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.

3 thoughts on “Family Politics

  1. vickie

    I don’t discuss politics either. In my husband’s family – they discuss it at the DINNER table – while eating – which is not very Appetizing (with a capital A). I have had meals – where I have had to go outside and walk it off – because it was so distressing to me. I am like this with religion too. Don’t feel that what I think – should be forced on anyone else. I think part of it is f-e-e-l-i-n-g things pretty intensely – what is a casual conversation to someone – is many nights without sleep for me.

  2. The pity of the political scene this election is that EVERYBODY in my divided family is affected. My ultra-conservative brother is in the building trade & his business has tanked. I’ve begun to notice that just about every grocery item is 20 cents more expensive than the last time I bought it. My parents live on investments as well as pensions.

    Daily life in the U.S. feels like a series of little razor cuts. At the grocery store, at the filling station, in the Clinton aggression, in the defensiveness of everyone on the front page, in the attitudes of clerks.

    There have been two good things about this election. One is that, except with my mom, we can now share political humor about Hillary, at least. Maybe my brother would even let me make fun of the current administration at this point.

    The other is a sense of coming together that I saw only in the days after the World Trade Center attack. I wear an Obama baseball cap & get a lot of warm comments from people of all races. I hope he wins if only for the sake of being able to wear it as a way of showing respect.

  3. Ditto what Frances said…couldn’t have said it better myself! Only I have an Obama car magnet instead of a baseball cap. I voted for Hillary in our primary by making up my mind at the very last second (much to my current regret as I think she’s acting like a total egomaniac and has absolutely no REAL concern for the country or she’d just stop already), but have since seen the light. I really hope that Obama will be able to start to heal all the “little cuts” that Frances describes…I am certain that neither Hillary nor McCain can or want to.

    Don’t get me started… 😉

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