Monday, July 25, 2016

Wingnuts in my family...

Facebook is an interesting tool for keeping in touch with others.  Before it existed, most years I saw my extended family once at Thanksgiving.  I usually enjoyed visiting with them, but there wasn't much time to get to know them as well as I might have.  We'd do our annual Turkey Day shindig and everyone would go home until the next wedding, funeral, or Thanksgiving reunion.

Thanks to Facebook, I get to see a lot more of my relatives and... well, I have to admit that it's hard to believe we're related.  Many of my family members are quite politically conservative and religious.  Several of my cousins are outright gun nuts who are diehard Donald Trump fans.  Or, if they're not in favor of Donald Trump, they are extremely anti-Hillary Clinton.  This doesn't surprise me too much.  When my dad was alive, he hated Bill Clinton with a passion and was a big fan of Rush Limbaugh's show.

I see these posts by my relatives and realize that a lot of them don't approve of me for many reasons.  I cuss too much for their liking.  I tend to be somewhat liberal, especially when it comes to social issues.  I don't go to church.  I am not anti-gun, but I do think there should be more control over who gets to own weapons.  I try not to be sexist or racist and sometimes fail, as most people do.

Anyway, one of my cousins used to be fun and then found Jesus.  Every day, he's been posting vitriolic political stuff.  Some of what he's posted is flat out ridiculous.  Some is just really stupid and/or offensive.  I can't help but wonder how I ended up the way I am.  I probably spent too much time reading, sitting through college classes, and traveling.  Maybe that gives me what my cousin would deem an overly idealized view of the world.  What's sad is that my cousin's parents used to live in Indonesia.  My uncle worked in the oil industry for years.  He worked among Muslims.  Now he and his sons continually post racist comments about them on social media and through mass emails.

I would agree with many people that our choices for president this year are really terrible.  I'm not a fan of Hillary Clinton's, either.  But every day, there are posts about what a criminal she is and how she belongs in prison.  They are strangely quiet about Donald Trump and his embarrassingly xenophobic views.  I have a feeling that they dislike Hillary more because she's a woman and a Democrat than her so-called crimes.  I have the distinct impression that powerful women upset and terrify some people in my family.  Maybe that's why I feel like I'm a black sheep.  I'm not a quiet, demure, ladylike woman who knows her place.

This morning my cousin who found Jesus posted about how people need to be more respectful of police officers and stop referring to them as "cops".  He says the term "cop" is derogatory.  I decided to look up where the term cop comes from and found this explanation.  Incidentally, one of my friends is a federal marshall and he doesn't mind being called a cop.  And this guy has been posting all kinds of anti-Hillary stuff because he's so distressed over police officers being killed in the line of duty.  He thinks Hillary Clinton doesn't have the same respect for police that Donald Trump has.  Actually, I have my doubts that either candidate is particularly pro police, though Trump may try to use them for some of his planned anti-immigration policies.

I look at my cousin's comments and wonder again how we could possibly be related.  It's not that I don't love him or even that I don't like him.  I just wonder how we ended up so diametrically opposed when it comes to politics and religion.

Of course, there are also offensive comments on the other side of the political spectrum.  One Facebook friend just posted a meme that says "I don't give a fuck if you don't like Hillary Clinton.  Hold your nose and vote.  There's a Nazi at the gate."  While I might agree that Donald Trump is a bit like a Nazi, I have to wonder what makes people think it's okay to order people to vote for their candidate, especially when they use the F bomb.  Would they be amenable to a meme that said, "I don't give a fuck if you don't like Donald Trump.  Hold your nose and vote.  There's a criminal at the gate."?  My guess is that they wouldn't.  These kinds of "in your face" statements do nothing but either piss people off or rally the like minded.

Here's an article I found this morning that I actually found really offensive.  The article is eloquently entitled, "If You Don’t Vote Democrat This November, Then Fuck You".  It surprises me that Huffington Post would publish something like this.  For one thing, the title alone is potentially alienating.  Many people don't appreciate reading the words "fuck you" in a headline.  I get that this piece is an editorial for the site's blog, but I thought Huffington Post was kind of trying to be a news site, albeit one with strongly liberal tendencies.  And then I actually read the piece and realized it wasn't particularly well-written.  It's loaded with hyperbole and emotion and lots of four letter words that do little to inspire anything more than outrage.  I totally understand why so many people feel like they need to convince people to vote a certain way.  I just don't think it's particularly effective to insult people in the process.

I don't usually write too much about politics.  To be honest, it's not a topic that really interests me a lot.  I am bringing it up today because every four years, we go through this polarizing shit that gets people up in arms.  It's worse than usual this year because of the main choices we have in November. Neither candidate is stellar and so people are even more obnoxious about sharing their views and trying to influence others to vote their way.  It's enough to drive you to drink.  But I did enough of that yesterday while watching the first season of Beverly Hills, 90210.  So I think I'll just go walk the dogs and ponder the meaning of life.


  1. I'm ordinarily somewhat intrigued by politics, but this year's presidential race leaves me a bit cold. Blogs are for pontificating in whatever fashion on whatever topic a blogger chooses. I'm not sure Facebook was really designed with that same intent. Still, it's probably anyone's right to use his or her own Facebook page for political purposes, though I draw the line at those who post inflammatory posts or responses on the pages of others. All that is usually accomplished politically via Facebook under the even the very best of circumstances is that a group of like-minded individuals sits around metaphorically or literally patting themselves and/or each other on the backs for being the only people among us who really understand what is happening in the nation and in the world around them.

    I'm honestly bit unsettld by thi year's presidential election. What keeps me from lying wake at night worrying about it is the knowledge of just how limited are a president's powers in and of themselves, and just how difficult it seems to be for the legislature to even work with each other to enact significant legislation, much less to act in accordance with any president.

    1. Yeah. The upcoming election has caused quite a divide. I don't generally respond to posts on other people's pages if I disagree with them. It's too much trouble. But I can't help but notice how far right my family of origin tends to be.

  2. The central attitude that unites people who support Donald Trump is bigotry. It might be Bigotry/Nafta or Bigotry/manufacturing or Bigotry/wage stagnation or Bigotry/American Exceptionalism. But Bigotry trumps every other issue. You could look it up.

    1. Interesting point. I hate to say it, but I think bigotry is a big reason why some of my family members support Trump. :(


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