Okay—I’ll channel the Left’s code here for a second. I do come from a place of privilege concerning families—the most important aspects of it. No one has been stricken with a serious illness, everyone gets along, we love each other to death, and we all have very different political views. My dad is a Republican. My mom is a liberal Democrat, always has been since she first volunteered for Joe Biden’s Senate run in 1972. She knows I’m a Trump supporter. I know she’s a Clinton supporter. And guess what? We still get along fine.
There’s a disturbing number of families that are nuking their relationships over politics, despite the fact that Republicans and Democrats have been elected and re-elected president of the United States for years. The point is, I’m sure a lot of people were disappointed with either of those outcomes in the long list of elections we’ve had—and yet, I don’t remember hearing families going berserk over George W. Bush winning—twice.
Liberals gloated to no end in 2012, but we shut their faces in 2016. I don’t know why liberals feel the need to detonate relationships over political differences. It’s sad. There’s not a single thing you can discuss or bond over that doesn’t deal with whatever is going on in the trash heap that is Washington, D.C.?
Deep down, yes, there's more that unites us as a country, but it’s the Left who is just unwilling to discuss that. They want a divorce. And in an era where Left and Right don’t understand one another, I guess that’s where it can become easier to sever ties with your family members over a political disagreement. Let’s take this Huffington Post guest writer who says that her uber-Catholic, pro-Trump in-laws might cause her to cut her kids’ ties with their grandparents (via Huffington Post):
“I don’t understand why anyone lives in Los Angeles,” my mother-in-law said to my husband over the phone a few months ago. “It’s full of immigrants.”
This offensive “observation” was not a stand-alone comment. It was only the latest in a series of bigoted sound bites from my in-laws. Both in their 70s, they live on Florida’s Gulf Coast in a predominantly white, older community saturated by conservative talking points. They see themselves as tolerant, life-loving Catholics. But their tolerance extends only to people they know and understand ?and those people are white, straight, “American” people.
Actually, it isn’t just racism that muddies the water in my relationship with my in-laws. It’s sexism and homophobia, too. Sometimes, it’s even veiled anti-Semitism. (Note to non-Jews everywhere: Telling a Jewish person how much you love Jewish people is, on its face, a message of marginalization.) My father-in-law once had to leave the room when two men kissed on TV. “Disgusting,” he whispered under his breath, within earshot of my son.
My in-laws have always been conservative. They have always been Republican. But, before 2016, they were Catholics devoted, specifically, to the “problem” of abortion. That was the issue they cared about, and it was the issue that ignited their ballot box passion. What my husband and I have witnessed, however, has been an ideological shift, from a relationship with religion to blind idolatry.
When I asked them to stop watching right-wing cable news in the living room of our home (“You’re afraid of the truth,” my father-in-law snapped back), they rerouted to their computers. They now take solace at the kitchen table, laptops kissing, where they sift through whatever degradation the right happens to be pushing at that moment. Tucker Carlson drones on, and then Sean Hannity. They cannot get enough, and they will not stop. Days fade from bright to bruise as they sit at their computers, happily held hostage by alternative facts.
Their hatred is expanding, and it’s expanding quickly. These days, it manifests itself through conspiracy theories about Jeffrey Epstein and the Clintons, antifa and Black Lives Matter. My in-laws oppose abortion in any and all circumstances, but they appear unbothered by the idea of migrant kids in cages at the country’s border. The media sources they ingest, of course, are intentionally dishonest, and our conversations with them reveal a view of the world that’s disturbingly removed from reality.
So the burning question remains: What do we do? And how do we do it? Day after day, week after week, month after month, my husband and I have put off any kind of real conversation with my in-laws because they live far away, and we don’t see them much, and because, honestly, just thinking about how that conversation will probably go is stomach-wrenching. My husband speaks to his mother on his drive home from work, and lately I rarely — if ever — answer the phone when I know it’s her because my anger has not yet peaked.
My own family, who long ago branded me a hothead, advised me to do no more than limit the contact my children have with their grandparents. How much damage could be done in small doses? they posited. That’s not really a solution, of course; it’s more or less a way of continuing to avoid the problem. Our friends have been mostly noncommittal. Mostly people shake their heads sympathetically or pat my shoulder. They don’t know what to say. What advice would I give to someone else, after all? What advice would I offer myself? Would it be to cut all ties? And how does one even go about doing that?
You can break up with a boyfriend. You can end a friendship. But how do you stop a family member from being a family member?
Now, there’s no definite answer to the severing of ties question, but isn’t it sad that it’s come to this?
I’m a total partisan. I can’t stand Democrats or their agenda, but I know that losing my mother to politics is just stupid. And being someone who blogs about politics all day, the last thing I want to talk about with my family is that subject. And they know it too. There are other things to talk about, the last being where I stand on the issues because they know how I feel. Granted, these in-laws did say some pretty bad things about blacks, but so did one of my late uncles. We didn’t cut ties with him, and even though I was young, I don’t have any bad memories of him. Then again, he never spoke like that in front of me or anyone else for that matter. And the times he did, it was always in the past. Heck, there was a lot of opinions back then that was considered more acceptable, but in the Left’s book—there is no forgiveness.
I do disagree with the Epstein angle. I couldn’t care less about the conspiracy theories; the man is a credibly accused pedophile who trafficked underage girls. And yes, Bill Clinton did take flights on his Lolita Express in the past. Antifa should be declared a domestic terror group; one member recently attacked an ICE facility in Tacoma, Washington, and the Dayton shooter supported them as well.
I don’t know if these in-laws were serious about conspiracy theories about the Clintons, but I’ve peddled the “body count” in jest many times. Liberals have very thin skins on everything. Everything is racist or problematic. Joking about the Clintons could be triggering. Whatever happens, I hope contact with the in-laws isn’t severed. It’s a decision that cannot be taken back. Things will never be the same.
We all know that families aren’t perfect. You have to love whomever no matter the flaws. It’s sad that political views have become a category in this arena. I’m a proud Trump supporter, I’m not delicate in how I phrase my positions; I’m pugnacious. And I’m unapologetic. And my family knows that. They still love me anyway, even if my liberal mother has mixed feelings about my stuff being tweeted out by the president.
I fondly remember that call, “Honey congratulations…I think.” We then shared a laugh. It’s just a political opinion, folks. But some on the Left view this as some mark on their soul.
The ironic thing about the HuffPo essay is the lack of acknowledgment that the Left is just as nasty and has, arguably, become more violent since Trump has been elected. Yes, the Left proudly touts their support for diversity and tolerance, but only for their side. Their policies are so good…that they’re mandatory. It’s tolerance…with guns pointed at our heads. Sorry, no thanks.
And if you think I’m nuts, was it a Republican who posted a list of donors from an opposing political campaign that invites harassment? No. That would be Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), who chairs his brother Julian Castro’s 2020 presidential campaign. Is it doxxing? No, but it narrows the target area for the left-wing nuts who will harass these people. Not even MSNBC could defend it.
Liberals can’t stand you supporting a Republican. And it seems some are more than willing to make you pay for such a decision, no matter what the cost.