The last word

Los Angeles Times - - OP-ED - Anne Lamott Anne Lamott is the author, most re­cently, of the novel “Im­per­fect Birds.”

IWe must take on to­day’s ra­dioac­tive pol­i­tics for the sake of my baby grand­son.

don’t want to hear one more rude com­ment about John Boehner’s skin. Who cares? I know some­one who wears the same self-tan­ning unguent; who suf­fers from the same un­for­tu­nate con­vic­tion that this glow makes him look healthy, rather than ure­mic or malar­ial. And in Mr. Boehner’s de­fense, he looks a lot bet­ter than a friend I’ll call Bill, who on top of the orange ad­di­tive look also has blotches and scales from sun dam­age. At least House Mi­nor­ity Leader Boehner knows to ex­fo­li­ate, and for that I am grate­ful. Well done, Mr. Boehner.

Nor do I want to hear an­other judg­men­tal word about Mrs. Palin, Mrs. An­gle or the as­ton­ish­ing Miss O’Don­nell. These women are the three finest nat­u­ral come­di­ennes to hit the na­tional scene in decades. No one else has come close to bring­ing me the num­ber of laughs that these gifted con­ser­va­tive women have. Ev­ery day brings new one-lin­ers and mirth­ful ob­ser­va­tions from one of them, and these never fail to lift my spir­its. In fact, some days Sarah Palin is the only thing that keeps me go­ing.

But even as we en­joy the an­tics, we must has­ten to the aid of our coun­try. The rea­son has noth­ing to do with the mi­nor­ity leader’s skin tone, or the three afore­men­tioned Repub­li­can come­di­ennes or, for that mat­ter, Mitch McCon­nell’s chin or John McCain’s tiny anger is­sues, or C Street, or Rush or Cheney or Glenn Beck.

We must take on to­day’s ra­dioac­tive pol­i­tics for the sake of my 1year-old grand­son.

I was babysit­ting him on the night when Miss O’Don­nell won the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for sen­a­tor in Delaware. The tele­vi­sion was filled with footage of the in­com­pa­ra­ble O’Don­nell and news of how she op­poses mas­tur­ba­tion and be­lieves that sci­en­tists have suc­cess­fully im­planted hu­man brains in lab rats. I could not have taken my eyes off the tele­vi­sion for any­one else ex­cept my grand­son, with his huge lu­mi­nous black eyes and hair, his rosy brown skin, his toothy smile. But this tod­dler is so lovely, in­no­cent and funny that he broke the spell.

Gaz­ing at him, I re­al­ized how desperately im­por­tant it is for there to be breath­able air left when he comes of age, and per­haps the mer­est hint of an ozone layer.

I pray that the girls he dates some­day will still be able to get birth con­trol safely and eas­ily, and that they will still have the con­sti­tu­tional right to choice. And if my grand­son dates boys in­stead, that there not be in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized big­otry that shames him and his part­ner. And that the forces of so­cial jus­tice pre­vail, against all odds, so that he and this boy of his have the same rights as other mar­ried cou­ples, so they can adopt chil­dren and make me a great-grand­mother.

It’s im­per­a­tive that there are still safety nets like So­cial Se­cu­rity and Medi­care when his chil- dren come of age, so that greatgranny does not need to move in with them. And that the men and women in the White House have some­how man­aged not to nuke Iran, or lie their way into an­other war for oil or cor­po­rate profit, like cer­tain peo­ple I could men­tion.

My grand­son is half-Latino, and he looks like an il­le­gal alien. If we do not fight the ter­ror­ist an­chor-baby cra­zies in this elec­tion, who knows what kind of racist weird­ness will be­come the law of the land? And then what will hap­pen? He has no gift for pro­duc­ing pa­pers of any kind. He ac­ci­den­tally eats them most of the time. He ate his stroller’s bar-code ID tag at the air­port last month. He ate a bit of the San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle Sport­ing Green the other morn­ing. He can’t pro­duce no stink­ing pa­pers, be­cause he’s so busy re­cy­cling.

Plus he can only say one word, be­sides “Mommy” and “Da-da.” It is “abaht,” and it is all-pur­pose. I thought at first it might mean, “Thank you, Je­sus,” or “Down with the shah,” or was even an ef­fort to say the name of our pres­i­dent, in whose gen­eral ex­cel­lence I still choose to be­lieve.

It may well mean those things, but abaht also seems to mean that he loves straw­ber­ries, and that you should reread the book again now, or that the dog licked his face, and that he will so open this drawer, and he hates ap­ple­fla­vored yo­gurt, and abaht! — throw him up in the air again. Or hand him the Match­box Corvette. Please. Abaht. Now.

It’s a good word, so I say now to all like-minded peo­ple, abaht! Get in­volved now in this elec­tion. Abaht for Molly Ivins and Teddy Kennedy. Abaht — reg­is­ter vot­ers, or send sane can­di­dates a do­na­tion, or vol­un­teer to make phone calls or ad­dress en­velopes. It will greatly af­fect the next 40some days, for you and this coun­try and even this world.

I don’t ex­pect you to find the time to help make this world a bet­ter place solely for my grand­son and his creaky and fab­u­lous Nana. Do it also for your own in­co­her­ent paper-eat­ing grand­chil­dren, and nieces and neph­ews. Do it for the poor, the aged, but abaht — do it now.

Wendy Wah­man

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