How Political Ideology Trumps Family
The title of this post was a compromise. There were plenty of other titles I could’ve settled for instead, given the subject matter: “How I Allowed My Victimhood Complex To Ruin My Relationship With My Mother,” “How Her White Privilege Ruined My Relationship With My Mother,” and “How I Virtue-Signaled Hard AF (common millennial slang) In ‘The Root’ Over My Trump-Voting Mother” were some of my discarded choices. No, “How Political Ideology Trumps Family” turns out to be a fitting alternative header for this post.
The author makes clear that he loves his parent, but clearly he has a problem with a)the social differences currently wrought from her skin color and his, b)her choice of presidential candidate, and c)his mother’s inability to understand “the black man’s struggle.”
My mother voted for Donald Trump. She’s also white. And she and her (white) husband are members of the National Rifle Association, own two small businesses—including a gun shop—and were actually screwed by Obamacare. In short, my mother is probably what a typical, white Midwesterner looks like on paper. Except, she’s not. She’s an immigrant. She moved to the United States from France in 1970 when she was (I believe) 13 years old.
This American-born homeboy apparently believes that because his mother wasn’t originally born on U.S. soil, she should’ve known better than to vote for that bigoted misogynist in the White House. Yes, really. Immigrants should be naturally inclined to better understand Teh Struggle of younger non-white or mixed-race American citizens.
Our homeboy describes his background growing up with a black father and white mother, and accepts that he’s a “light-skinned black dude.” It’s great that he never “struggled with [his] racial identity,” but astute readers who aren’t “woke” will note that it takes him awhile to admit that his complaints about America revolve around race – all the time. I don’t know about you, but people who obsess about the flaws of others who don’t share the same levels of melanin tend to be bitterly angry shrews. See K. Tempest Bradford’s posts if you want an example of such a person.
If I’m being honest, there has been a very slow erosion of the relationship over time because of what I view as her lack of perspective about the life of her children. Maybe our reality wasn’t hers on a daily basis, but denying our reality, even passively, was eventually going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Let’s get something straight: homeboy complains about racial injustices regularly around his non-black mother, but refuses to acknowledge that perhaps his mother’s views on the subject of race wasn’t influenced by politics or even skin color so much as it was by the common American sensibility to “live and let live.”
“Woke” people can’t seem to get this through their thick skulls in this day and age: many Americans, until now, have been more preoccupied with the daily tasks of life than they are with figuratively assaulting others with their politics. Nowadays conservatives and libertarians wax nostalgic about the times when they could have dinner with liberal friends and relatives; polarizing subjects could be glossed over in favor of good food and discussions that had nothing to do with politics. Believe me, this used to be possible. Given the modern liberal’s penchant for segregating their loved ones by political party, I’m convinced those days are over.
Something, somewhere changed. Shortly after the election, my sister and I had planned to head to Michigan for the Thanksgiving holiday. That visit went off the rails before it even started when my mother decided that we would be going to my stepfather’s family’s house for dinner, a family I knew voted for Trump.
Something did change, though it wasn’t on his mother’s part. Homeboy decides he doesn’t want to have Thanksgiving with a bunch of Trump voters, and last November he wasn’t the only one with such sentiments.
His mother and aunt visited last week, and things escalate quickly when his Trump-supporting parent buys MAGA gear and dons it on a tour of the U.S. capital:
But this is when our relationship hit the point from which I realized we’d never fully recover. When we were getting in the car to head to Rockville, Md., she asked why I found the T-shirt offensive. I told her that by her wearing that shirt, it showed that she didn’t care about my life or those of her grandchildren or daughter; after we argued, she refused to speak to me for hours, again.
“Make America Great Again” quickly became as tiresome a political slogan as “Hope and Change” did in the aftermath of last year’s election, but homeboy doesn’t elaborate on how it makes his mother a callous woman. Nor does he explain why his mother’s political worldview endangers his life. He seems to assume that his readers understand that Donald J. Trump’s presidency is enough of a gamechanger in his familial relationships to not bother with an explanation.
‘Scuse me, homeboy, but homegirl here is confused. Or bemused. Or something.
I can’t sit and actively engage with a person—even if it is my mother, whose blood is running through my body—if she doesn’t care about me, my story or what I live through. If she can’t see past her own appreciation for a bigoted, dangerous man, who, because of the position people like her have placed him in, has the ability to do significant damage to my civil liberties, then I don’t know what place she can have, reasonably, in my life.
His public decision to cut off his mother due to a difference in political views is a common occurrence these days. It started on the evening of November 8, 2016 and seems to have snowballed since. Friends are cutting off longtime friends based on how they voted last year. Same thing is happening with families.
Blood is not thicker than freedom and it’s not thicker than safety. Sometimes blood is just that, blood. I know my mother loves me; I’m her son. But, honestly, I don’t think my mother cares about what that really means.
I agree with everything in this graph except for the last sentence. Homeboy, some words of advice:
It ain’t all about you.
You filled a post with an innocent-sounding string of anecdotes about the dissolution of your relationship with your mother. You were wronged by her vote for a man that you consider dangerous and bigoted, yet you blame that man for the damage done instead of engaging in a little introspection.
You view life and especially its flaws through the lenses of race and social justice, which doesn’t make you sound like a fun person to be around on a regular basis. Donald J. Trump wouldn’t know you from Jamal, yet somehow he jeopardizes your life and safety by his office and very existence. Folks from both sides of the aisle are guilty of fearmongering when someone from the opposite political party is in power, but good gods above, man, act like a man, not a wussified homeboy afraid of his own shadow.
If you want to challenge the president on his stances and Tweets, there’s a line as long as the country is wide. First, however, grow some balls and stop blaming him for your own selfishness where your mother’s concerned. Recognize there’s no harm in your political views diverging from hers, which is so common that I can’t believe I have to remind you of this. Yes, members of white, non-white and mixed-race American families all vote differently, if they vote. Shocker, I know! Once you acknowledge this, try to consider that differing political views from one’s parent doesn’t automatically make her the enemy. That’s the important thing; people these days are too quick to label even family as “the enemy.” Before it was “The Other,” but liberals seem to have escalated that.
I mean, after the events of last weekend in Charlottesville, I’m almost tempted to grab a tiki torch for giggles and march through the streets myself, white hood and all, even though I’m not white and certainly not a Nazi. But if doing so forces you to start thinking about the futility of drawing a bloody line over the pettiest of sociopolitical issues, I will have accomplished something.