.
She grew into a deeply religious Lutheran, directing four plays in church, including two productions of the musical Godspell. She was active in Via de Cristo, a lay movement for Christian leadership.
On the day of her death, she was in the midst of her second run of Godspell, working hard for her Savior.
Dad was born into deep adversity in Charlotte, North Carolina. Also the child of a single parent, he was taken into an orphanage at an early age. Early on he demonstrated a remarkable aptitude for music.
The war came. As soon as possible, he volunteered in the Navy, serving on the West Coast in signals intelligence. His musical ear enabled him to tune in coded transmissions from Japanese and Russian spies.
Using his GI Bill benefits, he attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. His talent for theory and composition emerged. He appeared in several plays and performed in several singing groups, even appearing on a 45 rpm record.
After graduation he taught music at public schools in Chapel Hill and Danville. He met Mom while directing a musical play. (The newlyweds performed in the outdoor drama Horn in the West.)
After I was born he taught music and American culture at the brand-new Page High School. When he left six years later to teach at N. C. State, the students named an award for him.
At State, he was one of only three professors in the Department of Music. Leading the school’s choral groups and co-directing the marching band, he also began work on a remarkable series of musical compositions, often based on poems or Bible passages. Over 30 years he mentored countless students.
At the same time he became the go-to musical director for Raleigh Little Theatre and directed choirs in Lutheran and Baptist churches. Just before retirement, Dad assisted renowned composer Aaron Copland in a performance of Mahler.
A natural athlete, Dad ran in many races, frequently winning his age group. He met his wife Peggy at the races. He became a devoted caregiver as she slipped into Alzheimer’s. At age 91, he still exercises, reads voluminously, and maintains an active interest in political affairs.
Bryan is my younger brother, born seven years after me. He was a theatrical prodigy, taking a lead role in an early play at Theatre in the Park and a key role as the young prince in The King and I. He jumped into Broughton High School’s outstanding drama program and was inducted into the Service Club.
He spent his freshman year in pre-law at Campbell University before transferring to N. C. State. Earning high grades in the Department of Speech Communication, Bryan became a disk jockey for the student radio station. He made several tours with Dad as part of the Varsity Men’s Glee Club and served as the president of the Mu Beta Psi musical fraternity.
After college he became a traffic reporter, appearing on several radio stations in the Raleigh-Durham area. Now he presents reports for the Spectrum news channel. He has been on the air continuously for some 30 years in the same market, no mean feat in broadcasting.
The most politically outspoken of the family, he pursues his passions for Mustangs, bicycling, hockey, cats, and cinema. I could not ask for a better brother.
This is my liberal-and-proud-of-it family. Hard working, literate, cultured, and committed to the common good. Whenever I hear zealots trash the left, I just think of my peeps, and the criticism rolls right off my back.