This election is dividing my family...
10/21/2008, 4:17 PM #
I hung up on my mother last night. It was the first time in my forty-five years that I have ever done that. I was seeing so much red and hearing so much hate coming from her mouth in Florda that I just had to say "goodbye, Mother" and snap my cell phone shut.
She did not call me back.
What had she said that enraged me so? What could she possibly have said that would make me not want to talk to the one person I have loved so much and for so long?
It was several things, actually.
We started out the conversation rationally enough. It has been a few weeks since we had spoken and I was returning a call she had made to me last week and finally had some time to sit and talk to her.
We always talk politics. We usually can agree to disagree because we usally disagree on just about everything when it comes to our political views. She would tell you that she is an Evangelical Christian. I am not sure what I am, but I have not stepped foot in a church for over 25 years. She knows the issues I had with the church that I was raised in...she still goes to the same church now. We don't talk about religion.
She asked me if I had seen Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live and I told her that I had. I told her that she seemed to have a good sense of humor about herself and I thought that she was brave to agree to be on the show. My mother didn't like the rap song and her dancing to it...you know, "real Christians" don't dance.
I told my mom that I would be so happy when the election was finally decided and that I just didn't know how much more of the negativity I could take from the politicians and their respective supporters. She informed me that early-voting had begun in Florida and that there were long lines and problems with the machines and she wondered why they hadn't figured out how to fix it in the four years since the last presidential election. She then went on to tell me that from what she saw on her local news that night that most of the people in line were black and that they were probably all voting for Obama anyway. ISTRIKE ONE!) I called her on what I thought was a racist comment. She ignored my complaint. (although she knows how much racism bothers me and has for years.)
She went on to tell me that she was "really, really afraid of Obama". (not that he might be president, but just a general fear.) She said that she found herself getting physically nauseated whenever she saw him on televsion. She said she wanted to vomit when she heard his voice. (She was now wandering into the STRIKE TWO ZONE with me.) I was exasperated with what she was saying to me. She couldn't give me any explanation as to why she felt this way. At least not until I pressed her for some reason as to her discomfort with his "presence" in her living room on the televsion.
"He's a Muslim." she spat out. I said, "No he is not. He is a Christian just as you claim to be." "Oh, no he isn't. He is a Muslim, a Nazi and a Communist all rolled into one." (STRIKE THREE!) I told her she was saying some things that I found very offensvie and if she didn't change her tone and her language with me that I just might be using some language that she would find offensive. (Out of respect for my mother, I have never even said the word "Gosh" around her...since she finds even that to be "taking the Lord's name in vain".) I felt the "bullshit" and "fuck you" and "where the fuck" bullets on the tip of my tongue. She re-stated her original statement with an emphatic "Well, he IS a Muslim, a Nazi and a Communist..." and with that I just said "Good bye, mother!" and hung up.
I sat there shaking out of anger, hurt and amazement that she had just said those things to me. I began typing an email to her explaining my point of contention with her attitude and language. It took me two hours to write it and re-read it to make sure that my point was clear and that I wasn't being hateful towards her, but standing up to what I see as lies and misinformation that she has gleaned from her fellow "Christians" and from the Fox News/Rush Limbaugh shows that she cannot tear herself away from. I blame the McCain/Palin campaign for upping the hate talk. I blame the people who automatically call anyone who does not believe as they do "Un-American" when it is not based on actual values that America was founded upon...which is freedom for each citizen equally and without measure. No matter what color, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation one might be...the constitution protects all equally.
I sat and cried for a good fifteen minutes as I wrote to her how the one person who had stood up for me when no one else would as I was growing up had now totally let me down. She had to know that the hateful things she was saying to me were also about me since she knows good and well that I will be voting for Obama. She has let this hateful campaign get in the way of what she feels and thinks about her own children. It was such a slap in the face that I just don't know if I will be able to forgive her for it any time soon.
I called her back three hours later to let her know that I had written her an email. She sounded contrite. She said, "I didn't mean to offend you. But I wasn't offended when you said negative things about GW Bush these past eight years." I was aghast! I had never once called him a name or lied about his character or said anything about him that wasn't an opinoin based on fact and truth. I refused to get into it with her again. I just said, "read your email and we will talk later." She told me she would read it in the morning. I still haven't heard from her tonight.
I am crushed that anyone that I had so much respect for could have sunk to such depths of hate and fear. I have never known her to lie to me ever. I can only assume she really thought that she was speaking "truth" last night. As I told her in my email, I cannot associate myself with anyone who makes any decision based on hate or another person's skin color. I don't care who it is.
It may have been one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make in my life.