Not always does one have a precise place and date to associate with an epiphany of significant import for one's life. But this past Monday, August 2nd , was such a day for me. On that day I learned that my daughter, twenty—nine and a product of the University of Colorado at Boulder, had been far more radicalized by the purveyors of socialism than I could possibly have imagined. How did this realization come about? The TV was on and there was Leonard Peltier's mug on the screen along with the caption that the Peace and Freedom Party of California had nominated Mr. Peltier — rather than Ralph Nader — as their presidential candidate. When I commented that that's just what we need, a murderer as President, she retorted that the FBI agents had it coming.
I was stunned! If words ever hit like a sledge hammer to the head, these did. I have the distinct impression that she was serious and not just baiting me as we often do to one another. The cold—blooded killer of two Federal agents was fully justified in taking their lives. Her attitude seemed totally incongruous with her often—voiced concerns for the environment, love of animals, and quest for 'social justice.' This petite, lovely daughter of mine had revealed her inner rage and revolutionary mindset. I felt as though I didn't know her at all.
Leonard Peltier has been a cause c�l�bre of the radical left since practically the very day of the killings on June 26, 1975. He is serving two consecutive life terms for those crimes and a Google search for 'Leonard Peltier' will return 69,200 hits including www.freepeltier.org at the top of the list. He is touted as being a 'Native American Political Prisoner.' This despite his having been tried and convicted, having several appeals and petitions denied, and review of the case by Federal appeals court. All this with a legal eagle tab of millions of dollars — no slouch public defenders for Mr. Peltier — being picked up by you and me. However, in terms of radical, lefty affection and admiration, his ideological partner in killing law officers, Mumia Abu—Jamal, has a leg up on Leonard as he gets 113,000 Google hits. Guess victimhood for Amer—Indians still doesn't rate up there with that for Afro—Americans.
How did this transmogrification, this radical metamorphosis of my darling daughter take place? Well, I think I owe it all to Mary Frances Berry. You remember her don't you? She's the woman who as the chairman, sorry, chairperson of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights gallantly fought for the vindication of all those distraught, downtrodden and disenfranchised Florida voters. Ms. Berry was once the Chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder where she was also professor of History and Law — right where my progeny earned her degree in Environmental Studies.
M.F. Berry is continuing her academic machinations as the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. I have no doubt that she will continue to succeed in finely honing her students and fellow faculty to a radical Marxist razor's edge as she once did at U of C Boulder. Any parents of students there should take note. My daughter was once a ninety—pound political weakling but was transformed into a radical, leftist locomotive through the proselytizing of the likes of Noam Chomsky, Leonard Peltier, Michael Moore and Ward Churchill. The damage done by such as these is deeper and longer—lasting than even they could possibly have imagined.
For me this gives new meaning to the phrase 'all politics is personal.' Boy, is it ever! But, I still do love my daughter.
And that's what really hurts.