How the Other Side Sees It

Last weekend some family members were in town and unexpectedly available.  At the last moment, six of us coordinated to visit with them.

We had a great time catching up; it had been many months since we had spoken with these cousins, and being good-natured, well-traveled and full of news about various grandchildren and sons-in-law, it was a lively visit.

At the company where I work, there are three topics one avoids: sex, politics and religion.  My husband and I adopted this ban in relation to my relations, as they are far more conservative than is normal for people who live in Northern California.  Unfortunately, the converse is not true:  my family members repeatedly land upon two of these topics: religion and politics.  I usually make the obligatory snarky remark then refrain from engaging, or I attempt to find a common point of agreement to ease the tension the topics introduce into the conversation.

This Sunday conversation went along the same lines, and I was without my husband to defend my honor as a person who holds the Bill of Rights in high esteem; I had to navigate the stormy waters without his support.   To keep the pressure off of myself, I was largely an observer as the conservatives held forth about our incoming president, Barack Obama.

First, I was secretly horrified that though she possesses a ticket to attend the inauguration and will be in D.C. on Tuesday, my niece is opting to stay at home due to an hysterical fear that Al Quaeda will attack the crowd.  I would sacrifice a part of my shoe collection if that would create the opportunity to attend this event, but she said that if her candidate had won (you know who her candidate was: the esteemed but mad former POW who selected that bimbo from Alaska as his second) she would attend but as it is …


Next, I was privy to Secrets of State, as apparently there are multiple, imminent threats to the people of the United States from evil, foreign terrorists who have sneaked into our country and are planning something big (but shhhh … don’t mention where you heard this!).  Even now, those Spawn of Satan are plotting the overthrow of democracy as we know it.

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you but it sure seems that George W. did an awfully good job at attempting to undermine the provisions of the United States Constitution, with a great deal of assistance from a Republican Congress.  He established the Department of Homeland Security, which says it all:  Let’s create an overwhelming sense of panic and ethnocentrism, while creating a huge bureaucracy that will have the authority to mine the personal details of people’s daily lives in search of such blatant, defiant acts of terrorism like carrying cuticle scissors in your carry-on luggage!  Two birds with one stone!

Finally,  in discussing the future of the country there were several remarks made about Obama now saying that it will take time to set the country on the correct course, and we need to work hard to overcome the problems that lay ahead.  Oh no, he never mentioned these things during his campaign; he was all sunshine and light, surrounded by Munchkins from the Lollipop Guild.  And now – gosh darn it! – after being involved in Bush’s security briefings he is seeing it, he is getting it.  So – ha! to the stupid liberals who voted for the man who saw the world through rose-colored glasses – you were all duped!

Now, this series of remarks had to be addressed, as they were entirely untrue, complete misrepresentations of Obama’s campaign discussions.  So I finally spoke up.

I pointed out that througout Obama’s campaign he had emphasized that change does not happen overnight, and that change requires hard work.  I shared that in nearly every speech I had heard, Obama called upon people – people like ourselves – to work hard, to participate, to advocate.  I reminded them that Obama had clearly and repeatedly said that we all have to work together to solve the problems facing our country.  And finally, I said that I believed that Obama was elected because people appreciated this honesty because it suggested that this is a man who can be trusted; it’s the sign of a good … no, great leader.

This ended the conversation about politics.


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