Theresa Emerson of Parkville, who died last month at 66, would never have shied from the designation “right-wing activist,” no matter how relentlessly the media use the phrase to mock women like her.
Among her accomplishments, Theresa was the founder of ORCA, Organized Conservative Republicans of America. A scroll down ORCA’s Facebook page shows Theresa organizing talks on economic freedom, Common Cause, Second Amendment rights, the Founding Fathers, Islam in Europe, illegal immigration and a host of other issues.
Theresa was indeed a right wing activist–and an excellent marksman to boot–but as her lovingly written obituary shows, she was much more than that. Theresa was a “Dot,” born and raised in Wyandotte County. A graduate of Bishop Ward High School, Theresa opted for cosmetology school over college and became a “successful lifelong stylist.”
The Democratic Party used to be able to count on women from working class backgrounds. Party honchos need to ask themselves why they no longer can. To rationalize the estrangement of people like Theresa from their long march through the institutions, progressives envision such women as heartless, hateful and/or self-centered.
Theresa was none of the above. She had a home day care for over fifteen years, was involved with Scouts, coaching sports, and neighborhood organizing. Theresa also “raised funds to build the Variety KC Playground for children with special needs.”
As her family members tell it, “The best description of Theresa: Selfless. Never was a woman as giving of herself to her family, her friends and to all those in need of a delicious meal and a mother’s hug. She worked hard her entire life, always dedicating her efforts to the happiness to those around her.”
There were always many around her. Theresa had a loving husband, six children, and fourteen grandchildren. “She was a mother to many,” her family writes, “giving love to all her children; birth children, children by marriage, grandchildren, day care children, students, proteges, and so many more. These children grew up into successful, loving people. Her Care and Love Supporting them, Each Step of the Way.”
“Mom knew how to laugh,” her children write. “She would take over a room and bring joy to each gathering. She had a heart of gold and never gave up, on anyone or anything, no matter the situation. She always knew what to say and do to lift a soul even from the darkest crevice.”
“Mom,” they continue, “we know you are still with each of us, permanently embedded. We will continue to thank you for your Sacrifice, every single day. You helped us become, who we are and we will continue to Live Our Lives to Make you Proud.” As seems fitting perhaps, her funeral mass was held at St. Therese Catholic Church.
Although an exceptional person, this “right-wing activist” represents a class of strong, loving women the left knows only as a caricature. Those who might sneer at them, however, ought to ask themselves one question: at the end of the day, will they be as well and as widely loved as Theresa Emerson?