Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving With the (Wingnut) Family

By "wingnuts," of course, I mean family. Who are all completely insane. Sometimes I marvel at how I turned out, at how my worldview evolved and my beliefs grew. They are completely at odds with every person remotely related to me. And that's no stretch. Every person in my family, on both parents' side, belongs to the 22% club of diehard Christian Fundamentalist Republicans.

You could imagine how holidays are. Oops! I said the word "holiday!" I'm part of the conspiracy to destroy Thanksgiving and Christmas! Oh, no!!!!1!!!!

Oh, haven't you heard? Now the absurd and nonsensical "War on Christmas" believed by the stupids has expanded to Thanksgiving. I'm not sure exactly where President Obama, the "fascist-mooslim preznit who wants to kill babies" fits into this. I could never muster the inner strength to resist punching anyone out. And that would be terrible, of course, because this is family. So I either keep my mouth shut, or wander off to play with the small children, who thankfully haven't been turned into bitter, stupid, paranoid wingnuts like their parents.

That's unfortunate, and it's my loss, really. I miss a great opportunity to learn from a group of people whose worldview is the polar opposite of mine. But, since I grew from those roots, I know all the secret code-words, and all the favorite rantings from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, and Fox News. At this stage of my life, my patience has been burned away, worn down to the bone like old, rusted joints. I no longer have any tolerance for such impenetrable bullshit.

And that's what the wingnut worldview is, really. Nothing but collosal horseshit. A terrible thing to admit, I know. But you try spending your life with people who believe in such things as the Confederacy (they really should have won the Civil War, don'tcha know), the rantings of Limbaugh ("the magic Negro" who is a "halfrican American), or the repressed denials of organized religion (Protestant, meet Catholic...Catholic, meet Protestant).

Sooner or later, the subject will turn to whatever mental exercises are required to deny any responsibility for the state of the American economy, or its global reputation, to say nothing about the eight years of George W. Bush. Obama, you see, is really a fascist. I have no idea what that means, exactly. Does that mean Obama will start tapping my phone and reading my emails? Does that mean he'll start detaining American citizens in secret locations without trial or habeus corpus? Does that mean he'll start an illegal war against some nation that never attacked us? Does that mean he'll rack up trillions in debt, collapse the economy, or hand the keys of the Treasury to Wall Street execs?

Again, I never can put up with this horseshit long enough to ask. For that, I am sorry. I should be a better person. I should have thicker skin. I should have fun with this. After all, the reality-based community won this election. Obama is our President, the Dems control both houses of Congress, and the era of conservative rule in our nation has ended. We all know how foolish it is to make sweeping declarations about political power, but the changes that have brought about this sweep will not reverse. The GOP hard right will find themselves out of power for a very long time. I should have taught myself to let much of this go. But I cannot. My patience has worn away like dried tears.

Family members moaned and whined about how Obama and the Democrats will spend, spend, spend, and the deficit and debt will skyrocket. These are told without irony or awareness of any kind. Any unpleasant reality is simply wished away, la la la la. The collapse of the American economy is really the fault of the Democratic Congress, you see. They're the ones to blame. And just what exactly did they do to bring about the end of the great Bush Economic Boom? What legislation was passed to change this? And how was George W. Bush and the Republicans so masterfully sidelined for the past two years? It's almost as though they no longer existed. They're not to blame.

And besides, they weren't true conservatives, anyway. You see how this little game plays itself out. It's a form of mental jujitsu; it's really quite entertaining, like watching old kung-fu movies. The wingnut never accepts any blame, never accepts any responsibility. Nothing is ever their fault. Nothing bad ever happens on their watch for which they shall be held accountable. Everything is the fault of everyone else. If only we listened harder to the wisdom of Limbaugh (the Clintons secretly murdered people); Glenn Beck (Mexican immigrants should be thrown into ovens, and their ashes used for fuel); Sarah Palin (Obama palls around with terr'sts, ya yoo betcha); Jerry Falwell (read his segregationist beliefs if you have the stomach); Rod Parsely (America was founded to destroy Islam); Pat Robertson (ugh, where do you want to start?); John Hagee (Adolph Hitler was God's hunter against the Jews, oh, and the Catholic Church is the 'Whore of Babylon'). And on and on and on and on. I could make a career out of this. Many journalists and scholars do.

This is the world where I grew up. This is the world I must revisit every holiday season. Oh, no! I did it again! I'm part of the conspiracy to somehow destroy Christmas and Thanksgiving! I blame subliminal messages in my rock-n-roll albums.

Last year, I discovered that one of my sisters was collecting Confederate flags on her computer. Shocked and outraged, I confronted her, and heard a stream of horseshit that sent me reeling. I came within a hair's breath of slapping her across her jaw. But that would be a terrible action, a line I am not willing to cross. I am not willing to shatter family relationships for the rest of my life. My sister's horseshit notions about the Confederacy and slavery, you see, come from my father. My father taught this to his daughters. I have been aware for many, many years that he held certain views that were deeply troubling. But I could ignore them, or hope they stay buried away.

So, instead of losing my cool, I bought my sisters a $99 portable turntable and a pile of records. Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Elvis, Beatles, Dylan. Good stuff. We'll see if that has any positive effect. But I still burn with a deep hurt and anger. I am really not in a proper mood to deal with that right now.

Which reminds me. Michael Medved has a new book out. In it, he argues that American slavery was actually good for the nation's economy. He makes a lot of sympathatic claims about slavery. A year ago he wrote an online column in which he actually defended slavery (go ahead and read if you can stomach it).

So, on a brighter note, the food was excellent, and everyone was polite and nice. They had to be, since I almost removed myself entirely. Best not to speak to anyone, lest something happen. Happy Holidays.

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