She’s now 23, but my daughter’s voice sounded like it did when she was 11.
“Mom, they’re making fun of Clint Eastwood!”
I figured that wasn’t the time to tell her I had also shaken my head and chuckled at the many tweets and jokes that came after the actor interviewed an empty chair onstage at the Republican National Convention.
“I think that’s wrong,” she said.
And, of course, as she has been many times, she was right.
America has spent five days making fun of an elderly man. We didn’t think about it because that man was once the lean, tough, handsome cowboy and cop who had made our day many times. Except we weren’t talking about Rowdy Yates from “Rawhide” or Harry Callahan from “Dirty Harry.” We were talking about a real man with nearly 60 years of acting experience, who has spent decades giving us a persistent persona that made him seem invincible.
We would never have made fun of an 82-year-old man sitting on a bus or eating at a restaurant. But let him take a stage with no one to tell him he shouldn’t, and Katie bar the door.
We shouldn’t have done it.
Not for politics.
Not for entertainment.
Had Clint Eastwood not been a performer, an entertainer, who took the stage on his own because of what he believed, we never would have laughed.
Or would we have?
I can’t help but remember Rachel Maddow’s nearly speechless reaction to the interview with the chair. All of us should have stopped and thought for a moment.
That would have been me when my daughter was younger, always worried about how things looked to her.
I should still worry about how things look to her.
We spend years teaching our children. But what we don’t remember is that they spend years teaching us.
My daughter wasn’t happy about how Clint Eastwood was treated. And in hindsight, neither should I have been – because when you think about it: We made fun of a senior citizen, of an old guy.
Shame on us.
Rochelle is author of “Raising A Parent: Lessons My Daughter Taught Me While We Grew Up Together” – available by clicking the box at www.rochelleriley.com.