Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Family and politics, again

Last night, I was in a bad mood, but finally starting to calm down. The rain and wind made everything miserable. Transportation was down all over. Of course I didn't go surfing on Sunday. We lost power for a few hours. Some of our friends were worse off, and we let them come over to shower and charge their cell phones, abiding by the laws of Florida hurricane etiquette that I'd grown up with. Getting to work was an absolute bitch on Monday. Today the sun came out, and I was so happy to see it, but I was in an awful mood last night. L'Ailee and I filled out our census form. We decided she was Person 1 because she'd rented this place with a roommate before I moved in, and she sang, "I...am...Number 1!" like Nelly. We proudly put a Queer the Census sticker on the envelope. Then we flipped on the Detroit Red Wings/Calgary Flames game for her. Then my mother called.

I made the mistake of answering the question, "What are you doing?" honestly. "Just filled out our census form, and now we're watching the Wings game." She went on a rager about the Census, how Obama and Pelosi will be misusing the information, how horrible it is that they asked about race. "But they always asked about race," I said. "Besides, the Census isn't Obama's idea. It's in the Constitution, you know?" She didn't care. She wasn't going to fill it out, and anyway, I'm probably being brainwashed by all the ads. I decided I'd just had it. "Look, I am so not in the mood for this Tea Party crap! Not tonight, not ever again! You can rant and rave to someone else!"
She got very upset. "I don't appreciate you calling my opinions 'crap'."
"I don't appreciate you yelling in my ear over the latest thing that pisses you off."
"You're yelling."
"Yeah, *now*." She wanted to talk it over. I refused. I hate long "talks" anyway, and didn't feel that this one would be productive, to put it nicely. She said, "This conversation isn't over." I said it was. I did *not* say that I knew it would actually be more of a monologue for her, and I wasn't going to waste my time or eardrums. We forced out "I love you"s before we hung up.

I've tried to have that conversation a few times, but she doesn't seem to get it. I know she thinks I don't, either, and maybe I don't. My brother and I are both hating how she's gone from fiscal conservative/social libertarian to increasingly shrill, angry, and right-wing. She talks about how she feels guilty about not taking us to church more. She knows that I am Pagan, bi, and married to another woman, and that my brother is an environmentalist, atheist and has been a freethinker in some form or fashion since he was a boy. We thought she accepted those things. She doesn't, not now. Why is it that when the economy pinches and things get a bit harder than they used to be, some people will find anger and cruelty and hammering down nails that stick up to be as comforting as a cup of hot chamomile tea and a fluffy pair of slippers?

We know she wants to talk about the stuff that excites her, just like we do. We think if by going more into the religion she grew up with and getting involved politically, even in "Tea Party crap," she finds comfort, that's okay. We know her life's not as comfortable as it has been right now. (And I can't tell exactly why--her story isn't mine to tell--but let's say it might sound familiar to many.) But we wish she understood that she's not going to convert us and that we're not interested in whatever some Fox News host or Rush Limbaugh said. We feel like the stuff that made her hard to live with is getting magnified and the stuff that made up for it is receding. I cried last night; I'm crying again now as I type this.

But there are good things. L'Ailee urged Simply Sleep on me last night, because that kind of drama can keep me up way too late. The sun came out again. Thanks to good friends who pooled what they had together to make me happy on my birthday, my wife and I are going to see the Penguins play in New Jersey tomorrow, and hopefully beat the Devils just once. Spring is coming!

Being a Witch, I'm going to celebrate the Spring Equinox this weekend with a loose circle of other Witches, including my best friend and her wife. We don't work for anything political, apart from "wisdom for our leaders and the best outcome for all," because our opinions are very divergent. However, I'm thinking I can ask to work for peace, and calmness, and stability for those we love. Thank the Gods, we don't have to agree on everything, but we can agree on wanting to see a rebirth very soon. So mote it be!

Links, links:

Now a movie's coming out where a witch-hunter who keeps the population of witches and warlocks in check is a hero.

Hopefully Stephen Baldwin fails as bad as a Religious Right activist trying to attract "the youth" as he did as an actor.

A woman in Arizona was evicted from her home because her solar panels and icebox didn't give her a good enough "quality of life".

I've got to make this less depressing. How about lots of interesting-looking new bisexual books?

Also, I linked to this quite recently, but the National Zoo's 2-month-old Andean bear cubs are getting super-squirmy and cute.

The Onion's got a writer who knows I'm not the only one who loves both the NHL and NASCAR, and cleverly summed up the scariest weekend of sports-watching I've experienced in a while.

Finally, Margaret Atwood--yes, *that* Margaret Atwood, the author--gives lessons on goaltending in a hilarious video.


Jude said...

Family drama is tense esp when it's around politics. We don't talk much about that in my house with Dad being a R.

Stack the pads....that was a funny video. And wait, what do you mean beat the Devils? :)

bluzdude said...

I just don't understand this whole anti-census thing. As you said, it's in the original freakin' constitution, for crissakes... It's nobody's plot to take away your liberty. All it does is provide data for accurate representation. All withholding your form does is remove yourself from the equation... a purely self-defeating tactic if ever there was one.

Whatever happened to "Stand up and be counted?"

CrackerLilo said...

@ Jude: Oh, man, that must be tougher when he's in your house. Sorry.

You're right; I shouldn't have said "beat the Devils." I should've said "kick Devil ass and make Martin Brodeur cry behind his mask." ;-)

@ Bluzdude: If it were anyone besides my mother (or other blood relative, as I have others who believe this way), I'd have just laughed and said, "Go ahead and let the federal government ignore you. Let 'em waste your tax money tracking you down. Oh, and thanks for the nice new roads we'll be getting in New York with your share of federal money, which you have to chip into like it or not." Family, unfortunately, is different. *sighs* What upset me is that she wanted to go off on this rant knowing I just wanted to calm down.

Thanks, y'all.

Zan said...

I feel we are living the same life somehow. My parents aren't quite that far gone yet, but. . .any minute now. Any minute. Emmy and I need to move away from the south, post haste!

Dr. Deb said...

Your links were especially interesting!

lightfeather said...

There is so much fear out there right now. I try my hardest to see and feel where their fear is coming from and move away. It's not so easy to do when it's family...Blessing you, blessing spring, and blessing the universe today! Life is good!!!

Barbara said...

I love coming to your blog and being greeted with the colors and the photo, it just feels good. I don't get that feeling from every blog, but your blog is like sitting down and listening to you talk and I love that!!!

Ok, now I am freaking out about POSSIBLY being a "census taker" person. I took the test and am waiting for a call to see if they need me. I am afraid they will send me to all the places that are anti-census and I will start crying or something - LOL!!! But it pays $17/hr so I am all over that even if it just for a few weeks.

Families are such a pain. I will not discuss politics with my family, I can feel my heart rate going up when I try to get my point across and I think that eggs them on more!

Raven said...

I'm sorry you had such a hard time with your mother. Mother's can be a real pain sometimes.

I'm jealous of your Equinox celebration. Living in a conservative Christian suburb there isn't anyone to celebrate with around here and all my rituals are solo. Though I don't mind being a solitary most of the time, sometimes I wish I could hang out with some other Witches.

I hope you are feeling better today!