Monday, November 30, 2009

Mama Tried

Gary Scharrar had a feature over the weekend in the San Antonio Express News on Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley, his political siblings and their liberal mom who disagrees with much of their politics. The story opens:
Hard-nosed Texas prosecutor John “Marty” Bradley supports the death penalty. His mother, Shirley Bradley, remains a fervent opponent of it.

Her oldest son, John “David” Bradley, is an outspoken Republican leader among the social conservatives on the State Board of Education. His mom proudly keeps his campaign bumper sticker on her car — along with a bumper sticker promoting Democratic Party icon Hillary Clinton.

Not surprisingly, Shirley Bradley enforces a firm rule when the family gathers for holidays and other occasions: No talking politics or religion.

“It's my rule. ... Those are just forbidden subjects,” the Houston family matriarch says. “We all have heard each other's opinions enough. It was nonproductive. I want to have happy times with them. I respect their opinions. I don't agree with them, but I taught them to have opinions.”

And her two older sons certainly have strong opinions. Both are named John, although the oldest goes by David. Count him among the State Board of Education leaders who helped weaken the teaching of evolution in public school classrooms, pushed phone-tics and back-to-basics reading skills and led an effort to ditch a “fuzzy math” textbook for third-graders.

John Bradley, 50, known as “Marty” among family and friends, is 11 months younger than David. He has a law-and-order reputation as the district attorney in GOP-strong Williamson County just north of Austin. His profile recently was raised when Gov. Rick Perry, in a controversial move, named him the new chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission — replacing a chairman who had led the panel's investigation of disputed arson evidence in an execution case.

Go here for the full article. Interesting personal background on an already-controversial figure who Governor Perry recently thrust into the center of what's arguably Texas' most hot-button political imbroglio of 2009. I was unaware in particular of JB's brother on the State Board of Education and his role critiquing evolution theory in science books. Given that, it's particularly ironic for the governor to appoint his DA brother to chair a state commission evaluating forensic science.

There's a stereotype which grew out of the 1960s and '70s about young people rebelling against their parents' conservatism to embrace (in some cases) extremist liberalism, but apparently when your parents are more liberal, one rebels in the other direction. In honor of Mama Bradley, who sounds like a great lady even if I've occasionally butted heads with her son, here's a cool rendition of an old C&W tune that came to mind as I read this article - "Mama Tried," by Merle Haggard, who is accompanied in this 2004 version by Toby Keith and Willie Nelson:


Anonymous said...

Perhaps that is the consequence of liberals having children. We as a society may well be in for serious problems.

Nick said...

Perhaps that is the consequence of naming both of your sons "John."

Anonymous said...

Regardless of anything else he's done, putting phonics back in education is a good thing.