Our national family divided
0 comment Friday, July 4, 2014 |
The theme of the "house divided" has been a recurring one on this blog, and as a result of a conversation today, it's been brought home to me once again.
It seems I was talking to a relative, and the subject of the economic crisis came up. Actually I brought it up. After we discussed today's events on Wall Street -- about which neither of us are experts -- I merely said it seems that all those "in charge" have lost their minds. Little did I think that would be an opening for this relative of mine to unload on me, and start shouting "I hate that -- that woman! McCain has lost his mind. I can't stand that woman, that Sarah Palin!" This was said with an explosive vehemence that really caught me off guard, because the conversation to this point had been fairly low-key.
The anger and contempt in her voice shocked and annoyed me, I confess. I have been reading wall-to-wall bashing of Sarah Palin on many blogs and forums, both left and (especially) right, and I am worn out with it.
At any rate, I merely asked this relative: "what is it exactly that you hate so much about her?" She merely said "Everything! Everything." I said: give me some rational reasons.
She struggled and finally said ''she has no experience. She's stupid. She HAS FIVE KIDS!" I calmly said, "my mother had five kids." She said, "Well, I mean Palin wants to be leader of the free world, and she ought to be at home with those kids." This, mind you, from a feminist who taught her own daughters to shun marriage and family commitments.
And besides, as I pointed out, it's McCain who is running for President, not Palin.
But she answered 'McCain is old. He may not last long, then SHE'LL be President.''
I told her that she should be more afraid of Obama being elected than Palin. By this time hysteria was creeping into her voice, and she said, ''well, I'm not! I'm not!"
I simply don't understand the intense anger this relative of mine displayed, and even less do I understand why many ''conservatives'' show the same kind of anger and disgust towards Sarah Palin.
So now I have this relative with whom I have had a falling-out (she hung up on me, after some harsh words) and I begin to see how it was back in the days leading up to the War Between the States, during which it is always said that it was, in some households, brother against brother. It seems to me that the rhetoric is ratcheting up and feelings are running inexplicably high. It seems that for some people politics is thicker than blood, and it seems we in this country, as a national family, are becoming about as polarized as this angry relative and I. And if we think that our liberal counterparts are already, by their choice, no longer part of our national family, it seems that the ''conservative'' family is about to break apart, too, as people are willing to fight and separate rather than give up their particular viewpoints.
And maybe it's a good thing in the long run, this sifting. Sometimes any unity is illusory, and rifts -- or schisms -- like this one merely show the split that already exists, below the surface. When the dust clears we will see who is who and who is where.
I don't know how to mend this spat with my relative; we don't live in the same town and we don't see each other often, so for now I am letting it lie. I am not quick to apologize when I do not feel in the wrong, but if we are to reconcile, I know it will take an apology on my part, along with a large helping of humble pie, before I will be 'forgiven.' Still, since this relative of mine has such irreconcilably different views of life and of values and of what the future should be, I see little common ground between us, which is sad. I believe that family ties are just about the most important bonds we have in this life, and I don't take things like this lightly. I am a loyal person.
Along the same lines, I have a good friend since college days that is a political and religious liberal, and that fact has strained our friendship. It has certainly put a damper on our spontaneity in speaking our minds to each other. And yet if we cannot speak freely and honestly among friends, much less family, there is not much of a bond there. We can't have much of a relationship if we are afraid to speak our minds and to be open about what we believe and what we value.
It seems when people are so at odds about the important matters, any relationship between them can only be of the most superficial nature in order to avoid open clashes, and that is surely not what family relationships and friendships are supposed to be.
My impulse today, and maybe this will pass, is to shun all things political until this horrible election cycle from Hell is over, and then we shall see what we shall see.
I would love to think that my relative will learn from her mistakes, and see that an Obama presidency will be a disaster for majority America, but do you know, I don't think anything will cause her to have a change of heart, or say ''you were right; I was wrong. Now I see." No, liberals don't do that. No matter how bad things become, there will be a way to blame it on the Republicans or the 'racists' or whoever else. Similarly, the Republicans who don't see now will likely never see. Worse is better? No, people find a way to explain away the 'worse' and to blame it on the wrong people, 90 percent of the time.
I have no faith in the possibility of mass awakenings on either side of the aisle, in the event Obama is elected.
And I'm having to work hard at mustering up some faith in my brethren right at this moment, and without that faith, as I said, we stand in danger of becoming embittered or alienated from each other.
I don't even know if I would call myself a ''conservative'' since there are so many varieties of belief and opinion under that label now. I am opposed to what is called liberalism or socialism or leftism, and that is about all I seem to have in common with those who are called 'conservatives' or 'traditionalists.' And I don't know if being anti-liberal or anti-leftist or anti-multiculturalist is enough to bring us all together, if we disagree on so many basic themes. There has to be more agreement among us if this house is to be kept standing.

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