Family Politics

My parents (and brother and sister-in-law, for that matter) are right-wing Texas Republicans and I am a liberal New England Democrat. We usually avoid discussing politics because I usually feel outnumbered and attacked, and out-gunned in the argument department. Well, my brother is a lawyer and they can be hard to argue with because they just like to argue.

It’s been interesting over the last year, though, to hear snippets of political opinions sandwiched in with our regular calls. Bush has cratered in their eyes as the war dragged on and the economy slid into recession, squeezing their retirement funds. They simply cannot stand Hillary and don’t trust Obama for all kinds of reasons, including that mud-slinging email making the rounds. While they don’t like McCain, they can’t bring themselves to vote for a Democrat.

Tonight, though, I heard something different in their voices — a recognition that the world has changed in ways they don’t like or understand. Frustration that U.S. kids know less, study less, achieve less than students in countries that have been beneath our competition in the past, places like India and China. Sadness that McCain’s sacrifices in Vietnam are being discounted. Determination to sell off Exxon stock before the new administration penalizes the company and drives down the price. Uncertainty about the future and what it will be like for me and for their grandkids.

We will not agree on politics. They will vote for McCain and I will not. I might kill Hillary myself if she doesn’t bow out and let the Democrats start figuring out how to deal with the general election instead of the current madness. I’m already sick of all of it. There are big issues facing this country and the fears and concerns that bother my parents also bother me. Well, maybe not the Exxon stock one. I want to not fight a war or have an election that goes on for 2 years and just get on with addressing those issues. They’re not going away on their own.